New research from building society, The Cumberland, has revealed that the majority of London’s holidaymakers (89%) would prefer to holiday here in the UK rather than travel abroad this year, with 71% citing fears of being stranded abroad and uncertainty around COVID-19 (58%) as their main motivation for a British staycation. Just over half (54%) of those surveyed admit to having concerns about quarantine measures with 48% noting self-isolation at their destination is a major concern.
Encouragingly, 66% of respondents from the capital are intending to plan a UK holiday in 2021, suggesting that the great British staycation is not just a short term solution to the coronavirus pandemic, but a long-term option for holidaymakers and a significant confidence boost for the hospitality sector.
Commissioned by The Cumberland, which has a long-established hospitality lending team, the Research Without Barriers survey of 1,015 UK adults also highlighted that hotels (45%) and cottages (29%) are the most popular types of accommodation for Londoners holidaying in Britain.
The research comes during a time of major uncertainty, with some countries across the world now facing spikes in coronavirus cases leading to short notice quarantine and self-isolation enforcements.
“This is an incredibly valuable piece of research for the British hospitality industry, as it reinforces the shift in mood amongst Britons when it comes to holidaying and travel,” said Bob Bishopp, Head of Commercial Lending at The Cumberland. “With mortgage customers across the hospitality industry, from hotels and guesthouses to holiday let owners, we have traversed the COVID journey with them, and know how vital this staycation bounce back will be to their long-term success.
“We’re thrilled to see residents from London are overwhelmingly opting for a UK holiday, not only this year but into next year as well, which I’m confident will prove to be a lifeline to the entire sector. Those in the hospitality industry have worked incredibly hard since lockdown, in probably the most challenging circumstances the sector has seen. The goal has been to ensure the safest possible return for tourists and holidaymakers, while maintaining the safety of local residents, and that effort is now bearing fruit as we see Brits truly embracing the staycation.”
Findings from the research also revealed that before COVID hit, Spain was the most popular foreign destination, with over a quarter (28%) of London’s respondents admitting to cancelling their summer holiday to the country and opting for a British holiday instead. Meanwhile, Scotland was the favourite UK alternative for Londoners, with 20% opting to holiday there followed closely by Wales at 17%.
Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive, Association of Scottish Self Caterers, added:
“While the last few months have been challenging for Scottish self-catering, we’ve really stepped up to the mark by locking down early, implementing rigorous standards of hygiene, and getting back to work as soon as it is safe to do so in order to support our £723million sector.
“We’re optimistic about the future and this welcome new research, showing the incredible demand for staycations, adds significantly to that atmosphere of positivity and determination.
“Scotland is such a beautiful country, with so much to offer every kind of holidaymaker, and we’re thrilled to see that so many people from across the United Kingdom are choosing to take a well-earned break with us.”
When looking at what holiday makers are choosing in terms of features and amenities, 61% of respondents from London cited outdoor space/gardens as the most important feature they look for when choosing their staycation accommodation. This was followed by good views and close to the beach at 58% each.
“The findings suggest that Londoners are craving time outdoors, no surprise perhaps given the length of time we have been locked down. And if there is something Britain can boast proudly, it is the beauty of our countryside and coastline, offering the hospitality industry the opportunity to really capitalise on the current demand for the great outdoors,” explained Bob.
Ease of travel to destination (55%) and ‘safer’ (44%) were cited as the main benefits of a holiday in the UK compared to a trip abroad the research revealed.
Perhaps given the recent worries around coronavirus, almost three-quarters (70%) of respondents from the city admit to relaxation being their top priority for a British staycation. This is followed by eating out (57%) and sightseeing at 55%, which will come as a big relief to the UK’s visitor and hospitality economies.
Nigel Wilkinson, Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, comments: “This research highlights the really positive momentum being built in a sector that has been severely impacted by COVID-19. Visitors are vital to our local economy, as well as our business, so we’re delighted to see that sightseeing is a top priority for staycationers.”
Bob concluded: “Our research shows that the great British staycation is fast becoming the holiday of choice for Brits looking for convenience, safety and the great outdoors, thankfully not just this year but into 2021 and beyond. The hospitality sector has responded with speed and agility to ensure it can safely meet the growing consumer appetite for a UK holiday, and we’re thrilled we are able to support our customers in delivering this. Surely this is the much-anticipated renaissance of the British holiday!”