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Our report paints a picture of staycation demand in 2022, as well as the factors influencing travel choices and the top holiday hotspots for Brits this year.
With widespread reports of overseas travel disruption, we have witnessed a surge in last-minute bookings – which will likely continue throughout the summer period and into autumn. Travellers simply don’t want to have to tackle airports and take the risk that their family holidays could be cancelled.
– Graham Donoghue, CEO, Sykes Holiday Cottages
Britain is continuing to ride the staycation wave despite the return of foreign travel, with UK breaks holding their ground against holidays abroad.
2021 was a record-breaking year for staycations and we saw the highest volume of bookings in our history, with a 57% increase year-on-year. So far, there’s nothing to suggest 2022 will be any different.
According to our latest study, over three quarters (77%) of us plan to enjoy at least one holiday at home this year – with almost half (46%) of Brits planning to choose the UK for their main summer break.
And with widespread reports of overseas travel disruption, we have witnessed a surge in last-minute bookings – which will likely continue throughout the summer period and into autumn.
Travellers simply don’t want to have to tackle airports and take the risk that their family holidays could be cancelled.
In this year’s Staycation Index, we reveal the trends and holiday habits that have emerged over the past year, and how the cost-of-living crisis has caused Brits to become more budget conscious than ever.
We also look specifically at the top UK holiday hotspots over summer and where travellers are booking their Christmas getaways, as well as analysing our booking data to reveal the most sought-after holiday home features.
Sykes has over 30 years’ experience in holiday letting, which means we are in a unique position to be able to provide fresh insight into the staycation sector, as well as predictions on what’s on the horizon for UK travel.
An analysis of staycation demand and key booking trends over the last year
A summer of staycations is on the horizon for 2022, with almost half (48%) of us now more likely to consider a holiday at home than before the pandemic.
Using our research, we’re able to estimate the amount UK holidaymakers are set to boost the country’s economy by this year, as well as revealing the reasons why a staycation is still so appealing.
The summer staycation rush and the most in-demand holiday destinations
With coastal and countryside locations booking up fast, many of the UK’s honeypot towns and villages are also seeing increased demand as Brits look to discover everything our country has to offer. Below we reveal the most sought-after regions to visit over the summer months, as well as the staycation spots growing in popularity – including an Irish hotspot.
What does the nation want from a UK break and how have holiday habits changed in recent years?
The way Brits are holidaying has changed significantly in recent years. Last-minute breaks are more common than ever, while environmental concerns are increasingly playing into our holiday decisions.
Meanwhile, many of us are looking for the ‘wow factor’ when seeking out a UK getaway, and it appears more pets are getting to enjoy staycations post-pandemic too.
The impact of the cost-of-living crisis on Brits’ holiday budgets
Amidst soaring inflation and its unavoidable impact on UK households, our research found that half (50%) of holidaymakers plan to go on fewer breaks away than they normally would do this year.
For many, pressures on household budgets have made holidaying closer to home more appealing than ever, with Brits’ average staycation budget the lowest it has been in recent years.
What are Brits’ travel plans for the future?
As we approach autumn and winter 2022, Brits will continue to favour the rugged areas of North Wales and Cornwall.
We’ve seen a year-on-year increase in bookings over Christmas and New Year, with holidaymakers looking to close out the year with a festive getaway.
We hear from those who have holidayed closer to home this year.
For this new family, it was staycation or nothing…
After welcoming his daughter Phoebe in 2021, Ricky Ambury and his wife, Emilie, were keen to avoid the crowds and stress of travelling abroad by staying closer to home for their first ever family holiday.
Cow Byre, a converted barn just outside of Malton, North Yorkshire, offered them the perfect home away from home, with plush furnishings, a woodburning stove and courtyard area for dining al fresco.
With picturesque views of the surrounding countryside, and within short driving distance of Malton and its range of amenities, Ricky and his family were able to enjoy quality time together in this rural and lesser-visited location. A perfect location for making memories.
Choosing a staycation over a holiday abroad was a no brainer for us when we were looking at our first trip away as a family – a baby has a surprising amount of luggage!
Holidaying closer to home meant we could relax from the get-go, as we didn’t have to jump through any hoops regarding travel restrictions or testing.
When we arrived at our holiday home, the owner had left us a generous package of goodies, including local food and drink items. This made us feel really welcome and even more keen to book another Sykes property for a future staycation.
Booking a sustainable staycation was essential for this London-based couple
Following a string of cancelled holidays during the pandemic, Sian Pretorius and her boyfriend, Kieran Poole, have discovered a love of staycations which is now set to continue.
After promising themselves to prioritise living more sustainably, this year the couple widened their holiday horizons from villas abroad and all-inclusive hotels to UK yurts and glamping accommodation.
This led to a stay in a shepherd’s hut in Wales and a long weekend in a yurt in the Cotswolds. With solar powered showers and home-grown produce, Sian and Kieran were able to fully embrace countryside living during both getaways while limiting their environmental impact.
While locations abroad are still on our travel bucket list, we’re more open than ever before to considering UK holidays.
The pandemic really prompted a shift in how we view staycations and we’re finding ourselves booking one every few months as its easy, affordable, and – most importantly – more environmentally friendly.
We have a long list of UK cities and villages we’re gradually ticking off and have fallen in love with locations we could visit year after year. After five staycations in 2021 and two already this year, we’ll see how many we can fit into the rest of 2022!
The shift towards staycations had already begun pre-Covid, but our latest research proves that it is still showing no signs of slowing in this post-pandemic world.
Whether it be the simple fact of Brits rediscovering their love of the Great British staycation, or because travellers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, it seems a number of people will still be leaving their passports at home this summer.
Uncertainty around Covid restrictions has seemingly been replaced with another worry – overseas travel disruption – which has encouraged some to reconsider their plans and our last-minute bookings for this summer have soared as a result.
Plus, an increased pressure on household budgets is leading to many turning to staycations as the better value option. Though even then Brits are tightening their belts, with UK break budgets at their lowest since our Staycation Index began.
That said, thanks to it being a bumper year for British breaks, we’ve estimated that domestic tourism will still boost
the UK economy by approximately £15.5bn this summer. This will positively impact the nation’s rural and seaside economies, including those that might have suffered because of restrictions in recent years.
As we look to the future, my focus lies in working with others in the industry to support sustainable growth. This includes ensuring holiday lets and second homes across the country are put to good use, hosting as many paying guests as possible.
As ever, my thanks to all our property owners, guests, and the ever-growing Sykes Holiday Cottages family.
– Graham Donoghue, CEO, Sykes Holiday Cottages
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