Let's Do This - September Market Update

Each month, we will be releasing an update on how the market is reacting to Covid-19 using data from across our website.

The report will focus around two key data points: visits to event pages on Let’s Do This and the rate at which they convert to bookings. Comparing these against the same data at this point in 2019 will allow us to make an informed analysis of how Covid-19 continues to have an impact on consumer confidence.

Alongside this, we’ll provide a monthly update on the state of play within the UK mass participation events industry. This will look at the proportion of events live and bookable in the market each week, as well as how many have new dates scheduled for 2021.

Executive Summary:

1. September saw an initial fall in bookings following renewed government restrictions
- Local lockdowns led to the cancellation of more events rescheduled for October
- Second spike, particularly prevalent in the North of England and Scotland, likely caused a minor dip in consumer confidence

2. 52% of UK events now have a rescheduled or new date for 2021
- Many event organisers have cancelled 2020 altogether and are focusing on 2021
- Major events have decided dates well in advance, but are yet to open bookings

3. 2021 is all set to be a crucial year for the mass participation sports industry
- 96% of competitors say they would be happy taking part in an event within the first 12 months of lockdown (source: Covid-19 Impact Report: Restarting Mass Participation Events)
- The rise of virtual events and increased use of apps such as Strava has resulted in industry growth


Event Page Sessions & Booking Numbers

2020 Page Visits as % of 2019

As expected, event page visits on Let’s Do This remain well down on 2019 and we’ve not seen the usual spike in event page visits that would be expected coming into Autumn.

August saw an apparent rise in consumer confidence - with event page visits reaching 66% of 2019’s (wk / Aug 17th) - however the recent local lockdowns and other renewed gov’t restrictions led to a drop off in event page visits and booking conversion rates at the start of September. 

The impact of reintroduced restrictions was further felt by the cancellation of both the Leamington Spa Half, and Golazo Cycling’s 2020 King’s Cup Gravel Festival and inaugural British Gravel Championships.

That said, the end of the month showed more promising numbers, with event page visits and subsequent bookings conversions beginning to rise again - the final week of September saw our booking conversions rise back to the levels seen in August, despite event page visits remaining relatively low; at 35% of 2019 levels.

This late upward trend in booking conversion can be attributed to two key points:

  •  A number of event organisers have now finalised their 2021 race calendars 
  • There is a willing pool of demand who are eager to pre-book experiences which they missed out on this summer


What percentage of the market is currently open?

This month we conducted a sample survey of 200 events in the UK. Chosen at random, we collected  two data points for each of these events a). Whether or not they had a new date live and b). Whether or not they were bookable online.

We are looking to understand what percentage of UK events are currently bookable, and indeed what percentage have new dates for 2021, but are yet to open bookings, to give an indication of how Covid-19 continues to impact the industry.

% of market which is bookable and / or has new dates


58.5% of the UK endurance sports industry remains closed. More so, when these events are weighted by the number of event places, the percentage increases to 61%. This means that around 40% of the UK market is currently live and bookable. (NB: we’d normally expect around 70% to be bookable during this time.)

52% of events have a new date decided for the 2021 edition. In many cases this is a rescheduled date from an event which was cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

60% is how much of the market has a new date when weighted by event places - this is a testament to large events (5000 +) being scheduled for 2021, but not yet opening bookings.

Summary

It’s clear that a significant number of participants are ready to book onto events, particularly for those scheduled around Spring and Summer of 2021.

Those organisers who have been able to proceed with Covid-secure events are receiving great feedback; (eg Limelight Sports, who recorded a staggering 91 Net Promoter Score for their Blenheim Triathlon).

With new restrictions, and a continued lack of certainty heading into winter, it does appear that many are cutting their losses, and focussing their efforts on putting on an epic 2021.

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