Borders closed. All but essential travel temporarily banned. Dreams of summer getaways abroad abruptly put on hold. The prospects of foreign vacations are looking bleak for brits this year. However, staycations may be the answer.
For businesses operating within the travel sector, the pandemic has proved to be a grave challenge. The sector relies unequivocally on the movement of people and goods, and many travel firms have consequently been brought to their knees by constantly changing lockdown policies and renewed travel restrictions. Sadly, many travel businesses that rely on international travel will not survive the year, and we are likely to see a new wave of redundancies once the furlough scheme ends in April.
Yet amidst this turmoil and economic downturn, there is one area of the industry that looks set to become a pandemic success story – the UK’s domestic holiday market.
Even before the pandemic, UK vacations, or ‘staycations’, were on the rise. Approximately 60 million of us took domestic holiday trip in 2019, and there are now a whole host of businesses offering creative holiday ideas right on our doorsteps.
With lingering uncertainty over foreign trips even after lockdown measures are eased, many more holidaymakers are banking on UK escapes this year. Searches and bookings for summer staycations are on the rise, and the sector looks set for record breaking bookings in 2021.
With growing awareness of the environmental impact of flying and a predicted rise in the cost of international travel, there are many who also expect this trend towards vacations at home to last long into the future.
Here we take a look at five innovative companies leading this domestic holiday revolution.
One of the UK’s leading holiday cottage providers, Sykes Cottages has over 17,500 stunning property rentals on its books throughout the UK and Ireland. Founded in 1991, the company secured private equity investment in 2015 and now, under the leadership of CEO Graham Donoghue, has become a fast-growing technology driven business.
Collections range from luxury, to truly unique, to romantic, all available across diverse parts of the country. For those who know what they are looking for, the websites’ search functionality will also help browsers find the right cottages quickly and easily.
Despite Boris Johnson not yet giving staycations the green light for this summer, searches for holiday booking are already 129% higher than the same time last year.
Connecting millions of homeowners and holiday-goers across the world, Vrbo’s holiday rental community offers guests a multitude of options beyond a standard hotel. The company is on a mission to find every family the space they need to reconnect, relax and enjoy precious time away together.
From modest beginnings in 1995, Vrbo has grown into a trusted vacation brand with a unique selection of 2+ million homes all over the world, including many in the UK. A quick property rental search will provide available homes in a range of categories, from ski chalets to holiday apartments, villages and cottages, and across cities, countryside and coastlines.
The company’s main USP is the privacy and flexibility that a holiday through Vrbo offers, particularly in comparison to a hotel. Given the vast number of staycations available on the site, Vrbo is also able to cater to very specific requirements – from pet friendly accommodation to extravagant additions such as hot tubs or private pools.
Founded in 2009 with the intention of making booking campsites, caravan parks and glamping sites easier, PitchUp is now the leading online booking site for the campsite and caravan sector. The company enables users to book and review over 2,300 holiday parks and campsites in the UK, Europe and America, and services over 1m holidaymakers from 99 countries.
It provides advice not just on where to stay, but also on nearby events, the best walking routes and venues to enjoy a well-earned pint. CEO Dan Yates is also encouraging consumers to book holidays before lockdown ends if they want to secure the best deals. Last summer in the 10 days before campsites opened, bookings with PitchUp quadrupled to one booking every three seconds.
Founded in 2005 by travel writer Jonathan Knight, Cool Camping was borne from a desire to help contemporary campers through the delivery of a handpicked selection of tent-oriented campsites. Knight set out on a mission to compile books of the very best campsites, producing a series spanning England, Wales, Scotland, France and Europe.
Following the website’s launch in 2013, this information became fully searchable online. Books are still flying off the shelves, but the company has now found a loyal band of campers who are searching and booking their holidays through the cool camping website. To capitalize on the UK staycation trend, Cool Camping recently launched their own range of campervans to hire, and last month saw a doubling of summer booking reservations compared with January 2020.
Launched in 2004 eviivo helps manage E&B, hotel and vacation rentals within the UK and beyond, to given owners back valuable time in their day. From managing online bookings and taking payments to staying competitive and gaining coverage on online travel agents, eviivo has it covered.
Headquartered in London’s King’s Cross, eviivo works with over 16,000 properties worldwide, ranging from stately castles and haunted hill-top hotels to snug shepherd’s huts and city apartments.
Is your UK Holiday brand looking to drive bookings or for support managing your Social Media following a surge in traffic? Why not get in touch with our team of experts today to find out how we could help.