UK Hotels and Houses are reporting a boom in demand as holidaymakers choose to stay closer to home this year rather than go abroad.
Due to uncertainty, travel restrictions and quarantines being imposed on those hoping to holiday in many places abroad, the UK is seeing a large upturn in those holidaymakers keeping it local for staycations this year.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Kevin Millington of Acorn Tourism Consulting said, “People are going to have more confidence travelling here rather than to a foreign country where they might go down with the virus and be in a foreign hospital.”
This is providing a huge opportunity for those here in the UK hospitality industry to make the most of this boom after months of closure and promote their businesses as places for people to keep spending their summers in the years to come. This trend has been particularly evident in UK tourism hotspots such as Devon, Cornwall and other rural retreats and coastal resorts.
Speaking to The Telegraph Helen McDermott, an analyst at Tourism Economics, part of Oxford Economics said, “This is going to extend into the peak holiday season so some of the key places that are going to benefit would be the more holiday destinations where there are beaches that you can go to, such as the likes of Cornwall.”
According to The Daily Record, new research by Nationwide Building Society found that 32% of people are planning a UK-based break and expected to spend an average of £480 boosting local economies.
More than 2,000 people across the UK were surveyed in July with nearly three-quarters saying they would remain in the UK due to concerns around Covid-19, a further 14 per cent said they were also planning to take day trips.
Sue Williams, general manager at Whatley Manor and 2017 Hotelier of the Year, said the hotel near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, was at 94% occupancy and told The Caterer: “It’s really busy, we’re doing really well. People seem to plan to use us as a bit of a retreat away from the madding crowd and it’s lovely to see. We’re getting a lot of three-, four- and seven-night stays.”
Simon Maguire, managing director of Luxury Family Hotels, which has properties in locations including the New Forest, Bath and Cornwall, told The Caterer his five hotels were running at 94%-96% occupancy for the whole of August.
He added: “We’re seeing this up until the end of the school holidays, then we have quite strong business for the first two weeks of September before we go back to our familiar booking patterns. I do think a lot of people are waiting to the last minute to book because there’s so much uncertainty out there.”
People are also booking longer breaks and spending more while they are at the property, the hoteliers reported.
However, while the boost in numbers has been hugely welcomed, hoteliers have stressed that the consumer demand seen during August does not mean that those businesses to have benefited are unconcerned about the future and the continued impact of Covid-19.
Maguire added: “In the short term it gives us confidence, but in the long term we’re extremely cautious and nervous that this could drop off a cliff at any point. I don’t just mean October, I mean it’s not inconceivable that a bad outbreak somewhere around one of our hotels could cause a drop-off. So, we’re just being very cautious about any longer-term decisions on the back of a busy summer. But I’m certainly more optimistic than I was two months ago.”
It’s great to see optimism from the hospitality industry in spite of the current situation and the challenges it has faced this year. This optimism paired with the high standard the industry consistently performs to bodes well for the future of UK tourism and staycations to come.