top of page

Travel Monthly Review - Travel behaviour, Trends and crystal-balling: January

Entering 2024 - what have we learnt and what do we see in front of us. Join the January edition of our regular format to review industry developments in the UK and beyond.Featuring Will Plummer (CEO, Trust My Group), Claire Steiner (UK Director, Global Travel and Tourism Partnership), and James Clarke (General Manager, Travelzoo UK), the first episode addresses the trends that defined 2023, and predictions for the year ahead.A quick review of the latest consumer travel behaviour reports, Gill Haigh (Managing Director, Cumbria Tourism), joins the conversation to provide a first-hand look at regional tourism in one of the UK’s most visited regions, before the panel discusses the impact of domestic and inbound tourism around the UK, concluding with the monthly quick-fire quiz. Look out for our Hospitality Monthly Review edition as we specifically look at the accommodation sector. 


Listen on Spotify


Listen on Apple Podcasts


Listen to more episodes of the hospitality industry podcast Travel Market Life and subscribe for the latest news at http://travelmarket.life/


Follow us on LinkedIn for more thought-provoking content: https://www.linkedin.com/company/travel-market-life/Do you have a story to share about technology, digitalisation or culture changes within the hospitality and travel industry? We'd love to hear what your company is doing and the impact it is having. Please contact us through http://travelmarket.life/


Programme Notes


This episode has been automatically transcribed by AI, please excuse any typos or grammatical errors


Ryan Haynes:

Hello and welcome to the new Travel Monthly Review Show January 2024 edition. With our panel Will Plummer Claire Steiner and James Clarke. In our review shows, we'll look at some industry pressing issues and look at the landscape in front of us getting insider knowledge from our expert panel. In this episode, we'll be learning more about those three industry hobnobs as we tackle what lies ahead in 2024. Yes, we'll be looking at the 2023 trends that shone through 2024 predictions for what will bring change, the latest consumer travel behaviour reports. What do travellers really want from their holidays, the challenges of domestic and inbound travel, when we'll be joined by Jill Hague from Cumbria Tourism, not least, and not last, we'll look at journeys beyond the British Seas.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Before we head into the quick quiz, are my panelists true industry experts or do they need to be sent back? To Travel School, I'm your host, Ryan Haynes. Let's get on with a show.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Joining me now is Will Plummer, CEO, Trust My Group who has worked in the travel sector for 20 years. For the past 12, he's run Trust My Group, which projects and processes payments for consumers from its worldwide travel providers supporting over 1000 members in 86 countries. Hey Will, how are you doing there?

 

Will Plummer:

Hey? Ryan. Very good. Thanks for having me.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No problem. Happy New Year.

 

Will Plummer:

Happy New Year. It's that time of year we have to do this. We have, how was your Christmas, how was your New Year, et cetera? So, yep.

 

Ryan Haynes:

We're still very early on. We haven't reached the end of January

 

Will Plummer:

Yet. Well, okay. Yeah, we're getting there. We're good. We're good. Back in the swing of things. Yeah, exactly.

 

Ryan Haynes:

So, first question to you, so that the audience can get to know you better, when, where and where was your last holiday?

 

Will Plummer:

Last holiday was November long weekend in Porto with the wife to celebrate 20 years together. So yeah, lot of fun, lot of walking, but always like a good city break

 

Ryan Haynes:

On trend. You are a goer then?

 

Will Plummer:

I do try. I think I've been on trend for 20 years or maybe I'm just stuck in a rut that, you know, keeps on going.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Now where are you heading on your next travels?

 

Will Plummer:

So, few industry things we're, I mean, Brussels next month for the Hector Travel Payment Summit ITB Berlin and then a family holiday to South Africa and Botswana end of March, April time. So looking forward to that.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Sounds like you've got something to look forward to after a very sexy lineup of business events.

 

Will Plummer:

Absolutely, yeah.

 

Ryan Haynes:

What's ECTAA? Tell us more about that.

 

Will Plummer:

Yeah, so that's the European Commission for Travel Agents and Tour Operators Association. They're basically a sort of legislative body based in Brussels, looking at the package travel directives, influencing governments in, in influencing the EU as a whole, as to what it looks like for operators, what the directives do for them, how they can help promote them, help support these countries and companies within them. So very worthwhile. We think we've got something to contribute to them. Always interested to hear what they have to say and they're very inclusive 'cause they want lots of different voices from, from lots of different parts of the ecosystem.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Excellent. Well I hope you come back and you share some of those conversations that you've had there.

 

Will Plummer:

Well, I'm coming back, but yes, I'll certainly share the conversations. Absolutely. Yeah.

 

Ryan Haynes:

And then heading off to Botswana, why Botswana?

 

Will Plummer:

I'm very fortunate. My father-in-law has an interest in a lodge over there. So going over there on ami, which should be great fun. And also on trend, I think to multi-generational travel. My business partner also lives in Cape Town, so we'll, we'll do a little bit of work as well. Probably sample a few glasses of wine and see some games. So, perfect trip, really.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Excellent. Now looking back in your rear mirror 2023, what do you think was pretty poignant for the industry?

 

Will Plummer:

Yeah, I think I'm the naysayer in the group in terms of, I know numbers were good. I know everyone is, is very buoyant about what they did for me. There were a lot of buzzwords. There was chat, GPT, there was ai, there's sustainability, but at the very heart, I don't really feel there's been any meaningful development in terms of the industry. I think we've got massive regulatory issues. I know there are a lot of consultations, not exploration around this, but I think we've got a bit bogged down on it and we're always trying to paper over the cracks and we're not necessarily looking holistically.

 

Will Plummer:

I think as an industry we've forgotten the lessons of the Big C. There was a whole risk management system, a whole risk management issue. I think we could be doing better, but financially everyone did well, and everyone's happy. So it was a good solid year. but I, you know, I hope there is development, I hope when you come back to me in a little bit to be able to predict lots of future development. But 23 is good financially not good in terms of moving forward holistically.

 

Ryan Haynes:

And actually, it's funny because I do feel that we've rested full back on our laurels somewhat. I was in a, yeah,

 

Will Plummer:

I agree, 15

 

Ryan Haynes:

Venues recently and I was thinking, where's the cleaning gone? you know, we suddenly forgot to clean, you know, we had two years of clean, clean, clean, clean, clean. Now it's just like, ooh, do I wanna see another cleaning mop or cloth in their lives when you go into these venues, unfortunately. but I've seen that as well sort of like hit across the rest of the travel industry. And I guess that's quite questionable as to sort of how that will actually build consumers' confidence as well.

 

Will Plummer:

I think so. I mean interestingly there's some reason for Spain, I saw this week who have reintroduced face masks because of a rise in sort of sea cases. I refuse to say the actual words, but I still think and, and we're fortunate I think, I think it's developed that it, it's not that going to be the same danger it was before, but I don't think there's been enough development. I think to your point Ryan, everyone has sort of reverted to 2019.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Well, thank you, Will and thanks for joining us as a panellist today. Now over to Claire Steiner, UK Director of Global Travel and Tourism Partnership. Claire's worked in the travel sector for over 25 years, an experienced HR talent professional. GTTP inspires young people to build successful responsible careers in travel and tourism. She's director and chair of education and training at the Institute of Travel and Tourism, where she co-founded the ITT Future U and is an advisory board member for the social enterprise Women in Travel. Quite an exhaustive CV there, Claire. I know you are all over the industry. You love it to bits. Hi, how are you doing?

 

Claire Steiner:

I'm doing great Ryan, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

 

Ryan Haynes:

It's fantastic to have you contribute particularly with your background, but you know, throw a couple of questions to you. So what destination is of choice this year? Perhaps

 

Claire Steiner:

You see now this is a difficult one. I work in travel. We all do. And so we love To Travel and I have so many places I've been to that I'd love to go back to, but there are so many places I still have yet to go to. So for me, my next place choice of Destination will be the next place I go.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay, good. Enough answer for me. What about, this is one for you? What holiday edition would you care to forget?

 

Claire Steiner:

Okay, we had a giggle about this and he, he will not be pleased me saying this, but I would say where SRO Crab won't say where, but I had, I was doing some work out there and I met my husband out there and that was 20 odd years ago. And so, for good and bad reasons, that Destination has, yeah, lots different feelings, I would say.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Oh, isn't it amazing how travel really does bring up all sorts of emotions? And now looking at in your rearview mirror again, how did 2023 leave it mark for you in particular in regards to the industry?

 

Claire Steiner:

I think in a number of ways. One, I think the continuing evolvement of the workplace and we're seeing that is as we come out of what we call ad the after-distancing years as opposed to BC before Covid. So, you know, I think, I think we see we will continue to see that change and I think, I think it's going to change in different ways. And I, and there are a lot of things that people want that they aren't necessarily going to get. And I think we're going to be reevaluating. I think that the workplace itself is changing enormously and will continue to change and evolve. Some of it will be positive, some of it may be seen as negative as, you know, for some people. but I think that we will continue to look at how we will survive as an industry and actually create workplaces that people want to be in.

 

Claire Steiner:

But also, those that create places that, that deliver the experiences and, and, and the business that we that we're in, I know we're gonna talk about it, we'll mention it, ai, listen, it may not have gone anywhere yet, but it really slapped everyone in the face. I mean, you know, ChatGPT seemed to have come out of nowhere, suddenly a was ev was on everybody's lips. So, for me, that was a big thing. And I think the other thing, which I think is a really real positive thing that we're seeing in travel is the growth in B Corps that we're having. We're seeing more and more industry companies becoming B Corps. And I think that's a really positive thing, not just from the ethical part of it, but also just showcasing how seriously our industry is taking responsibility and sustainability.

 

Ryan Haynes:

It is interesting particularly, and I've spoken to the Lymington Group, it opened a hotel in Belfast just a few months ago, in fact, and sort of like how deep they have to go and ingrained that sustainability within and among their workforce, but also within the supply chain. And it's not an easy feat. you know, you've, there's a lot of education that needs to go on there with your providers as well, and then helping them understand what that all means. And obviously, that is a key part of becoming key, a B corp and withholding that certification. So we'll delve a lot more certainly into the changing workplace in just a moment. So thank you Claire for becoming a part of our expert panel here. Over to James Clark.

 

Ryan Haynes:

General Manager of Travelzoo UK. He joined Travelzoo in 2018 and continues to grow the UK business of the global media company that publishes exclusive officer experiences to 30 million members. He was previously CEO at Fleetway and has also served as a code of conduct committee member of ABTA. Hey, good day and Happy New Year to you James. How are you doing?

 

James Clarke:

I'm well, thanks Ryan and Thank you very much for having me join you guys on this podcast.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Well, you made it back from the Destination Show in Manchester and I'm glad that your head is in one piece because you weren't entirely sure after the Global Awards last night. How was this week?

 

James Clarke:

So yeah, it's been a busy week this week. you know, it's one of those weeks where you, you come out of Christmas, you think I'm gonna have an easy landing note straight back into it. So the awards were excellent. It's always great to catch up with, you know, industry colleagues, folks and friends. So that was great. And the entertainment and the whole, the whole event was, was brilliant as it always is. It's kind of the first event of the year, as we like to call it. And the destination show was really, really encouraging. I'm, I'm really pleased to report back that, that, you know, it, there's a very strong demand again for travel. It's very apparent from the members that we met, both new and current members, that the desire for travel is ever-present.

 

James Clarke:

And in particular, it was great to find out, you know, where our members are looking to book this year and what, you know, kind of what the trends were. And it's always great to hear the, you know, kind of certain buzzwords, but from a destination perspective, Asia was mentioned a lot of times, so the likes of Japan and the Far East, so that was very popular. Expedition cruising was mentioned by a lot of people wanting to go a bit further afield and do things like Alaska and the Arctic and there were lots of cities. Porto was mentioned actually by more than one member as, as either a destination they've just been to or there about to go to. So Porto actually was very popular.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Excellent. And now, yeah, I mean it sounds like, you know, there's a bit of change that's happening within consumers and what they're looking for is, is that certainly particularly different to what you've seen since prior to the big C?

 

James Clarke:

Yes, I think what the, the big C as we like to call it brought around was it was like an injection in the arm to those travellers, the consumers out there to kind of re-look at their travel plans and you know, maybe consider, have I been doing something quite repetitive with the way I book travel, go into the same destinations or the same resorts or in many cases the same hotel year after year. So I think what it's allowed members to do and consumers alike is to look at kind of the globe and go, right, let's start again, where haven't I been or where would I have always wanted to go to and let's maybe rip up the oldest and write a new list. And I really am a believer that that's what we are seeing in travel both last year and we'll see, continue to see this year.

 

Ryan Haynes:

So, for you, what stood out as a key change in the industry last year?

 

James Clarke:

It, look, I could be, I could be cliche and point to AI. It is an easy win, but I'm sure we'll talk about that. And, and for the reasons why I don't believe it was the, the big talking point for me, the, the real standing point was the record-breaking performance that operators had from the very small niche operators all the way through to the very largest operators. And I think that was the first time really as an industry that was kind of the largest trend we've seen. Everyone was reporting strong growth, strong revenues, recruitment was up, and all these kinds of big ticks were happening for the first kind of significant year, after the big C.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Mean, it's a matter that we need to give ourselves a pat on the back. We need to be positive and you know, put in the hard work and we, and we see the gains and, and I think as you say, that would hopefully improve some of the productivity issues that we've got particularly facing the UK at the moment. Right. Well, thank you very much James for joining us here on the panel. Pleased to have you Travel Market Life gazing into their crystal balls. They are ready to share some of their insights and what they think 2020 fours going to bring from the most ridiculous to the most unlikely. What have Claire and James got in their sights? So over to James to start with, what are you expecting to see in 2024?

 

James Clarke:

Thank you. So, I think the first thing, Ryan, we've all seen it because we watch TV, we listen to the radio, but there's a very clear dominant few players in the industry. And I'm a big believer that they will only continue to get bigger. So, the likes of EasyJet holidays and, and a Jet two, they're the two biggest at the moment growing both at whole numbers, route destinations, air capacity, everything is being increased by them as they look to take more of that pie that is shared out across so many operators across the UK. So that would be the biggest forecast. And I say big two because I think two, we are falling down that kind of atoll number list and the likes of Jet Two and Easy Jet are also eaten away at their numbers.

 

James Clarke:

So that would probably be my biggest prediction for this year. Alongside that, some consolidation in the industry. It's nice to see some of the operators, like the likes of Hays who are, you know, consolidating in the market, particularly on the High Street and bringing more retail branches. And that's not a bad thing. A lot of people look at consolidation as a potential way where businesses are gonna shift costs and cut heads. The likes of Hays are looking just to grow their network. So they're, they're taking on businesses, they're keeping their presence on the high street, which is only a good thing. And as a business-like Hazel, very good recruiters, they do a great apprenticeship, apprenticeship schemes, they look to drive people through the business and kind of continue their growth trajectory through the business.

 

James Clarke:

So, they're, they're, they're the two biggest ones that I'd say stand out for me. And then the kind of one on the side would be Cruise. I think Cruise is gonna have a fantastic year in 2024.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I mean it's interesting, particularly when you talk about consolidation. Obviously, Hays have announced yet another acquisition in the recent few days and it's wonderful to know that these businesses aren't gonna die and disappear. you know, they get, the people's jobs are saved, that there is still access for consumers in the local area to be able to access some of these businesses. but I think we're seeing consolidation acquisition across the board, aren't we really when it comes to the wider travel industry? And it'll be interesting to see how that consolidation will play its part in regards to services and suppliers in the backend of the industry as well. So over to Will, you had some similar thoughts here to what James was saying.

 

Will Plummer:

Yeah, absolutely. I do agree the strong are going to get stronger and, you know, adding to EasyJet and Jet Two, you know, the, the Expedias the bookings of this world, you know, they are the strong brands. They're developing the tools that make it accessible to the consumers to actually buy these products. And I think that is where a lot of the market share is gonna continue to go. And, and that's what we're gonna see. I think there'll be a growth of sort of in-destination spend and time. I mean, I have seen some statistics that say actually the number of trips that people are gonna take isn't gonna decline. I don't share that optimism really. I think people will be spending on an aspirational trip, spending more money on it, but probably taking fewer trips and doing more things in destination, really trying to get underneath the skin of a destination, really enjoy it, really do the sort of local tours, local activities.

 

Will Plummer:

And I really see that sort of coming to fruition. So that's exciting. you know, I think we all agree is sort of aspirational travellers. That's what we like, that's what gets us hooked into travel and then just ridiculous. And I think possibly my crystal ball is dirty, but all travel will be affordably financially protected. It doesn't matter whether it's a package, or whether it's two or more elements. There will be a way where the consumer's money is at the forefront of everything. It doesn't penalize the operator, it doesn't protect the funds multiple times that they're, you know, to penalize acquiring banks.

 

Will Plummer:

It will just be really simple, really transparent and the industry will just work. But as I said, I fear that my crystal ball is a little bit dirty.

 

Ryan Haynes:

It almost sounds like you want blockchain to come.

 

Will Plummer:

I thought we, I thought we'd ruled out dirty words, but yeah, I mean let, let's It's okay because AI will solve it. So we're okay. AI on top of blockchain and sort of a regulatory shakeup. That's, that's my ridiculous prediction for 24. Thank

 

Ryan Haynes:

You Will. So no worries. From business and industry to someone who really focuses on people Claire, what are your thoughts on what's going to come in 2024?

 

Claire Steiner:

Well, I think I've said it before, but I think we're going on to AI at the moment. I think we are, we are kind of where we were 30, 35 years ago when the internet came around, when everyone jumped up and down, went running around going, oh my goodness, this is gonna change everything and all these jobs are gonna go, it's the death of the high street. And we all panicked and none of us were actually really aware of what it could do for us. And I think we're at that stage now with AI. I think it's great that, that hopefully, we've learned lessons from the past though, you know, I think we, as we talked about, maybe we haven't been reflective enough on, on lessons learned, but I think AI will will continue to dominate. Certainly, every conference I think we go to will have AI on it, but I think it'll be really interesting to see how that will affect how the workplace is seen and the sort of what then I call the AI generation with new people coming into the workplace.

 

Claire Steiner:

So, I think that that's going to be quite interesting. And I mentioned earlier, you know, I think we'll see this continuing change to the workplace and, and I think that that the challenges there is we're seeing a lot of new trends and some of them are literally just trendy Trends around, you know, work workplace requirements of the next-gen. And I think some people are doing a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to that, but I think we will spend 24 maybe being a bit more reflective about what we actually need as a business and how that works and how we can match that with the requirements of the next generation. And, and, and James, you know, alluded to that slightly with people like Haigh being great at sort of developing staff and bringing new people on and that is really key.

 

Claire Steiner:

And I mentioned about B core and ethics earlier, and I think again, that's something that younger people that we talk about, gen Z, the millennials and the alphas that are gonna start coming through in the next five to 10 years. But actually, that's for all of us. We all now feel, and I think because we've been so much more reflective over the last few years, what we do and why we do it is increasingly important to us in that that, you know, working to live not living to work mentality, that we're all, we're all changing to. And I think, you know, for me also, I think we're gonna see a, a continuing rise in wellness and I think that's from an employee as well as a client perspective, and I meant to mention this, but then, I don’t know if you've read anything recently, but the Ozempic era that people have started to talk about this and Ozempic is, is one of these new drugs that are there for weight loss, these new weight loss drugs that are coming in.

 

Claire Steiner:

And this may be one of the crazier sorts of predictions I should have come up with. But what, what they, what are people are now predicting as a result of this is that because people's health is getting much better, they're gonna start choosing holidays based on what they can get there. So hotels that offer, you know, healthy options and they're more active and you know, smaller portion sizes and calories on the menu, all those sorts of things we're sort of seeing anyway. But there's a feeling that this new era of wellness, which is some of which has been driven by these weight loss drugs that might happen, that's saying these weight loss drugs, you know, a lot of them are now coming under further investigation and, and so we'll just wait and see.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Was that a Skift article?

 

Claire Steiner:

Yes.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Ah, I read the same article myself just before Christmas. In fact, it got a couple of that, my clients are very fascinated by what that would mean to their business if they could actually fly more people around the world.

 

Claire Steiner:

It, it is fascinating because you're also hearing on the other side of it, you know, the move for airlines to start, you know, this challenge about the very, very overweight people and taking up to, and should you be charging them more to fly, you know, and what is their rights and, and you know, and from an employment perspective, you know, I'm waiting for the day that that size will become a, a protected characteristic because people have the right now, I mean, you know, that may be a way off, but there, there are mutterings in the HR world about that already have been some time.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Right. Well, we're going to explore a bit more around people in hr certainly in a moment when we are going to hear from Jill Hague from Cambria Tourism. But first I wanna explore some of the travel behaviours, some of the data diving deep into what consumers and travellers have been saying and booking dot com's latest research report, Travel Market Life. Apparently, reinvention is a big theme for 2024. A whopping 68% of travellers believe that they transform into the best version of themselves while roaming and 37% tell fictional stories about their lives.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Will you strike it as though you are someone who might not necessarily tell the full truth when you are on holiday?

 

Will Plummer:

I don't quite know how to take that. I look, there's a, there's a degree of escapism, isn't it? I mean a holiday for me is escaping the norm. It's the change, but it's also discovering a new destination, discovering the sight, the sounds, the smells of that destination and the effect that that has on your body and soul. To Claire's point around that, that sort of wellness side of things. So, I do kind of take that and I think that's what people look for. I think that's why all these reports are talking about aspiration and being a reinventing yourself, escapism. It is that kind of thing. I was, in fact, it might have been this morning, it was just on the radio and someone was saying that one of their friends when they travel literally, they've collected all this pent-up aggression and frustration in their lives and then they get to the airport and they just offload.

 

Will Plummer:

That's their, that's the point in time that it all sort of comes out. I'm not that person, well speak to my wife, I don't think I'm that person anyway, but I do think that you know, we all have jobs, we all do different things in our lives, whether it be children, whether it be the routine of, of everyday life, travel is that change from the norm. It normally costs a lot of money. So, you know, you you, you want to enjoy it. And I think that's when people don't enjoy their holiday, it's because they haven't put themselves in or they've been let down. Yes, occasionally. But it's literally that you don't kind of reinvent yourself into where you are and what you're doing.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Now, are you thought one of the 42% that rent a swankier car than you drive at home?

 

Will Plummer:

No. you know what, when I I I'm one of the 58% that rent a quick mask that rent a, a sort of smaller version of the car, shove the family in suitcases on these jobs done. It's no longer automatic, you know, the air conditioning barely works, but we're getting from A to B, this is proper living, this is proper driving like it used to be.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Wow. And Claire James, do either of you rent a Swankier car when you are on holiday?

 

James Clarke:

No, I'm just like, well,

 

Claire Steiner:

No, I'm exactly the same. The only time I might do it was if I ever make it to Cuba and I'd love to rent one of those lovely famous, you know, the 1950s cars and I would probably splash out for that. But no, and actually most of the time I'll take the bus from absolutely honest,

 

Ryan Haynes:

I don't think I've got a choice because I think every car is swankier than the one I drive at home. So there we are. I'm one of the 42%, another stat here, 52% of travellers want to book trips where the destination remains a mystery until they arrive. Have you ever done that or have you ever done it for someone? I've got a friend of mine who was taken to Vienna and she didn't and they flew on Ryanair and her partner did this surprise trip and she covered her head when she got to the airport, put her fingers in the ears or her headphones on when they were going through the airport, didn't see the tickets, nothing even when they were on the plane and when they arrived and Ryanair.

 

Ryan Haynes:

So, they were set on different seats in different locations of the plane. And when he arrived, a guy next to her tapped her on the shoulder, took her headphones off and he goes, do you know how to get to Vienna? And she was like, oh, so we're in Vienna then. Have you ever done anything like that for yourself or someone else

 

James Clarke:

That takes you back to, well we'll remember this, but remember the old deals you used to buy the old square deals where you could find out only some elements of your trip so you could either know the hotel, the location or the board basis. And I remember, you know, this is going back when your parents used to probably look on TeleTech or walk into an estate agent and they had the old black and white screen. But yeah, I remember very vividly going on holiday with my parents. We knew which country we were going to, but we didn't know what hotel we were staying in or what resort we were staying in. And I have to say we ended up at some very obscure places and I've often said that one of my biggest learning curves when I was a child was when everyone was going to Spain.

 

James Clarke:

I was sharing a house in Turkey with another family because they had basically turned the bottom half of their house into some kind of rental property that we were put in. And it was very obscure. It was a great holiday. I learned a lot. But that, and I also remember I ended up at a hotel once, I didn't even have a, the swimming pool wasn't complete and yeah, it was, it was a few of those. But that's, that's what puts that, you know, the travel hair on your chest so to speak. you know, that's what gives us thick skin 'cause we've done all of that.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Oh, it's amazing. I, I remember, you know, there were late night flights as a young kid being eight or nine years old and they got the coach when he got to the airport and then they had to drop you off at all the different resorts. And we turned up at a resort about two o'clock in the morning and my parents were like, really? Is this where we're meant to be staying? And yeah, it all came to light the next day and you just realized that you may as well be in a prison cell. But you know that that was again, the joy of travelling and you spent most of the time just experiencing, exploring the local area just so you didn't have to go back to the hotel.

 

James Clarke:

Let's all recall, that we used to book holidays with the motivation of one image and if we were lucky, maybe two in a brochure, that is what allowed us to book a holiday. We were like, if that photo of the hotel and the local beach was good enough, that would motivate us to exchange and do a deal.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I mean there, there's so many of those Insta stories isn't there, where there are beautiful pictures and tourists are turning up now and they're complaining that it's not as beautiful as it looks in the Instagram stories. So yeah, I think I would rather go back to that simpler time where everything's gonna be a surprise. Right. So that's some of the consumer trends that we looked at from booking.com. We're going to look now at domestic and inbound. Well, we'll be exploring what we're gonna see from staycation a domestic market and changes in 2023 and if they're going to be here to stay Travel Market Life. So, we recently saw the published report from Visit Britain that showed some of the insights that the overall forecast for spending by international travellers in the UK this year is 34.1 billion.

 

Ryan Haynes:

That's up 7% on the spending predicted in 2023 and up 20% on 2019. Now that's not adjusted for inflation rates. That's a huge increase in spending, isn't it? I mean, are you seeing that play out amongst some of the travel providers that you work with and within the industry itself, do you see the UK as a destination?

 

James Clarke:

Yes. So, from our perspective, there are probably two sides to this coin from a Travelzoo, we have products that we contract ourselves in the UK, so UK hotels and UK breaks as well as operators who are providing us deals, who we work with. So we can see both sides. But let, let's be honest, prices are ultimately higher than they were, you know, press and going back to the kind of 2019 and there are lots of elements at play. Let's, let's bear in mind, let's see if we look at that kind of textbook 99 pounds a night deal that we would sell so often at Travelzoo for the kind of like a cosy getaway, but you know, these prices are now more like 119, 129.

 

James Clarke:

And that's not just because of the price that the partner that we're working with this hotel is paying for staff or food or you know, electricity. There are so many different elements that are now increased for them. So it's not just an overall inflation figure, which a lot of that is wrapped up into. You then have to look at all the other pieces that are affecting the way that they have to cost and manage their property. And it's, it's vastly different. It is a vastly different scenario that they were into when they were pre-19. So prices are ultimately up. But probably the tendency that has also happened is you've gotta remember that the UK had a fantastic year when it opened up and international wasn't open up that, you know, everyone made Haigh properties put their prices up very quickly, pubs and restaurants were enjoying all this kind of inbound traffic and when we were allowing a few tourists in, they were making great money and it was all working well.

 

James Clarke:

But now you've got the other counter to that which is outbound tourism is starting to really boom again and they've gotta make the revenues that they were making during those highs. So there, there's a lot of different elements at play.

 

Will Plummer:

Don't you think though as well James? I'm in, I'm interested to sort of come back on that. I think what we've done though as a result of the Big C is we've, we've packaged up Britain better. We found inventive ways of, you know, uncovering, you know, hidden secrets. you know, that we, when people were on their staycations, they went to different places, you know, they opened people opened up their homes, they opened up new sort of tourist spots or tours and activities. We put that infrastructure in place because we only have that kind of staycation traffic and now it's expanded into the inbound travel as well. So, we've become attractive to inbound travel.

 

Will Plummer:

So, I think, you know, there is the challenge with the outbound across all the figures, but I do think domestic and inbound is actually in a pretty good place. And especially, I mean my gloom and doom predictions are that unfortunately when mortgage rates kick in again with the election later this year, money is gonna get tighter. you know, I do actually see that with this infrastructure staycation will be attractive again, it will see some of its money and it's become more attractive to the inbound visitors, to the UK who might have gone to a different destination because of what we put in place.

 

Ryan Haynes:

I mean it's interesting, that Visit Britain also published some data on and around the UK staycation market and less than a third of families are planning a UK city break in 2024, only 27% planned a longer staycation for this year, which is down from 40% and 35% respectively last year. So that's a significant drop. And families are planning to take fewer holidays with 33% looking to take an overseas holiday, which is down from 37%. So, it does sort of play there to your thoughts, the stairs will be in and around what we might be expecting from British travellers.

 

Will Plummer:

Yeah, I think so. And I, I think the problem with all, with all these numbers, is you can read into them what, what you want to, you know, you've got, you know, there was a report from ATO saying 89% of all their bookings were up in terms of values. Skyscanner says that there are a sane number of trips being booked. I know that's outbound. I think there's going to be penny-pinching. I think what we're talking about now and it'd be really interesting, you know, when we come back in a few months’ time to see what the second half of the year looks like because I'm afraid I think there's some more pain to come which will the       n change what inbound, oh sorry, what domestic looks like. But I do think inbound is actually in quite a, potentially in quite a strong place.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Thank you very much we are gonna look and hear from Jill Hague now the Managing Director at Cumbria Tourism who's sharing her viewpoints from the ground. And I asked her what the challenges are facing Cumbria, Tourism and hospitality businesses in 2024.

 

Gill Haigh:

As a membership organization have a kind of unique position, I suppose, where we're able to speak directly to hundreds of businesses on a really regular basis. And the two themes that have been coming up for a number of years now are very much around skills and staff shortages and also of course the impact in terms of rising costs for businesses and also for our consumers. So, I think if I were to go out and do a quick sample today of our membership and beyond, they would be definitely two, the two things that are right at the top of their agenda.

 

Ryan Haynes:

So, for a rural area like Cumbria, what are the solutions that you are working with around your membership?

 

Gill Haigh:

So, if we break it down and we start with the skills and challenge around the shortage of people of working age, that's that in some ways that's probably the biggest one. And then we'll come to the other, we have a population and less than half a million and yet we welcome over 40 million visitors every year. And not only are we a small population, but we are a super ageing and declining population. Super aging means that more and more people within the county are economically inactive because they their past working age or they don't need to work.

 

Gill Haigh:

So that is challenging. And in the past of course we've had the freedom to bring workers in from Europe and other parts of the world. And clearly over the last few years that position has changed at the same time as we've come out of Covid and we've found that many people have chosen to step away from work or not work as many hours or have chosen to go into professions and areas of work that weren't as badly hit as the hospitality sector was. So that's created a renewed emphasis, desire, need, force for trying to use every opportunity that there is to increase the, the, the sort of work pool if you will.

 

Gill Haigh:

So, businesses led by organizations like ourselves are working really closely with partners, including the department for work and pensions, inspiring, working with people with disabilities, even even looking at things like people who are coming out from prison sentences and looking for a fresh start. And of course, working with our young people here in Cumbria. But what is it that we need to do to make this a place where our young people actually want to stay at 18? We've got a fantastic university of Cumbria here in the county as well as some great further education colleges that we partner with.

 

Gill Haigh:

So, we're working with all of those partners to look at, well what are the workforce needs in the first place? And then working with the colleges that help us to develop programs. And then obviously working in terms of a campaign to attract younger people to go onto those. And then also working with partners to look at those people who are out of work and who want to work or who need to work to help make the path into our sector as attractive as possible. There are some incredible opportunities. Businesses are very attuned to the fact that they need to support, their staff to get a really good strong work balance because it's no good just employing somebody.

 

Gill Haigh:

You want to retain somebody, especially if you're gonna invest that skill that time in, in upskilling them. But it's gonna take time. And in all truthfulness, and this is my personal view, we won't fill that gap from Cumbia alone because we do not have enough people who need employment in the places where the employment is

 

Ryan Haynes:

From businesses then to travellers. So consumer spend and travel is due to be down in 2024. Jill, how will Cumbria attract tourists to remain buoyant?

 

Gill Haigh:

What we've seen I think over the last couple of years, it's fair to say is that people are still coming, which is great, but they're being more circumspect in terms of their spending. So, let's say they're gonna stay in the county overnight, but they're choosing perhaps to eat out less as part of that holiday experience or they're choosing to do some things that, some, some activities that are not paid for free activities if you like a walk, you know, a walk or going to some of the free venues that there are. So I think it's what we call our secondary spend that's suffering.

 

Gill Haigh:

I think all of us understand that the cost of living for businesses and for us as consumers has gone up. But there are lots and lots of things to do here in the county. And also I think one of the things that I would also say to people is it's not all about coming June, July and August. We are open in other months of the year and you know, and it is thinking about well actually would it be a best time for me to come in the autumn or in the early spring in the winter where perhaps there are some deals around.

 

Ryan Haynes:

So, Claire, I mean there are some interesting points particularly that she raised in regard to the sort of people to be able to manage actually all the tourists coming to the area. What sort of approach are you seeing is helping businesses particularly sort of recruit and attract the right people?

 

Claire Steiner:

Well first I think I have to mention her because I think what they're doing is, is spot on. Engaging with your local colleges and your local universities is absolutely critical. I think, you know, one of the things that we need to promote, we, this is a drum I've been beating for years that as a sector we're not very good at promoting ourselves as employers. And I think there are, there are, we need to do a lot more myth-busting around it. One of the things that is really key is that the young people and in terms of a first job, the skills they learn working in hospitality or you know, in Tourism companies at that early stage in their career, gives them skills that they can transfer anywhere and that will stay with them for life. And there are, I don't think there are many people in our industry at a senior level or any level who haven't had some job in hospitality throughout their lives.

 

Claire Steiner:

They get cus they get customer service and our industry revolves around that. And I think, you know, once they're in, as she said, you know, it's very, we want to keep them so we need to work with them and torture staff around employee engagement. What do they want? One of hospitality's biggest challenges of course is you can't be as flexible in terms of, you know, it's, you can't work from home when you're, when you're a bar staff and you, you know, or you are, you are working in hotels and stuff. So again, it's about how do you make those jobs work for the people that, that are coming in and the way they're doing it, and again, I really like this is they're looking for what I call hidden talent. She mentioned things like prison reform programs, which are great. I, the work I do with women in travel is another similar one where we look at women who've been disadvantaged through many different, for many different reasons and get them back into the workplace.

 

Claire Steiner:

But then there's this, there's this whole other area of hidden disabilities as well as as obvious disabilities. Neurodiversity is a big one and a lot of these people are looking for work and can be really valuable employees and a lot of them will probably be more loyal employees because you've given them that, that chance. There are three, there are something like 330 million jobs currently globally supported by travel and tourism, right? That's huge. But we have a huge dec deficit of that. And the, the, the large HR company, Korn Ferry predicted at the end of last year that by, I think it was 2029, so the end of, of the next decade or this decade I should say, gosh, I can, where are we that 85 million jobs we would not be able to fill.

 

Claire Steiner:

There'll be 85 million. Now this is good. This isn't just in our sector, this is across the world, right? And in every sector, there will be 85 million jobs that would would no one to fill them. That's huge. And so we are fighting against all these other industries to try and get these people in. So we have to give them, we have to give them good opportunities for development. We have to make the barriers to entry a lot easier to get through. That can be for young people as well. you know, we're currently fighting this big defunding proposition on qualifications in this country and, and a lot is going on with that. So, you know, we have to get out there and have to start thinking differently.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Absolutely. And you, the extended interview with Jill will be available in upcoming podcasts where she delves deeper, particularly into the apprenticeship schemes and the partnerships that she's got in the region and she touches on some other interesting subjects, particularly booking around shoulder peak periods, which I think that we can take as an opportunity to delve into next time. But that's the end of our looking at the industry and what's happening. We're gonna be moving on to the quick quiz where we challenge the industry experts to see if they actually have the knowledge about the sector. Okay. Right. Guys, are you ready for the quick quiz?

 

Will Plummer:

Yes,

 

Claire Steiner:

I think so. Yes.

 

Will Plummer:

Very, very fearful, but let's go. Alright.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay. So I asked you each to bring a buzzer, a bell or a horn or something that makes an instant noise. Okay. James, what's yours?

 

James Clarke:

(Plays stylophone)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Thank you very much. Claire.

 

Claire Steiner:

(Plays mobile phone buzzer)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay. Yes, I can definitely hear that one. Will.

 

Will Plummer:

(Plays bell)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Excellent. Right. Okay, so we have a stylophone, we have a mobile phone buzzer and we have a bell people. So thank you. Let's see how this goes. We have five questions. Let's see how many of you get the a get answers and we'll tally them up at the end.

 

Ryan Haynes:

And so, are you ready? The first question is an attraction question. Cadbury's World in Birmingham is marking a very special anniversary this year, but what number birthday is it?

 

James Clarke:

(Plays stylophone)

 

Ryan Haynes:

James?

 

James Clarke:

Shot in the dark a hundred years.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Ooh, no

 

Claire Steiner:

(Plays mobile phone buzzer) I was going to say 150.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay. And Will?

 

Will Plummer:

250.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Oh, okay. That's a draw there between Claire and Will. It's 200 years.

 

Claire Steiner:

Oh wow.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Right. Okay. Now a history question. In what year was TripAdvisor founded?

 

Will Plummer:

(Plays bell)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Will?

 

Will Plummer:

1996?

 

Ryan Haynes:

No,

 

James Clarke:

(Plays stylophone)

 

Ryan Haynes:

James?

 

James Clarke:

I'll go for 99.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No Claire. Do you want to punt?

 

Claire Steiner:

92?

 

Ryan Haynes:

No. James, you were closest. It's a year 2000.

 

Will Plummer:

Where's, where's the Ken Bruce? One year out?

 

Claire Steiner:

We really sharing our age when we

 

Will Plummer:

Well, that's true. Yeah, exactly.

 

Ryan Haynes:

That might be copyright as well.

 

Will Plummer:

Oh yeah. Fair, fair.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay. Geography, are you ready? You should know this. As Tourism specialists, how many countries in the world currently have more than one Capital City?

 

Will Plummer:

(Plays bell)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Will?

 

Will Plummer:

Two.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No.

 

Claire Steiner:

(Plays mobile phone buzzer)

 

Ryan Haynes:

No, go on Claire.

 

Claire Steiner:

17.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No

 

James Clarke:

(Plays stylophone)

 

Ryan Haynes

(Laughs) only you can see what James is doing here on the podcast. It's just not possible. James. Yeah,

 

James Clarke:

I'm going to try to go with five.

 

Ryan Haynes:

No, the closest was Claire, but the answer is 13 and there's three in Europe, Georgia, Montenegro and the Netherlands.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Okay, well done. Claire, you are just about in the lead there. Okay, destination question. How many tourists did Jill say, does Cumbria host annually, Jane?

 

James Clarke:

(Plays stylophone)

 

Claire Steiner:

(Plays mobile phone buzzer)

 

Ryan Haynes:

James?

 

Claire Steiner:

404

 

James Clarke:

40 million was it?

 

Ryan Haynes:

Yes. Over 40 million. Well done for paying attention. Claire, I think you're about to say 400 something. Weren't you?

 

Claire Steiner:

I was, I got it wrong. I was thinking of the population, not the, yeah, I remember the four.

 

Ryan Haynes:

So, Claire and James are now head-to-head with two points and will with one. Let's see what happens now. An airline question. Which plane model was recently grounded in the USA

 

Will Plummer:

(Plays bell)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Will?

 

Will Plummer:

737. Max nine.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Oh my god. That's amazing. Well done. You are now. You are now equal. So two points for each bonus question. Which airline experienced a panel blowing off mid-flight?

 

Will Plummer:

(Plays bell)

 

Claire Steiner:

(Plays mobile phone buzzer)

 

Ryan Haynes:

Will?

 

Will Plummer:

Oh well Alaska Airlines.


Ryan Haynes:

Okay, Will, well done. You won with a bonus point. Congratulations. I don't have a round of applause sound, but if I did it would be rupturing right now. Well done.

 

Will Plummer:

What? What a comeback. What a comeback.

 

Ryan Haynes:

Wasn't it just, yeah. So obviously someone pays attention to the news. Well done. Okay, so I'd like to thank my panellists. We've got Claire, Steiner Will Plummer and James Clarke who've been joining us today to really delve into some of the industry issues for January's edition of the Travel Monthly Review Show. Thank you ever so much guys.

 

Will Plummer:

Thanks, Ryan, you,

 

Ryan Haynes:

Thanks for listening. You can join more of our podcasts through any of your podcast channels, whether that's Spotify, apple, or Visa, or any other channel through Travel, Market, Life and LinkedIn. Please subscribe or join our newsletter

8 views0 comments

Kommentit


bottom of page