Dakota Murphey has experience in property management with her portfolio of properties expanding in the South of England. Her passion for renovation and home improvement projects is shared through her writing to help educate and inspire others.
Staycations are big business these days. The trend for holidays and mini breaks to be taken at home in the UK rather than abroad has been growing markedly over the last few years. Last year, over half of the population enjoyed a staycation, with nearly 60% planning to do the same this year.
This is a huge market that no British based hospitality business can afford to ignore. And with Brexit and all its associated uncertainties now looming very large on the horizon, it is highly likely that holidaymakers will be even more cautious in their choice of holiday destinations over the coming years. Unsurprisingly, Cornwall and Devon top the list of UK holiday destinations, with Bournemouth and London not far behind.
Why are staycations becoming more popular?
There are many different factors affecting individual reasons why people prefer to holiday in their home country, such as lack of time available for a long haul holiday or a fear of airports and flying. However, the most compelling reasons can be summarised as budget, convenience and a renewed curiosity of the national heritage.
Holidaying in Britain is now a more affordable option than taking a foreign holiday. This is partly due to the falling value of Sterling which has left tourists with a smaller holiday budget for going abroad. Then there’s the increase in flight tickets including additional fees for seat reservations, luggage and priority boarding options adding to the financial pressure. The overall cost of flights, accommodation and spending money for, say, a family of four, can be substantially higher than a comparable holiday taken in the UK.
Vacationing at home is preferred by many as a convenient alternative to going abroad. There are no size or weight constraints as far as luggage is concerned, other than the parameters of your car, meaning you can bring along all your home comforts. For holidaymakers with dogs, a staycation offers the advantage of being able to take their pet with them – a useful marketing tactic for many dog friendly hospitality businesses.
The UK is full of amazing sights – from beautiful coast and countryside locations to incredible towns and cities – and their appeal is now being appreciated more than for many decades. Whether your business is located in a remote rural location or in Central London, there’s plenty to attract visitors to the local area that you can leverage.
How your business can benefit from staycation tourism
In contrast to a typical holidaymaker taking an annual trip abroad, staycation tourism is less reliant on seasonality. Trips can be slotted in when schedules allow, perhaps as a handful of shorter trips replacing the traditional summer vacation. What’s more, many visitors discover a favourite area and choose to return time and again for another break. A recent study has shown that 43% of Brits regularly return to their staycation destination.
For hospitality businesses, this presents two golden opportunities for commercial engagement. Staycationers have the potential to become regular return visitors and a valuable loyal customer base, and they can be marketed to all year round.
Using effective communications channels and building strong relationships with existing and potential customers are key strategies for businesses in the hospitality sector take employ in an effort to maximise opportunities in this growing market segment.
Top marketing tips to attract visitors
- In our media driven world, promoting your holiday accommodation or hospitality business in the digital space should be top of the list. Whether you have your own website, or an online directory listing, the important thing is to have a visible internet presence.
- Reach out to prospective visitors via email and social media to let them to what facilities your establishment has to offer. But also include information about the local area and particular points of interests or suggestions and recommendations on what to see and where to go.
- Leverage the benefits of local attractions, experiences and events, by cross promoting with markets, fairs or music festivals at certain points in the year. By offering local perks, you can establish an ongoing relationship with your guests and give them a reason to return.
- Create your own packages and specific products and services – spa treatments, special wine tasting events, local boat trips, fun outings etc – and use these to differentiate your business from others in the area.
- A recent TripAdvisor survey discovered that over half of respondents would only stay in pet friendly accommodation. Accepting guests with their (well behaved!) dogs may give you the competitive edge over other local hospitality businesses.
- Make sure you follow up with recent guests to ask about their experience and to provide feedback. Not only will this help you identify and build on your business’ strengths and weaknesses, it will help to reinforce positive feelings towards your brand, which may well lead to a repeat booking.