With every dark cloud comes a silver lining. While the Covid crisis has affected international travel, it has also set off a staycation boom estimated to be worth £7bn. UK hotels, campsites and holiday parks are reporting record interest, as the domestic holiday sector is given a new lease of life.
The renewed focus gives UK travel bands food for thought: do you plan for international travel again or re-centre efforts towards staycations? The answer might lie somewhere in between. Flights to Europe look like they could get the green light by the summer. But there’s no doubt that people will continue to go on staycations throughout the rest of 2021.
The staycation boom has breathed new blood into the travel and tourism industry in the UK. And in this guide, we’re bringing you details about how it can keep things ticking over until holidaymakers are comfortably back on planes again and exploring far-flung destinations.
Staying close to home 🏡
Families who usually spend the day lazing on the beach in Spain, Portugal or Greece are instead booking rural breaks close to home. The surge in demand for domestic holidays has given the industry a much-needed financial boost.
As a result, areas that stayed quiet throughout lockdown are now seeing record demand. Popular hotspots, such as Yorkshire and Dorset, are increasing in popularity as the UK gears up for another summer of staycations.
If your travel brand caters to domestic holidays, now is the time to highlight them. Whether through focusing a spotlight on destinations or encouraging customers to book locally, demand is at its peak. Now is a great environment to champion the staycation and maximise bookings.
Growing confidence from customers 👪 🧑👩
Thirty-nine per cent of people feel confident about booking an overnight stay in May. That number increases to 50 per cent for June and 63 per cent for July, August and September. Confidence has slowly but surely etched its way back, and holidaymakers are dreaming about travelling again.
Tourism in the UK is worth an estimated £9bn a year, and the sector employs 225,000 people. The figures also look good for a summer of staycations, with many hotels, holiday homes and Airbnbs expected to be at capacity after the sector re-opens in May.
Areas like Cornwall are seeing bookings up 50 per cent, while travel brand holidaycottages.co.uk has seen its reservations skyrocket for May, increasing by 39 per cent from the previous year. It all points to a local travel economy ready to reap the rewards this summer.
Finding unique experiences 👋
Travel brands can maximise their opportunities by helping customers book unique experiences. More people are saving money on big expensive family holidays abroad, leading many to pay a little more to make their staycation one to remember.
Offering options like flexible payments at checkout can increase confidence and see more people booking a local staycation with your brand. Having the option to spread the cost through buy now, pay later methods could see local holidaymakers willing to pay extra for a more lavish UK holiday experience.
Alternative payment methods saw a 10-year jump during the pandemic, and 54 per cent of Brits have used buy now, pay later at some point during Covid. Buy now, pay later is particularly popular for larger purchases, which makes it ideal for holiday bookings.
Reworking the numbers 🔢
There’s no doubt that the lockdowns have hurt the tourism industry, especially locally. Visit Britain, the country’s official tourism site has said the shutdown cost the domestic travel industry and the wider economy a whopping £57bn.
Tourism, including international visitors coming to the UK, is worth £127bn per year to the UK. The industry also employees three million people. Therefore, it’s vital that things begin to pick up sooner rather than later.
Domestic holidays are one way to do that, and the estimated £7bn this summer’s getaways could bring in will provide a much-needed injection into the industry. Increased confidence in local travel also provides the first steps for customers preparing themselves for international flights.
Getting ready for the boom
It’s been a long, hard few months with a total lockdown in the UK since January 2021. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and travellers are getting ready to go away again – even if they’re just dipping their toes in domestic holidays to begin with. As a travel brand, you can be at the forefront of championing staycations, building trust and setting yourself up as the go-to brand for both domestic and international travel.