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Beyonk Market Insights: September 2022 | Beyonk Blog
Welcome to Beyonk’s September Market Insights where we share the current state of the UK experiences sector based on the access we have to live and direct booking data.
Welcome to ‘Beyonk Market Insights’, where we share the current state of the UK experiences sector based on the access we have to live and direct booking data.
At Beyonk Group, we’re in a unique position to provide an overview of the UK’s Experience Sector, spanning tourism and leisure and all the bookable ‘things to do’ within that. Beyonk Group powers over 1,000,000 bookable time slots in the UK experiences sector each quarter. This sector covers everything from activities, attractions, events, festivals and tours.
This is just part of the fresh data, insights and support we provide our customers with, so they know how the industry at large is performing, as well as their specific sector which allows our clients to make changes to their business operations, sales and marketing strategies now, rather than waiting for annual or quarterly insights.
Who is Beyonk Group?
Beyonk Group makes it easier to book experiences online, providing booking platforms and marketplaces to power experiences globally, but with a deep focus in the UK market with over 1,000,000 events each quarter powered by Beyonk Group Products - Beyonk and BookingHound. For experience providers, Beyonk provides industry-leading booking systems to maximise revenue, minimise admin and delight end customers.
What is the sample made up of?
Beyonk powers millions of event instances i.e. scheduled timeslots for the following sub-segments of the experiences sector: Attractions, Activities, Festivals, Events, Tours.
Direct bookings data is used looking at all operators using Beyonk Group products who were operating in the previous period in question (e.g. month or year) and comparing the trends for given time periods. Significant anomalies that can skew the results are removed. This data is provided to be used as a general guide. This data limits our analysis to online and in-person bookings only.
Beyonk’s technology is being constantly optimised, which is increasing gross revenue for providers. Where possible and identifiable, this data has been removed to give a view on the market, rather than a view on Beyonk’s ability to increase average gross revenue for businesses.
We do not have data on experience businesses that do not offer online bookings, and we do not have data on each business’s marketing spend, employment, sustainability, funding, and other internal business information which is displayed in the annual Visit Britain reports. Whilst we aim to display information in a clear and concise manner, Beyonk Group cannot accept any liability for misunderstanding or misrepresentation.
As time goes on, we will publish data for specific niches that we have a statistically significant dataset for that is representative of the population.
How representative is this sample?
Tools such as Check Market and Sample Size Calculator highlight the Beyonk data set exceeds the minimum number of necessary samples to have a 95% confidence level that data is representative of the full population of the UK experiences sector.
However, there are limitations when aiming to assess regional or sub-sector segments (activities vs. festivals vs. attractions), which is why we do not represent this data until we have sufficient data to have a representative sample. Equally, there are limitations when looking at specific business types.
Beyonk Group powers predominantly festivals, activities, tours and attractions with under 100,000 visitors each. For larger attractions with over 150,000 annual visitors, this data set may not be useful.
Why publish this data?
Beyonk already calculates this data internally to understand the state of the market to inform how much of our business performance is related to market conditions versus internal growth projects.
We share this data with the experience businesses using our software and the destination management organisations we provide marketplaces and other partners we provide marketplace software to.
All with the goal of helping the experiences sector gain context and industry knowledge, creating context for their own organisations and trade bodies to benchmark their own performance.
What will future reports cover?
Future reports intend to provide a break-down across the following categories:
Experience provider type:
Leisure/ Theme Parks
Museum / Art Galleries
Steam / Heritage Attractions
International vs Domestic?
- England, Wales, Scotland
% of mobile bookings
Time spent booking
Channel: PoS/ Online/ Channel Manager/ Other
How cost of ticket affects the above
What other data sources are available?
Visit Britain publishes a detailed annual report on the state of the attractions market which outlines trends for the prior year. While this is very useful, it is focused on attractions only and there is a long lag between data being published to create such a detailed and useful report.
Sykes Holiday Cottages publish Staycation and Holiday Lettings Report data which provide trends for the short-term let market.
Beyonk Market Insights - UK Experiences Sector
2021 was a strong year for the market as consumers sought to get out from lockdowns and do more with their free time. This has not quite continued through to 2022, as the market is down 25% from 2021, potentially due to the cost of living crisis and consumer confidence at an all time low since records began.
There has been a significant price drop in September from prior months in 2022, which are a result of:
- Out of season price drop as a way to encourage visitors.
- Bookings relate to seasonal events such as pumpkin picking and bonfire nights, which are typically cheaper than peak season attractions and experiences.
- Average group size remains similar - with individual visitors in the low single percent, couples reducing from 23% mid-season to 15% of total, and family & group bookings remaining the large majority of bookings.
Timing of Bookings and Arrival
The time between a customer making a booking and arriving on site was at 25 days vs the prior month of just 5 days, driven by ticket sales for Christmas events and school pre-bookings for the future year.
There has been a long-term upwards trend for ‘out of office’ bookings i.e. bookings being made outside the hours of 9am - 5pm. In September this continued with 48% of bookings being made outside of office hours, up 2% from the prior month. The month on month increase is due to more people being back at work after the school holidays and simply having more time to make purchasing decisions in the early morning or evening.
The most popular time to book is 9am. The majority of bookings are made from 8am to 11am (35%), and after the business day has finished, 5pm - 8pm (23%). This is why it’s important to ensure your business has an online booking system available such as Beyonk, as you are likely to be missing out on potential sales opportunities by not having an accessible online solution.
In September, there has been a slight drop for bookings made in the morning (-5%), and an increase during after work hours (+4%). This aligns to the data point where bookings are being made further in advance, where last minute bookings can be made on the day, in the morning pre-arrival.
The most popular arrival time booked is for 10am with 19% of visitors booked to arrive at this time.
There was a 2% increase of those booking using desktop, vs mobile. This is due to booking earlier in advance. However, mobile bookings still accounted for 80% of bookings. Taking this into account, you need to ensure your booking system is fully responsive on mobile as a bad booking journey on the most popular device will directly affect your ability to convert customers. That’s where Beyonk can help. Our system has proven to be up to 70% faster than our biggest competitors and that’s because it was built mobile-first.
Whilst domestic visitor numbers still make up the majority of visitors, with over 90% of visitors being Brits, in September international visitors made up a slightly increased portion, with the US and Europe leading the way in booking online. As expected, international visitors make up a much larger percentage of total visitors in urban vs rural, especially in London.
The increase of international visitors as a proportion of all visitors is due to:
- The fall in value of the pound against other currencies making it cheaper for international visitors to travel to the UK.
- School holidays coming to an end, and reducing the proportion of domestic vs. all round international travellers.
- There is a silver lining on the state of the market in that refunds are at all time low since the covid pandemic, at 0.9% of total payment volume being refunded.
- The trend with ‘up-sells’ has remained largely similar throughout the year. Only 24% of businesses offer add-ons i.e. up-sells at point of purchasing tickets. 18% of customers opt to include an add-on during the point of purchasing tickets. Businesses generate 25% more revenue per booking when add-ons are purchased.
- The most popular add-ons include: equipment, food and drink, donations, enhanced packages, souvenirs and guidebooks. Don’t forget you can load these onto Beyonk to bolster your average order value.
Lessons for Experience Providers
The market is not performing as well as the surge in 2021. Take a look at some of our pricing strategies, and information on how to reduce costs, and what you can do to maximise revenue:
- Ensure you have all availability uploaded as bookings are being made further in advance.
- Ensure you’re selling vouchers as people are starting to plan for Christmas.
- Prices have dropped, take a look at your competitors prices and check your offering still remains strong for the winter months. Remember though, pricing isn’t everything, and there are lots of ways to price in a smart way, and add to the perceived value of your offering.
- Bookings for ‘couples’ have dropped across the board, whilst groups of 3 and 4 remain the most popular.
- Ensure your website and booking system is optimised for mobile as over 80% of bookings were made through this method.
- Out of office bookings are increasing. Having online booking is essential to cater for the growing segment of customers wanting the flexibility and convenience of booking when it suits them. The more of your offering you can make bookable and the more availability you can show, the greater the sales conversion you will receive.
- If you aren’t offering the ability to purchase add-ons whilst selling tickets, you could have an opportunity cost of 30% per booking. Can you sell merchandise, food and drink, transport or any other add-ons to your audience? The data suggests it’s worth a try.
- Visitors continued to book most of all in the morning, but in September, there was growth for end of day bookings after office hours. This is a great time to focus social media and advertising spend to attract customers when they are more likely to book. Having someone on hand to help answer any pre-booking questions will help to lock in visitor commitment. Equally, so will having an optimised booking journey on your website that helps high intent visitors book.
Are you looking for some guidance on how to navigate through these challenges? Schedule a free demo with our specialist team for more information on how we can help you achieve your goals.