​England’s Seaside: What are the opportunities?

​England’s Seaside: What are the opportunities?

VisitEngland’s 2012 report, England’s Seaside: What are the opportunities? squeezes eight of the national tourist board’s primary research findings into one manageable paper, expressly addressing issues affecting coastal resorts.

What makes seaside different from other holiday destinations?

Overnight domestic trips to the coast accounted for 31% (14.4m) of the total domestic holiday trips in 2012. Almost half take place between July and September.

The South West attracts 40% of all domestic seaside trips involving an overnight stay.

Seaside trip characteristics:

  • 47% include children
  • Often taken by lower social grades, 42% made by C2Des
  • Involve longer stays, 62% four nights or more

Emerging trends in overnight coastal trips

Overnight coastal trips rocketed by a quarter in 2009 but are now slowing down

  • Online booking of coastal trips continues to rise
  • Lower social grades make the most overnight seaside trips, but trips by higher socio-economic groups are growing
  • Overnight seaside trips are booked for longer than trips overall and are still typically booked for four nights+

What are the attitudes of the public and business?

Consumers tend to split coastal destinations into three themes:

  • Traditional seaside towns: much maligned
  • English coastaline: visually appealing but confusion over activities and destinations
  • Seaside towns and nearby coast: a good base from which to explore

Perceptions vary by life stage

  • Pre-family: little awareness of coastal destinations beyond the South West
  • Family: Open to less traditional towns if there are activities
  • Empty Nesters: seek rural escape, a base to explore from
  • Overall, seaside destinations are perceived as low cost, but offering good value for money with deals and discounts on offer. A break to the coast is seen as more than simply the beach – a place to relax ( 38%), to sightsee on foot (38%), to go for a walk (30%)
  • Businesses believe they attract visitors by investing in their product.

What are the trends affecting us all?

There is strong evidence that coastal businesses with the ability and confidence to invest are reaping the rewards

Exploiting the digital revolution is key:

  • Online booking facilities are essential
  • Information via mobile devices is now the norm
  • Google is often the first port of call

Society is changing:

  • We have an ageing population which is staying active for longer
  • Extended families and singles’ travel is growing
  • Generation Y travellers expect a personal, tailored experience and book late

To read the full report, click here