The forecast for the UK economy has been dismal for a while now, and consumers have been bracing for the difficulty ahead. The anticipated UK recession has just been confirmed, and residents are beginning to figure out how to adapt and adjust their spending habits to endure the economic downturn. 

However, in the aftermath of the pandemic, there is still a high demand for travel experiences in the UK. Consumers are more likely to cut back on other expenses, such as grocery bills or retail spending, and still allocate some funds for travel throughout the year. 

UK recession

It’s essential to remember that travellers will be more mindful about how they are spending their money — they will need to make decisions that allow them to make the most out of their budget. Recent research shows that about 50% of travellers are still planning to take a holiday in the next year — but 68% are looking for valuable, budget-friendly opportunities.

These economic changes are lining up with behavioural changes, which may shift how you do business at your tour and activity company. For example, as more people begin to feel comfortable with the post-pandemic world, there will be a return to how things were done before. Group travel is expected to rise, and there will be less social distancing on the horizon. However, the mobile booking trend brewing before the pandemic and quickly taking hold during those years of isolation will remain quite powerful. The right technology will be critical to your ability to increase bookings during the UK recession.

How to increase bookings amid the UK recession

How to increase bookings despite UK recession

While the travel industry usually suffers during any economic slump, this year may be the exception because people are craving these opportunities after several years of being unable to travel and explore. By being aware of the fact that most travellers are searching for budget-friendly opportunities and acknowledging the current economic situation, you can still find unique ways to increase your bookings despite the ongoing recession, such as: 

  • Increase your presence on social media, where many of the most motivated travellers look for inspiration.
  • Implement a digital booking solution like Rezdy to help you access new channels.
  • Offer experiences at a low base cost, but sell add-ons and upgrades that allow travellers to personalise the experience to suit their budget.
  • Leverage new technology and consider selling virtual experiences that rely on augmented reality.

Beyond these steps, there are other things you can do that will help your tour and activity company thrive despite the gloomy outlook of the UK recession.

Nurture your relationship with existing customers

Nurture existing customers

The travellers who have booked with you previously have developed a sense of trust in your brand that is hard to beat, and one of the best ways to increase your revenue is to generate repeat bookings. By nurturing your relationship with your existing customers, you will not only boost your repeat bookings, but you may also increase your bookings through referrals and recommendations.

Travel experts predict that about 53% of travellers will be looking into longer itineraries this year, many of which will take place during the off-season. When money is tight, many feel that there are fewer opportunities to travel, which is why they may opt for a longer itinerary that spans 7-10 days. In addition, most savvy travellers know that lower off-season rates are available, which is beneficial during an economic downturn.

You can attract these types of travellers to your tour and activity company by: 

  • Offer gift cards that can be purchased for others to use for your experiences. Experience gifts have been trending for quite some time, and many may be looking for these types of niche gifts when store-bought goods are a lot more expensive than they once were.
  • Create special deals that entice people to book now. Many travellers are planning their trips further in advance in hopes of saving money, and a promotional code that encourages customers to buy now and book later may be appealing at this time.
  • Promote your off-season discounts. This will confirm travellers’ suspicions that there are lower rates during the off-season and entice them to book directly with you in advance of their trip.

promo code marketing strategy

One of the best ways to spread the word about these types of promotions and deals is via automatic e-mails and text messages. An online booking solution, like Rezdy, allows you to schedule those messages and promote the latest deals you have available. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stay in touch with your previous customers and continue to generate buzz about your tour and activity brand.

Utilise in-destination tools 

The reality is that travellers are more likely to be budget-conscious during the booking stages of their trip, but they are willing to spend more once they have arrived at their destination. About 49% of travellers admit that they plan to indulge more on their next getaway to compensate for the missed opportunities during the pandemic. Another 43% reported that they were willing to spend more to enjoy a memorable, worthwhile experience.

You can take advantage of this mentality by:

Partner with OTAs

Increase bookings by partnering with OTAs

OTAs are the fastest-growing travel for the tour and activity sector, accounting for more than $1.8 billion in bookings. By 2025, economic experts predict that OTAs will be responsible for more than $20 billion in bookings, representing a compound annual growth rate of 61%. If you still need to work with OTAs, then now is the time to start aligning your brand with these powerful forces in the travel industry. 

The benefits of partnering with OTAs include the following:

  • Have the ability to expand and diversify your target audience. OTAs allow you to reach untapped markets filled with consumers who may have yet to hear about your brand.
  • Allows you to distribute rates and inventory to specific channels. You can target your reach to the channels most likely to drive bookings for your tour and activity company. 

The best way to partner with an OTA is to have an all-in-one Channel Manager in place. A channel manager allows you to simultaneously distribute your live rates and inventory to all channels, which means that everyone who books your products can be confident that you are not over-selling or over-booking. Most OTAs will only work with brands that offer this type of technology.

Conclusion

Before your bookings begin to increase and you start to feel overwhelmed by the interest in your products, you should take the time to implement an online booking solution that will help you effectively manage your bookings.

Rezdy is an online booking platform designed specifically for the tour and activity sector, making it one of the most intuitive digital tools you can invest in for your business. With Rezdy, not only will you be able to accept online bookings, secure process payments, and efficiently allocate your resources, but you also will be able to drive further bookings with Rezdy Channel Manager.

Curious to see how Rezdy can fit within your business? Start your 21-day free trial or book a demo today.

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