The third national lockdown has forced holiday park closures across the country. The hospitality sector is once again gearing up for prolonged periods of uncertainty. In order to prepare for the potentially bumpy ride that lies ahead we now have the ability to reflect on 2020. We can use this experience to better shape our holiday park digital marketing strategy.
The implications of the pandemic are causing many disruptions as businesses navigate lockdowns to continue trading effectively. However, holiday parks have good reason to maintain a positive outlook as many reported a record booking surge in 2020. Staycations look likely to continue to grow in popularity when lockdown restrictions are lifted in 2021.
As a Dorset digital agency working closely with a number of holiday park clients we observed and shared the highs and lows. Analysis of this insight has enabled us to identify the approaches that were the most effective. As well as highlight areas that didn’t work so well. By reviewing lessons learnt in 2020, we can better prepare our business needs in 2021.
Challenges for holiday parks in 2020
2020 presented many unforeseen challenges right across the holiday park industry. Many parts of the sector came together to lobby the Government and join forces on social media campaigns. Working closely with The British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) we supported the industry developments every step of the journey.
A timeline of events:
- 6th April – The Lobby begins. Don’t Cancel, Postpone, Protect Tourism Jobs, Save Tourism campaigns
- 1st May – Support for seasonal businesses introduced
- 20th May – Calls to Government for phased-reopening
- 24th May – Caravan park industry supply chains at risk
- 4th June – The Lobby continues
- 23rd June – Joy an relief – tourism to open up soon
- 1st July – Open for business
- 4th July – Covid-safe measures put in place
- Summer Staycation boom and holiday home sales got through the roof
- 11th – September – Visit England – Escape the Everyday campaign launched
- 12th October – New Tiers announced
- 20th October – Lockdown 2.0 in Wales
- 31st October – Lockdown 2.0 England
- 9th November – Covid Vaccine announced
- 8th December- First Pfizer jab
- 31st December – Brexit agreed – hope for England
2020 is worthy of review as all the events of the year act as a reminder of what an industry did achieve, and will continue to do so by working together.
What lessons did we learn?
The upward trend of interest in staycations has been steadily growing year-on-year. In 2020 this took an even more dramatic increase, which you can see in this Google Trends search term graph.
When analysing the data over a wider time period, the impact of 2020’s growth can be seen much more evidently.
With further limitations on overseas travel eating well into 2021, the continued appetite for UK-based camping and caravan holidays looks set to drive forwards even further.
Are you prepared for the continued demand for staycations? See our SEO advice on gearing your digital focus towards staycations. It’s also important to make the necessary preparations for dealing with the surge in bookings with our post lockdown website relaunch checklist.
Customer trends in 2021
Strong demand for caravan holiday parks is expected to grow in 2021 as interest continues towards domestic holidays. With this there will be new customer profiles and a new generation of owners. This means that the digital channels used to carry out research for staycations is being used by a different audience to place bookings.
Customer trends in 2021 look set to include the following:
- Reduced budgets for holidays with expectation for incentives and savings
- Reduced on-park spend
- Frequent travellers are likely to be travelling even more
- More short breaks, to local destinations
- Shorter lead-in times to booking
- A greater perception of risks involved in decided to travel
- Above all customers want flexibility with bookings and to avoid losses from trips
Effective digital strategy in 2021
Communication is key. Holiday parks who are sending regular updates via email and social media are keeping customers clearly in the picture of events unfold. Other factors to consider will be:
- Consumer behaviour will remain unpredictable so analyse trends to stay ahead
- Health, sanitisation practices and flexible bookings will remain a top priority in the mind of consumers
- Digital adoption will continue to accelerate
- Self-service and e-commerce will be core for hospitality businesses in the future
- Contactless digital support through the device of their choice
Has your holiday park reached out into app technology to provide enhanced digital guest experiences? Holiday park apps provide the ability to easily update information across all platforms and at every stage of the journey. Guests can receive updates before, during and after their stay and receive push notifications in real time. We worked with Beverley Holidays to deliver a digital platform for their Devon holiday park.
Holiday park digital marketing tips
- Regular email campaigns to update subscribers with latest park news and provide reassurance.
- Use social media channels to provide updates and effective communication with customers.
- Update Google My Business page with key business information and opening times.
- Run low-cost paid ad campaigns to ensure a pipeline of future bookings are fulfilled.
- Maintain a long-term content and SEO strategy to add value to your website long after the pandemic.
- Use contactless and app technology in hospitality to streamline services.
If you’d like any advice about effective digital marketing strategy for your holiday park get in touch with our team of experts today.