Travel Memory Deficit: Research Reveals What Brits Miss Most About Travel and How They Plan to Make Up for Lost Time

64% said the chance to create new memories was what they most longed for

Research conducted by Hilton shows that travel creates some of our most unforgettable, favourite memories, and right now people are feeling that loss more than ever. The survey revealed what Brits miss most about travelling, with the chance to create new memories topping the list of the most longed for experiences. Almost two thirds (64%) claim this is the part of travel they yearn for the most, with Generation Z feeling the most cheated of the chance to create new travel memories in 2020 (73%).

With COVID-19 making international trips more challenging, almost three quarters (71%) of Brits said the pandemic had made them more appreciative of the importance of travel and the life-long memories created as a result. Nearly four in 10 (39%) Britons were more reflective than usual, regularly reminiscing about previous holidays and discussing where they want to go in the future.

Missing the little moments

The study also revealed Brits most longed for travel memories. A cold beverage by the pool, eating whatever you want and the moment you open the door of the hotel room for the first time featured as favourite holiday experiences. 

Six in 10 (61%) even admitted they missed the more negative elements of going on holiday. More than a fifth (21%) have longed for the early wake-up call to get to the airport, while 17% have missed waiting around in departures and 15% have even missed the panic-induced moment of having to double- and triple-check they had remembered their passport.  

As the world dreams about travelling, Hilton recently launched its “To New Memories” marketing campaign, which is built on research insights that show consumers are craving reconnections with family and friends.

Stephen Cassidy, Managing Director, Hilton UK & Ireland, said, “Travel is an unstoppable force, and we know our customers are eager to reconnect with the people and places they love. Holidays give us memories which we can look back on for a lifetime, and this year, more so than ever, has made us realise just how important they are. Hilton team members all over the world are looking forward to welcoming guests with all the reassurance they need – best-in-class hospitality, cleanliness and flexibility – so they can create their new memories whenever they are ready.”

Since the pandemic, Hilton has introduced CleanStay, an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection; extended its re-booking and cancellation policy, allowing guests greater travel flexibility; and introduced new discounted Dream Away* rates.

A new kind of filter 

In a bid to spend more time soaking up the moment, over a third (34%) of holidaymakers spent less time posting on social media whilst travelling this summer. More than half (51%) admitted they had wasted too much time on previous holidays trying to capture the perfect shot and wanted to spend more time making memories with their family. Nearly one in four (23%) said they paused the social posts as they wanted to be sensitive to family and friends who hadn’t been able to get away and one in five (20%) posted 'throwback' pictures of holidays to cheer themselves up. 

Looking to the future

After reflecting on past trips over the summer, over seven in 10 (71%) said they will appreciate travel and the memories they make even more once they can start travelling again. Almost half (47%) of respondents wished they had taken more photos on previous holidays as a way of recording these memories.

With the travel memory deficit at the forefront of consumers’ minds, a pent-up demand to travel is bubbling over. Looking ahead, the average Brit plans to take two foreign trips next year, equating to 132 million potential holidays in 2021. More than two thirds (69%) of under 35-year-olds are already planning holidays for next year, with almost a quarter of all respondents (23%) set to embark on once-in-a-lifetime trips. Europe (31%) and North America (10%) are the top destinations for international travel, but the trend for staycations is set to continue with one in three (28%) planning a UK holiday next year.


Notes to editors:

  • The survey was conducted by YouGov in October 2020 and polled 2,000 national representative respondents.
  • *Through Hilton’s Dream Away offer, Hilton Honors members can enjoy savings up to 15% on hotel stays across the UK, as well as benefiting from early check in and late check out. Perfect for those who just don’t want their holiday to end! Join Hilton Honors for free to benefit. To give guests extra flexibility, most individual reservations can be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before the scheduled arrival day.
  • Guests can book their new memories directly with Hilton through any official Hilton website or call centre, the Hilton Honors app, at a Hilton property or through an accredited travel agent. Until December 31, 2020, guests can take advantage of Hilton’s new “Double Rewards” global promotion, where eligible members can earn double points per stay as well as double night credits. Members can register at HiltonHonors.com/DoubleRewards.