As staycation popularity remains high, UK coach operator National Express is launching ‘National Express Leisure’ to meet the needs of budget travellers in the domestic market.

As confidence starts to grow within the UK’s domestic travel industry, demand for budget holidays in the UK is growing and the timing of National Express Leisure could not be better. The launch will see the unification of two local coach providers within the National Express Group, Lucketts and Woods Coaches. The move provides customers with more accessibility and choice across an ever-growing network of routes and destinations. Customers now can tailor-make dynamic packages or select from a range of pre-packaged deals.

It is welcoming news for cash-strapped consumers

The new offering from National Express is a welcome one, especially for those looking for cheaper domestic holidays. Domestic tourism in the UK is recovering strongly, with some holiday providers reaching capacity during the 2021 summer season. However, supply and demand in summer 2021 have influenced significant price hikes, isolating budget-conscious travellers. Many travellers are feeling the pinch of the pandemic, especially with the UK Government’s job support schemes coming to an end. According to the GlobalData Q2 2021 consumer survey, 34% of UK respondents said they were either ‘extremely’ or ‘slightly’ concerned about their financial situation, highlighting the need for more budget options for travel and drive more custom to National Express.

The move gives National Express more influence within the UK holiday market. By merging several operators under the National Express brand, it will provide greater leverage in the market and negotiate better rates at hotels, attractions and resorts, where it can then pass savings onto the traveller. Furthermore, it provides the coach company with the opportunity to benefit from economies of scale over smaller independent agencies increasing its margins. With more control over the supply chain, it can offer more competitive prices and stay in control of operating costs.

The launch of a dedicated National Express Leisure brand could increase competition in the market. According to the companies January 2021 press release, the National Express holiday arm had seen a 185% increase in bookings on pre-Covid levels. Grey pound spenders (tourists over the age of 65) have led the strong booking increase and National Express Leisure will look to build on this. After reviewing the UK market, coach travel certainly won’t be for everyone. However, the coach operators’ network and low price point make holidays accessible for those with low incomes looking for an in one, and who may not have access to a car.

Travel is currently not as accessibly for over 65s and budget travellers

This year has been tough on the UK traveller, with domestic holidays prices skyrocketing during a time of significant financial burden. Unfortunately, travel has become unaffordable for some and the hassle of international travel is unattractive to those over 65 in particular. National Express Leisure’s entry into the market will ensure coach holidays remain an affordable and accessible way to travel around the UK.

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