For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel's team of global category analysts.

As the government eases some of its lockdown restrictions in England from 4th July, our Senior Travel and Senior Foodservice analysts examine what short, medium and long-term impacts they expect in the travel and foodservice industries respectively.  

Senior Travel Analyst Marloes de Vries: What will happen to tourism?

Short term: More staycations in rural areas

Holidays are in the top three activities consumers are most looking forward to doing once the current social distancing measures are relaxed. As a result, many consumers will be eager to get away from the 4th of July 2020. However, consumers’ concerns about their economic situation and their own/family’s physical wellbeing will significantly restrict the speed of the recovery. As seen during the 2008/09 financial crash, more consumers will opt to cut back on holidays, stay closer to home or choose lower-cost options. Meanwhile, consumers’ wariness of being in busy places will fuel demand for rural and remote destinations and self-drive holidays. 

The Lake District is a popular staycation destination

Source: Visit Britain 

Medium term: Acceleration of the wellness trend

Prior to COVID-19, Mintel had identified wellness and responsible tourism as one of the trends to have a big impact on the travel industry over the next decade. COVID-19 will accelerate demand for wellness travel as consumers’ health has become a bigger priority. Dedicated holidays centred around wellness activities or a holiday that incorporates a wellness element can help people to recover from the stress caused by COVID-19. 

Spas could get a boost because of the wellness trend 

Source: GTMOOC

Meanwhile, ethical concerns will take a temporary backseat as the vast majority of consumers will prioritise value in economic challenging times, as well as their safety and security. Once overseas travel eventually bounces back and the impact of travelling on the environment will start to be witnessed again, concern about the environment will re-emerge. Brands with a strong ethical reputation will regain a competitive advantage.

Long term: the rise of ‘working holidays’

Once the outbreak has fully cleared consumers will prioritise experiences again, with holidays being among the most desired activities. Consumers are resorting to more online activities as a result of COVID-19, especially when it comes to communicating with others. Some of this behaviour is likely to stick even once COVID-19 has cleared, paving the way for more video conferencing opportunities between consumers and businesses. We will also see the introduction of more ‘working holidays’ as employers show greater flexibility on working locations, giving more people the opportunity to travel further afield.

Working at the beach could be a possibility in the future

Source: Backpacker South East Asia

Senior Foodservice Analyst Trish Caddy: What will happen to the restaurant trade? 

Short term: communicate safety measures

Although restrictions are being eased, the virus is still present – so it’s important to address diners’ concern about catching COVID-19 from restaurants. This could include inviting diners to scan a QR code with their smartphones to access the menu and place orders without having to go up to a counter or to order through a waiter. 

Customers cay directly to any merchant on their phone using the PayPal app

Source: PayPal

Floor and table markings to guide diners can also help maintain safe distancing. Most importantly, restaurants must practice good hygiene by regularly washing hands and disinfecting surfaces. Brand communication needs to focus on keeping diners informed about all of the safety measures taken to keep employees, diners and venues safe.

Violet is an ultraviolet light robot that kills viruses, bacteria and harmful germs, by Irish start-up Akara Robotics

Source: Akara

Medium term: focus on making up for lost earnings

Restaurants will take in far less covers than previous levels to maintain safe distancing, compared to pre-COVID-19 packed restaurants. So it’s important for them to continue offering takeaway or delivery options to boost their earnings, in the medium term. One way to make up for the loss of earnings is to increase menu prices by enhancing dining experiences and making it extra special and worth paying more for. Meanwhile, affordable delivery options that feature a simplified menu (such as with less ingredients, simpler recipes) will expand restaurants’ customer base. This will help to include those who wouldn’t normally visit because it was too expensive before but now it’s affordable as a special delivery treat.

 The Davies and Brook “To-Go” fried chicken meal deal, £35

Source: @daviesandbrook Instagram

Long term: restaurants shouldn’t completely wind down their delivery options

In the longer term, restaurants will eventually wrap up their “at-home” offerings (i.e. full menu delivery experience) to focus on resuming dine-in services. However, as people get used to ordering takeaway and home delivery, it would be wise for restaurants to continue offering these services as a more pared down concept. For example, they can sell a range of sandwiches and some meal kits (i.e. ingredient boxes with recipe cards for people to cook at home) online. 

The Dishoom Bacon Naan Roll Kit

Source: Dishoom