LONDON – From historic city centres, to the culturally vibrant capital city London, to the beautiful crowd-free countryside, the UK has always been a popular choice for global travellers. With all remaining COVID-19 international travel restrictions being lifted in March, travel intent has continued to improve. Sojern, a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for travel, shares travel trends and insights for a promising summer ahead in the UK. What will happen this season?
Flight bookings to the UK are on the rise globally
Travel demand to the UK in 2022 continues in an upward direction, closing the gap with 2019 flight booking levels. As of 9th May 2022 bookings are up 118% compared to the start of the year. All global regions demonstrate positive uplift in the leadup to the peak summer travel season. US, Canada, and Caribbean is up 171% vs the start of 2022, Asia-Pacific (APAC) is up 118%, Europe, Middle East and Africa is up 105%, and Latin & Central America is up 104%. APAC is the slowest region to recover vs 2019, perhaps due to having had some of the tightest travel restrictions in the world, however all subregions, beside East Asia, have achieved or exceeded 2019 booking levels.
UK summer and Jubilee travel demand
The Queen’s recent Jubilee celebrations could account for a minor increase in June’s contribution to total travel within the year, as well as pent-up travel demand to the UK. What is clear is that a strong summer season is ahead of us with June - August total booking contributions increasing from 25% in 2019 to 27% in 2022. Top origin countries to the UK include the United States (23.5%), domestic travellers within the United Kingdom (6.7%), Germany (6.6%), Canada (6.8%) and notably Australia, now exceeding their 2019 contribution level (up 1%), and up 4.1% to 5% from 2021 to 2022.
Length of stays on the rise for summer travel
Sojern has seen a sharp increase in medium length trip durations (4-14 days), up 24% in 2022 from 18.6% in 2019, at the expense of short (0-3 days) and long trips (15+ days) A decrease in long trip duration during this period follows a long term decline observed from back in 2019. This could partly be due to travellers taking advantage of ‘workcations’ - the travel trend mixing work and play that’s here to stay. According to the BBC, there’s no sign of workcations slowing down as companies continue to offer flexible remote work policies.
Encouraging prospects for UK travel recovery
Despite the travel sector being strongly affected by the pandemic, Sojern continues to work with thousands of hotels, attractions, airlines and destinations annually in the UK and around the world. Powered by artificial intelligence and traveller intent data, Sojern provides multichannel marketing solutions to drive direct demand. Positioning itself as the key partner for tourism professionals who want to be supported in their ongoing recovery, the company has continued to gain market share in the region.
“While the road to recovery has been rocky in the UK, Sojern’s latest figures following the lifting of travel restrictions in the country shows that we are on the right track,” comments Céline Chaussegros, Managing Director Europe, Sojern. “It’s been fantastic to lead my team through these challenges as we continue to leverage our innovative digital solutions to support our partners' recovery. With the UK remaining a top travel destination for global travellers we see lots of opportunities for growth in the market throughout 2022. We look forward to strengthening Sojern’s operations and continuing to support the travel industry in its rebound.”