Italians have been won over by Open-air holidays
This is confirmed by the data of the fourth edition of the Outdoor Tourism Observatory, created by Human Company in collaboration with The Data Appeal Company.
• 70.5% of Italians chose the outdoor sector in 2020
• +26.6% estimated growth in Italian holidaymakers compared to 2019
• +6% occupancy rate compared to the Italian accommodation offer
• Covid Safety Index: 85/100 average score for trust in the outdoor sector
• Calabria has the highest trust rating (96 points)
• Foreign markets: Switzerland (-0.6%), the Netherlands (-1.2%) and Germany (-1.4%)
• The target: families are growing (+5.7%)
• 83.9% of reviews are positive
• 70.5% of Italians (+26.6% compared to 2019), an employment rate of +6 percentage points compared to the Italian accommodation offer and a trust index of 85 points out of 100 in the services offered by open-air facilities: these are the positive trends in the open-air sector recorded by the fourth edition of the Outdoor Tourism Observatory by Human Company, the leading Florentine group in Italy in open-air hospitality, in collaboration with The Data Appeal Company, a company specialising in data science and artificial intelligence.
The results of an analysis of approximately 2,000 facilities in Italy (18.5% villages and 81.5% campsites) for a total of over 130,000 online entries (i.e. reviews, opinions, comments, and scores) collected from 1 January to 31 August 2020 and 226,000 offers on the main online travel agencies (Booking.com, Expedia, Google, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, etc.) by 1,918 outdoor accommodation facilities from 22 June to 20 September 2020, the report was created with the aim of taking stock of open-air facilities in the first season of co-existence with the Coronavirus. A situation that, despite the serious difficulties that have afflicted the tourism industry worldwide, confirms the growth recorded in recent years by the outdoor hospitality sector in Italy, which, this year, thanks to the desire to return to travel in a more conscious and safe way, and the rediscovery of tourism in close proximity and contact with nature, has led an increasing number of Italians to choose the outdoors as a valid alternative for safe and high-quality "made in Italy" holidays.
Demand for the outdoors sector
Starting from the very strong correlation between accommodation content and tourist flows and the monitoring of outdoor accommodation on OTAs, the data collected and analysed made it possible to outline an initial Covid-19 impact assessment on the Italian outdoor sector.
In general, the summer of accommodation in Italy has witnessed the disappearance of one tourist in two, mainly due to the impact on the city of art, which is weighed down by the absence of long-distance visitors and the lack of trust of all the others. This is due to cities having been the prime location for the transmission of a virus which thrives in urban agglomerations. In this context, the outdoor sector has managed to contain its summer losses, recording a much more limited downturn, confirming the trend: that is, that demand, mainly domestic, has a much better response in the outdoor offer than other types of accommodation (hotels, b&b, short rentals, farm holidays, etc.).
While the average price is in line with the rest of the accommodations (125 euros per person), in the case of outdoor hospitality the occupancy rate increases, 6 percentage points higher (19.8%), confirming a higher than average preference for the outdoors. Furthermore, the analysis of the surveys under date indicates a high share of unsold holidays, which only resulted in sales very close to the starting point and tended to be at the lowest price offered on OTAs. The only exception was Ferragosto, in line with what has been recorded for the entire Italian hospitality industry.
As far as the origin of guests is concerned, there has been a complete transformation of the reference markets: while there has been a great expansion in domestic tourism from 43.9% in 2019 to a more substantial 70.5%, marking a growth of 26.6%, foreign markets all exhibited a negative trend. Among Europeans, only Swiss (-0.6%), Dutch (-1.2%) and German (-1.4%) indicated the lowest declines. The most significant losses came from France (-2.6%) and Poland (-2.5%).
There was a significant increase in the proportion of families, which rose 5.7% from 61.7% to 67.4%, while all the others showed a decrease: 20.6% couples (-3.5%), 9.9% friends/groups (-1.4%), and 1.6% singles (-0.8%).
Covid Safety Index
Owned by The Data Appeal Company, the Covid Safety Index (CSI) is an index capable of detecting and analysing users' perception of the level of safety and anti-Covid initiatives offered by destinations, attractions, accommodation and catering activities, measuring their level of trust and confidence. The weekly survey carried out from February to 4 October shows that the average level of trust in the outdoors is higher (85 points out of 100) compared to the rest of the accommodation offer (73.7 points out of 100), especially in the height of the summer season.
Content and Sentiment
Through its investigation of the digital presence of the outdoor offer, the Observatory found a higher amount of online content per facility (68) than the average Italian accommodation (51), identifying this sector as one of those that contribute the most to the reputation of a destination. Sentiment, or the index that summarises the degree of satisfaction expressed by visitors, is good, standing at 83.9 points out of 100, particularly thanks to campsites which register a stronger degree of sentiment (84.2 points) than villages (82.8 points).
Reading the content allows to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the outdoor tourism offer, as perceived and experienced by its guests. Among the most frequently mentioned topics are the atmosphere, reception, services, cleanliness and safety. The latter theme has seen a significant increase with a consequent response from operators who have implemented a series of measures and protocols to guarantee the health and hygiene of common areas and accommodation.
The regional breakdown by the Observatory gives the opportunity to compare the trends of individual local businesses in order to highlight regional differences in terms of their weight on the Italian outdoor sector and their relative popularity. According to the data collected, the most relevant proportions of content are concentrated in Veneto (21.4%) and Tuscany (20.3%). Valle d'Aosta has the highest levels of satisfaction (89.5 points), followed by Trentino (88.7 points) and Alto Adige (88 points). Basilicata is the region with the highest variation compared to the same period in 2019, bringing the satisfaction index to 82 points (+ 4.3%).
Widening the range of the Covid Safety Index to all the different regional surveys, the survey showed that the national average expresses very diversified trust trends at the local level, with an average range of almost 20 points reaching 40 during the lockdown: Calabria records the highest average (96.4 points), while Lombardy, notoriously the heart of the Italian epidemic, also records the lowest trust values (77.7 points).