James Berzins, Managing Director of TXGB on the challenge facing UK tourism in 2021
2021 promises to be another challenging year. A year we started in lockdown, but a year that the UK tourism sector has an opportunity to build back better. Destinations will play a huge role in this, here’s why...
Listening to the news it’s clear the thing we all crave is certainty. Uncertainty about the fundamentals in life preoccupies our brain. When will the schools open? When can I see my Nan? Will we be able to go to the pub for my birthday? Things we took for granted have become the things we dream about. So what effect will this have on the things we used to dream about?
This is the challenge for tourism. Opening a door that has been closed for so long. Rebooting a sales cycle that has always been complex, now with the added challenge of accelerated digital transformation and disruption to consumer confidence. It’s easy to see how this could be Pandora's Box.
Destinations, suppliers and resellers need to work together to drive and control recovery. The pandemic has triggered the rapid evolution of user needs and technology adoption, so pre-pandemic business mindsets will be challenged. Destination organisations will face this challenge too. As soon as we are told when we can go on holiday, the next question will be where.
At this point I think consumers will mobilise quickly, so destinations need to put themselves on the map and be ready. Both they and their local businesses need to be fully digitally enabled, with campaigns linked to bookable products. There will be a frantic herd of online researchers combing through pages of websites, instagram posts and reviews. A flood of excitement.
Anywhere won’t do.
The Bank of England described our economy as a “coiled spring”. No sector feels this more than tourism. That energy will release and go somewhere. Smart and connected destinations will attract new consumers, relatively near to their market, who are ready to make memories and find something new in the UK. We must focus on connecting participants in the market, so they can collaborate on recovery at a local level. Ensuring bookable content is consistent across all channels, in real time. To help connect every corner of everywhere in the UK. We will all be looking for our next destination as restrictions ease, but where will that be? I wonder...
When I’m done wondering, I’ll go online and figure it out.
James is the Managing Director of TXGB - a digital marketplace that acts as a central exchange linking up booking systems for accommodation and attraction providers across the UK. It integrates seamlessly with all DestinationCore products.