VisitWiltshire has been measuring the impact and recovery of local businesses through surveying.
A wide range of business were researched, from Stonehenge and major National Trust sites to small B&Bs, cookery schools, ground operators, guides, activity providers, large hotels, retail, small attractions, arts venues, self-catering, luxury hotels, pubs and restaurants.
The main findings include:
- Many Rural campsites and glamping are booking well for July & August with little capacity remaining in some cases. Self catering cottages and some other accommodation in rural locations with clear ability to allow distancing are reporting good levels of business and are much more upbeat about August prospects than they were two weeks ago. Hotels and even self catering apartments in larger urban areas are very concerned about bookings – reflecting national sentiment work that indicates rural areas are likely to perform better initially.
- Of the Wiltshire tourism businesses opening last weekend, only 40% say they can do so on a profitable basis. Given the main summer season is upon us this is a real concern in terms of longer-term sustainability of many Wiltshire tourism businesses. Many businesses continue to stress the need for Government to publish details of a longer term support package for the sector and Visit Wiltshire continue to lobby on there behalf.
- Despite the reported pent-up demand, and visitors now being able to book, 75% of businesses are reporting below average forward bookings this week compared with last year.
- There are a wide range of reasons for a wide range of businesses not being able to re-open profitably. These include significantly reduced capacity (many operating at only 20%-40%), lack of forward bookings, cost of adaptation, no business tourism, no international visitors, no group bookings (large or small), some nearby attractions not opening yet, and insufficient domestic marketing campaign activity to help stimulate demand.
- Businesses are mostly reporting that there’s enough Government guidance coming through.
In other research conducted by VisitWiltshire:
- Its overall web traffic has recovered from being 74% down in April, 54% down in May and now 37% in June.
- Local residents were the main users of the visitsalisbury.co.uk site in May, but Londoners were the main users in June. This is in-line with national sentiment research that shows that people in London are looking at taking trips again (albeit with a four-month average lead time).
- Traffic has completely recovered on some sections of its site and some areas were actually up year-on-year in June, helped considerably by its ‘Don’t Follow The Herd’ digital campaign. Things to do, plan your visit, explore & the blog are all around about (or above) where they were this time last year in terms of traffic.
- Most of the traffic missing is from the "What's on" section which is still around 80% below where it was this time last year. This is understandable as there is significantly less relevant content in this section at the moment.
- Food and Drink is down 71% still and Accommodation 47%. However, Accommodation has seen a big jump from where it was in May so VisitWiltshire is expecting it will recover further.