Resigned to staycations, a large number of home-bound Irish holidaymakers are still undecided as to where in Ireland they will go.

Up to 80pc of Irish holidaymakers plan to travel within Ireland in 2020, according to new data from email marketing and survey platform SensorPro.

However, of these, 44pc are undecided about where they are going.

“Weekend breaks will not be enough to support Irish hotels, we need demand from Monday to Sunday, although the percentage of people looking to holiday in Ireland this year is encouraging”

The news should be welcome to the tourism industry which has been largely decimated by the Covid-19 lockdown. Earlier this week the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC) called for state agency Fáilte Ireland to be given €1bn next month by the new Government to disburse to struggling businesses in grants in order to stave off insolvencies. ITIC has also called for a further €500m in liquidity loans and other supports.

Where Irish holidaymakers plan to staycation

Heatmap of where Irish people plan to holiday with Kerry in the lead.

The SensorPro research offered a glimpse at where Irish holidaymakers are likely to go this year. Of those that are decided Kerry (20pc) tops the chart followed by Galway (10pc), Cork (9pc), Clare (7.5pc) and Donegal (6.7pc).

SensorPro founder Chris Byrne told ThinkBusiness that the results indicate that there is a trend amongst consumers to be less risk averse if they are first to book a package at a hotel or guest house.

Airbnb bookings account for just 10pc of plans because consumers are shy about paying up front while luxury hotels/resorts are the top choice at 41pc. These are followed by seaside breaks (28.8pc), self-catering (24.2pc), camping (4.9) and B&Bs (7.2pc)

Dubliners, the study has found, are more likely to opt for luxury hotels and resorts.

“Hotels need to address the concerns made by guests in the survey, especially the comments. It’s not enough to say ‘we are open’ but also address these concerns in messaging and show evidence at the property,” said Byrne.

“The 44pc undecided is a clear call that hotels have work to do in terms of getting the word out. Our analysis of where guests plan to travel may help with this.”

The age profile of those booking is 50pc over 50s, which Byrne says contradicts anecdotal reports that the age profile is younger.

“The big surprises were that 44pc were undecided on a staycation location, that city breaks were up while Airbnb was down. Guests are planning multiple breaks.”

Reviving Irish tourism

Man with glasses wearing a blue suit.

Gerardo Larios Rizo, head of Hospitality Sector, Business Banking at Bank of Ireland

But will the penchant for staycations be enough to revive the Irish tourism sector?

“Those planning to travel abroad is low, so it will help. This is the first barometer series we will run with hotels over the year so the next few surveys will be telling. Anecotally, I live in Dingle and the word from accommodation providers is that if they had 5X capacity they would fill it.”

75pc of holidaymakers say they plan to visit restaurants for their meals while 60pc are unlikely to order room service. 75pc of holidaymakers say they plan to visit the bar.

81pc of holidaymakers say they will feel more comfortable when considering accommodation f there is reassurance that a health and safety programme is in place. 52pc will feel comfortable if there is reassurance from Government that it is safe to travel. 21pc will feel comfortable with their own PPE equipment and 9pc are prepared to travel without any reassurancs.

More than 62pc of under 30-year-olds will accept reassurance from the Government that it is safe to travel after restrictions are lifted. This falls to 52pc for 30 to 50-year-olds and to 51pc for over 50s.

Bank of Ireland’s head of Hospitality Sector Gerardo Larios Rizo told ThinkBusiness that there needs to be more demand for the tourism sector to recover.

“Expectations for the domestic market are very high but so far new bookings are nothing to write home about particularly as they are still being offset by cancellations. It’s still early days and perhaps lead in times for bookings have decreased (prevalence of last minute bookings) as it happened during the last recession.

“Fáilte Ireland has been reporting similar trend with people interested in travel but hesitant because of health and safety concerns which are also prominent on this piece of research.

“Weekend breaks will not be enough to support Irish hotels, we need demand from Monday to Sunday, although the percentage of people looking to holiday in Ireland this year is encouraging,” Larios Rizo said.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 2 July, 2020

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