Green multiplies reservations, and outbreaks trigger cancellations

Marketing 02/07/2021

And finally, the light turned... green! Today, July 2nd, marks a week since the Boris Johnson government announced the advancement of the Balearic Islands from amber to green on its popular and controversial health traffic light.

If the criteria for this sudden change of opinion are exclusively health-related, it's something we may never know. However, everything seems to indicate that the ministries involved in this change of course have somehow yielded to pressures and dissatisfaction, both from their citizens and the Association of British Travel Agents, regarding the strict safety and prevention protocols imposed on those who, against recommendations, decide to visit a destination classified as "not safe". In any case, we didn't want to miss the opportunity to analyze the impact of a decision of this magnitude.

As of today, the Balearic Islands are the only national territory authorized to receive British tourists free from quarantine. This situation has sparked mixed feelings because, while it is a significant step for the Spanish tourism sector, opening the door wide to one of our main source markets, other regions had also speculated about the possibility of finally being included in the list of safe destinations and did not see their expectations fulfilled.

Our experience has taught us that the reflection in purchasing intention and reservations of decisions and institutional statements of this nature is imminent. We observed this in 2020, fully immersed in the de-escalation process (the study we published then was particularly revealing in this regard), and again in 2021 when Pedro Sánchez informed the world that Spain would open its borders to international tourism starting in July. We would have a summer!

This time has been no different. We have turned to our Business Intelligence to analyze the pace of searches and bookings from the British market for any of the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, etc.), comparing the week from June 25th to July 1st (from Friday to Thursday) with the immediately preceding one, from June 18th to 24th:

  • Searches: +148%
  • Bookings: +127%
  • Room Nights: +89%
  • Sales: +56%
  • Conversion Rate: 5.5% (unchanged between periods)

At first glance, we can see how both searches and bookings have experienced very relevant increases, resulting in almost double the room nights and a significant rise in sales. Let's delve into these data through the following graphs:
Graph 1
Graph 2

The purchase intention graphs show how a good portion of searches focus on July, some in August, and very few from September onwards, confirming the short-term trend that has been prevailing since uncertainty became part of the daily lives of travelers.

The number of unsatisfied queries, as shown in red, is almost negligible, a sign that hotels know their guests well and are prepared to receive them. Regarding the comparison between the two weeks, those peaks of increases are very evident, especially during the first days of July, a trend that continues throughout the month, as anticipated.

Graph 3
Graph 4

Regarding sales, from June 25th, the date Boris Johnson made public the news that the Balearic Islands were moving from amber to green, until July 1st, bookings increased by 127% compared to the previous week. Up to that point, everything was as expected. Just like with searches, the bulk of bookings concentrate during July. From there onwards, we can see a drastic drop as we move into August, September, October, etc.

However, the graphs reveal a concerning reality that we hadn't mentioned yet: those red bars represent cancellations. The media impact of the outbreaks in Mallorca, allegedly as a result of end-of-school-year trips and the criticized concert in the bullring, has directly affected travelers. This is where we find the justification for such a disproportionate number of cancellations, which multiply by six compared to the previous week. Unfortunately, it hasn't been the only consequence. Only five days after being categorized as a safe destination, the Balearic Islands became part of another list that is not so desirable, the so-called "Green Watch List," including destinations susceptible to being returned to the amber color.

We will have to remain very vigilant in the coming days because the future of the summer season in the Balearic Islands and the rest of the country will depend on the evolution of outbreaks like this and how health authorities manage them. The pandemic is far from over. The virus has simply changed its preferred host profile, now targeting the younger population. Therefore, we continue to appeal to prudence, not only to save tourism but also to continue keeping the situation under control and not undermine all the work and effort carried out to get to where we are.