With the vaccination roll-out moving at a steady pace and a plan for easing lockdown restrictions already in place, Brits are not waiting around. Major players in the hospitality industry have watched as summer holiday bookings began to flow in as early as January. The signs are clear: Brits won’t give up their chance for a sunny holiday. Despite the obvious reasons for doubt, the vast majority of British people are optimistic that travel restrictions will be removed in time for the summer holiday season. But don’t get out your sun hat just yet.
After the global pandemic forced many to change their plans last summer, Corona-safe is the new search criterion ahead of the summer holidays 2021. People all over the country are wondering which European airport will accept British citizens, which countries are safe to travel to and what the low deposit holiday options are in case things change unexpectedly.
We took a look at our booking figures and our Google Trend search statistics to see when Brits were particularly keen to travel during the global pandemic, how hopeful they have been in the early months of 2021 and how optimistic they are regarding their summer holidays.
Although the UK unemployment rate has risen since the outbreak of the global pandemic, Brits don’t seem to want to give up a holiday abroad.
In January, a month into 2021, in the middle of a gloomy winter under a strict lockdown — the third since March 2020 — 11% of our bookings came from the United Kingdom. Coming in third place only to the Germans and Austrians, the Brits have certainly proven their country's optimism for the summer ahead.
With many economists being cautiously optimistic that the national economy will recover soon and many Brits still furloughed, people are looking to adapt their holidays to the new normal rather than forgo them altogether.
During cold winter months, forced inside by the tough restrictions necessary to combat the deadly virus, our villas in Croatia seem to inspire people to dream. Other countries on the same wavelength as the UK are following suit, booking our villas as a glimmer of hope for the end of this lockdown. 8 % of our bookings came from Scandinavia; 5% from confident Swiss and French holidaymakers.
For a general overview of travel behaviour and dream holidays in the United Kingdom, we looked at relevant search queries from Google on a country-specific basis.
We focused on the search terms "book holiday". In doing so, we were able to find out more about the travel desires that drove British people to a relevant Google Search.
We asked ourselves when people were particularly motivated to book holidays in the last three months. Google Trends has a clear answer to this question: after some hesitant searches for holidays at the end of 2020, probably related to the new mutations, the new year brought new hope. Especially last month, in February, we saw a clear upward-trend.
Amid the government’s plans to end Britain’s third lockdown, as announced on the 22nd of February, people are confident that hospitality will be open for vaccinated Brits abroad; and have rushed to book their spots under the Croatian sun. The surge in bookings shows that a clear plan to end the lockdown was the signal holidaymakers had been waiting for. And flexible solutions and low deposit holidays options will make Corona-safe travel even easier. For instance, Croatia Luxury Rent offers a flexible cancellation policy for bookings made after the 4th of February.
Interest in holidays abroad despite Corona, lockdown extensions and cold winter temperatures has been steadily present over the last 90 days. There hasn’t been a time in recent history where the desire for a change of scene has been deeper, as search queries and bookings look to the distant future, as far off as late summer.
Compared with 2019, in the past three months Brits have been even more eager to find their dream holiday. In 2021, people have waited on the edge of their seats for the right turn of events. The urge for a holiday escape can no longer be ignored.
As mentioned above, our thorough research of search queries in Germany, Austria, Croatia, France, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Great Britain and Greece taught us about the general willingness to travel in Europe. Germany is at the top of the list with 3,113 search queries. Despite the tough pandemic regulations, there is also hope in Great Britain: in the last three months 2,110 people were interested in booking a holiday.
The Netherlands (2,231 search queries) and Hungary (1,620 search queries) were also busy, followed closely by Italy, which ranked with 2,045 queries for holidays in absolute numbers. The lifted restrictions surely played a role – Italy is one of the few countries where restaurant visits and social gathering are possible again. This also brightens the mood for summer holidays. France, Spain and Sweden made the fewest search queries.
Booking enquiries also tell us how cautious our European guests have been compared to previous years. Brits seem to be most interested in “no deposit holidays” and “countries safe to travel to” as well as “European travel restrictions”. Of course, many countries are still in lockdown, making entering Croatia all the more difficult.
The decision to book a holiday has therefore been delayed from trips in spring to more secure-looking summer holidays. However, an improvement is in sight. The state of the pandemic in Europe should soon improve due to well thought-out safety regulations and widespread vaccinations. Until then, the dream of travelling once more is a warm hope in these last cold days of winter.
"We look forward to any news that gives hope for a return to the ‘old way of life’. We want to travel again, meet our friends — and be free," says Veljko Ostojic.