Research has shown that the UK staycation market looks set to boom by billions once the COVID-19 lockdown is over. Our data suggests that, as the travel industry begins to reopen, 55% of holidaymakers are planning to make the most of it by getting away to sunnier parts of the UK and spending over £8billion in the process.
At Parkdean Resorts, we wanted to see where this money would be going, and what was inspiring this wave of confidence in the UK holiday market.
We surveyed 2,000 people, analysed our booking data and used data from Statista - a global analyst - to understand where people are planning to holiday, how much individuals are planning to spend, and how the global holiday industry has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic.
Changes in news saw changes in public attitude
It soon became apparent how the public mood was impacted by the changing coronavirus news. On the 11th May, when Boris Johnson announced plans to extend lockdown, we saw a 50% increase in searches for holiday booking websites.
When our opening dates were confirmed, the public responded even more enthusiastically. Traffic to our site went up by 58.91%, while holiday bookings increased by 144.1%.
This encouraged us to dig deeper into the data as we looked to further understand how the global pandemic was impacting people’s holiday plans.
That positive news can’t be shared across the holiday industry as a whole however. Coronavirus is expected to have a negative impact on summer spending of around -24%, as tourists are advised to stay on their own shores.
International travel industry set to lose £10.4 billion
Our data also shows that holidaying abroad has taken a huge hit, with the industry set to lose out on £10.4 billion as a result of Covid-19. The estimated employment loss is also predicted to breach £100 million, with huge redundancies being made to attempt to fill the financial gap.
Compared to before lockdown, the number of people searching for general travel has decreased by 33%. Airline searches haven’t fared much better, seeing a 16% decline, while searches for travel abroad have taken a massive -56% hit.
Searches for hospitality are also down by 62.59%, while hotels are down 65% and car rentals have taken a 70% loss. According to our survey, 20% of people have cancelled holiday plans altogether, while 35% are delaying booking anything until the pandemic is under control.
The contrast between last year is stark, when happier times saw over 2.2 million searches for holiday topics compared to only 1.7 million for the same period this year.
Searches for holidays abroad down, staycations on the rise
Searches for UK holiday terms have rocketed during lockdown, with ‘travel UK’ seeing a 103% increase in volume compared to the same time last year. The term ‘staycation’ also saw a boost as people explored their options for making the most of the summer.
Hope in UK holidays is high - with August set to be when the market peaks!
According to our survey, people’s faith in being able to go on a UK holiday this year is high, with 44% of people saying they believe a staycation is more likely to go ahead than a holiday abroad.
38% of people said they’d choose to stay in the UK because it would mean they didn’t have to self-isolate upon returning home, unlike with a trip abroad, while 29% said they’d holiday at home to help boost the UK economy.
August looks set to be the most popular month for staycations. Of the people we surveyed, 29% said that was when they’d be looking to get away to make the most of relaxed lockdown rules and the reopening of pubs and restaurants.
The data reveals which domestic locations will be most popular - Cornwall and Devon are top
During March - the first full month of lockdown in the UK - there were an extra 2,700 searches for ‘staycation’.
Staying close to home is looking like the new getting away, and certain locations are appearing more popular than ever. Of people planning a 2020 staycation, 20% said they would be looking for places to stay in Cornwall, while 14% said they’d be driving down to Devon to try and benefit from the sunnier shores in the south of the country.
In fact, our Devon holiday parks have seen a staggering 86% increase in bookings compared to the same time last year, while the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, Kent and Sussex have also seen a significant boom in bookings as excitement for sunshine soars.
Clean accommodation is a post-pandemic must-have
When it comes to what holiday makers want from accommodation after Covid-19, 39% of people said cleanliness would be top of their list of considerations. Free cancellations were also important to 37%, with people not wanting to be stuck with paying for a holiday that could be postponed.
Good reviews still came out on top, with 45% of people saying they’d prioritise this when making their decision. But it’s clear that coronavirus has played a part in influencing the holidaying Brit’s mind.
Hotels offer most peace of mind
Hotels were people’s top choice for the type of holiday accommodation, with 43% of our survey saying they’d choose to stay here. However, other self-catering options also fared well, with 20% of participants saying they’d be most comfortable staying in a static caravan, and 13% saying they’d feel better off in a tent.
Both of these types of accommodation eliminate the need to ever use communal areas for anything like eating, booking in or checking out, which could be unavoidable in hotels.
Lockdown love sees couples planning their breaks
61% of people told us they’d be looking to holiday with their loved one, showing that for many being trapped inside together has only strengthened their relationship.
For 53%, it was their young children that they’d be getting away with, while only 21% said they’d be planning a mates break despite us being kept apart from our friends for so long.
A holiday is clearly where the heart is.
Major travel brands take big hit in search popularity
It’s no surprise to see that brands who deal with foreign holidays are being hit the hardest, as we see engagement with some of the biggest names in the industry falling drastically when compared with the same time period last year.
AirBnB noticed a 33% decrease in activity, with almost one million fewer searches in March 2020. In fact, almost every holiday provider noticed a drop in custom, as the only names to come out well were those who offer UK holidays or holiday money saving advice.
Caravaning on the up, package holidays on hold
When it comes to the types of holiday people are looking to book, staycations are the only one to see a national rise, with a 23% increase in searches this April. Caravan holidays, lodges holidays and camping at UK holiday parks all look set to prosper. At the other end of the scale, holidays to Menorca dropped by 89%, while holidays to Spain took a 95% hit. People aren’t taking any chances with holidaying abroad, but they are looking to the UK to provide them with their annual time away.
We’ve also noticed big increases in caravan and lodge bookings as Covid restrictions ease, with caravans in Devon seeing a 140% rise compared to the same time last year. Caravans on the Isle of Wight have also increased by 74%, while lodges in the Lake District have gone up by 34%.
Demand for caravan and lodge ownership has also increased drastically. We saw a 135% increase in May, showing that people are looking for more than just a short-term staycation and want something they can depend on over and over again.
Sheffield spending most on staycation plans
Sheffield was the city willing to invest most in their staycation, with £1,307.50 being the average spend per person on their post-Covid plans.
People in Cardiff were also looking to spend big, with their holiday plans costing an average of £1,200, while those in London are willing to invest £1,047 on getting away.
What is the government saying about holiday travel?
Those with trips planned for the immediate future should contact their travel company and follow any measures they have in place, while also ensuring their insurance provider is set to cover them during this time.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also said that it’s “likely to be the case” that summer holidays will have to be cancelled in 2020, while the World Health Organisation has advised against travel to all affected countries, with many airlines being grounded until the pandemic is under control.
However, we are starting to see some European countries open up their borders. But with strict self-isolation rules in place for those wishing to travel, and many sites still operating with restricted access, it would still be well worth checking with your travel company about the kind of holiday you should expect.
Our expert opinion
Catherine Lynn, Chief Customer Officer at Parkdean Resorts, said:
“The Coronavirus pandemic has really affected many parts of our lives in 2020, including how we holiday, with many would-be holidaymakers being stuck at home. However, our data gives us cause for optimism. We expect to see a big upturn in the staycation market this summer, and beyond into 2021. We are so excited that our parks are reopening all over the country, giving people the opportunity to see all the amazing things that the UK has to offer, in a safe and clean environment. We’ve implemented measures to ensure all of our guests and staff are safe, to be able to enjoy these wide open spaces and much needed fresh air.”
Are you planning to get away once lockdown is over?
With travel restrictions still in place across most of the world, only a select number of European destinations are available for travel.
When it comes to travel advice, the government advice is pretty clear. Search for any country and you’ll get the same notice, making it obvious that you should stay at home until things are much better.
It’s safe to say we’re all feeling a little tired of the same four walls at the moment, so as soon as it’s safe to do so, a UK holiday could be just what’s needed to free you from your Covid-19 shackles.
Our parks in England will be opening for holidaymakers again from the 6th July, while in Wales it’s the 13th of July, and in Scotland it’s the 17th of July, all with the highest safety measures in place. Find a holiday park near you and book your Parkdean Resorts stay today, giving you something to look forward to after a summer like no other.
Survey commissioned in May 2020, to a nat rep audience of 2,019 UK adults on their holiday intentions.
- Kekst CNC - COVID-19 Opinion Tracker
- Global web index - Coronavirus Research | April 2020
- YEXT - COVID-19 Search Data Hub (data as of 15th April)
- SEO Monitor - comparing year-on-year search volume differences.
- YouGov - How brits feel about the travel industry
- Holiday travel in the United Kingdom - Statistics & Facts
- COVID Travel Industry Impact Report