The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused huge disruption to the travel industry, closing borders, grounding flights and putting a temporary pause on holidays. As a result of our cancelled travel plans, many of us will be left with a surplus of annual leave to take in 2020.
With lockdown slowly easing, there is hope that the travel industry will start to recover towards the latter part of the year, allowing holidaymakers to resume their plans.
However, if this level of normal can’t be resumed, the government has introduced new guidelines to safeguard Britain’s holiday entitlement, allowing employees to carry up to four weeks of their 2020 holiday allowance forward into the next two years.
While many travel companies have suffered significant setbacks in 2020, could carrying forward holidays fuel a bumper year of travel in 2021?
It’s safe to assume the travel calendar will look different next year. Travel-deprived Brits may be inclined to take more impulsive trips outside of the typical summer holiday season, while additional annual leave may make us want to travel further and for longer.
To help travel brands plan their marketing activity for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021, we’ve worked out potential periods that will see a spike in demand, based on Brits planning their annual leave around bank holidays.
Maximising annual leave in late 2020
Despite the uncertainty, many Brits are still hopeful they will be able to take a trip in late 2020. Here’s how Brits could maximise their annual leave around the August Summer Bank Holiday and Christmas.
The summer bank holiday falls on 31st August 2020. By taking just four days annual leave, Brits could enjoy 9 days away from work. If travel restrictions are eased by then, it could be the perfect chance for a late summer getaway.
With multiple bank holidays over the Christmas period, a little annual leave can go a long way in December – ideal for those looking for winter sun or a festive ski trip.
10 days off work are up for grabs between 25th December and 3rd January, using up just three days annual leave for working days on 29th, 30th and 31st December.
Alternatively, Brits can more than double their days off by using seven days annual leave to enjoy 16 days off between the 19th December and 3rd January 2021.
Maximising annual leave in 2021
While travel in 2020 is still uncertain, many are positive that 2021 will be a better year for both travel companies and holidaymakers. Along with any leave they may carry over from 2020, here’s how Brits could maximise their time off in 2021 to experience more of the world.
April sees us benefit from two bank holidays, Good Friday on 2nd April and Easter Monday on 5th April. Easter is always a popular time for holiday makers and in 2021, Brits could enjoy 10 days off work from 2nd April to 11th April using just four days’ annual leave.
Or, for a longer break, Brits could enjoy a total of 16 days’ rest from just eight days annual leave.
For those who are planning an extended trip in 2021, April could be the perfect month. 20 days annual leave will bag Brits 33 days off in total, giving them the whole month of April off from 1st April to 4th May.
Like April, May’s two bank holidays – on the 3rd and 31st of the month – will likely make it a popular time for a getaway.
Those looking to maximise their time off around the bank holidays can enjoy nine days off from just four days annual leave, either from the 1st to 9th May or 29th May to 6th June.
However, with this annual leave hack, you can actually have the entire month of May off. Using 19 days annual leave, you’ll be off for a total of 31 days from 1st-31st May.
August bank holiday falls on 30th August and savvy Brits can turn their 4 days days annual leave into 9 days off from 28th August – 6th September.
The Christmas holidays once again bring a great opportunity for Brits to travel. Enjoy 10 days off between 25th December 2021 and 3rd January 2022.
Alternatively, Brits can more than double their time off, using just seven days annual leave to enjoy 16 days off.
For travel brands recovering after the global pandemic, marketing will be key. Whether it’s timing campaigns ahead of key travel periods, understanding where Brits want to travel to or selecting the right channels to maximise budgets, all aspects should be carefully considered if brands are to successfully navigate the road ahead.
As we slowly emerge from lockdown, some travel brands are already showing signs of altering their marketing strategy to adapt to the ‘new normal’. For example, while cancellation policies have always been a good driver of trust between a travel brand and a consumer, the uncertainty surrounding future travel plans have made them ever-more important.
Brands like Hostelworld have extended their free cancellation policy to 30th June 2020, providing peace of mind to travellers who may have their trips cancelled. The company offers three options for those who have had to cancel, including a ‘Credits Bonus’ option, which essentially tops up a deposit by 30% if it’s taken as non-refundable credit that’s valid for two years.
Likewise, Hotels.com are offering free cancellation on most rooms as well as the option to book now and pay later, providing a safety net that could sway more potential travellers into booking a trip.
Of course, there is a growing emphasis on UK ‘staycations’ too, as an alternative for those who may not feel confident travelling abroad at this time. Scottish lodges company Argyll Holidays is offering a price freeze on their 2020 rates for holidays booked in 2021, while providing clear timescales on their website for when their leisure facilities will reopen.
Larger travel brands that offer staycations as well as international travel are also competing for their share of the search interest in UK holidays. Lastminute.com has created a dedicated staycation landing page to compete for informational search queries, such as ‘staycation ideas’.
Recognising what information consumers want now while also looking ahead to what they will want in the coming months will be key for travel brands.
At AGY47 and Silverbean, we work with leading travel brands across our organic search, paid search and affiliate marketing services. To find out how we can support your brand in 2020 and beyond, contact us today.