Destination Staycation

November 11, 2018

By Gareth Smyth, Group Managing Director at Hilton Smythe

The winter is drawing in, and as such, many of us are planning our 2019 holidays, what about a staycation?

Nothing warms the soul like starting your countdown to your time off. And while some of us will be hopping on a flight to France, Florida or Fuerteventura, more Brits than ever are choosing a holiday destination in the UK.

A third of British adults are opting for a staycation

A recent study conducted by Barclays found that more than a third of British adults are opting for a staycation. This is great news for UK businesses and tourism, as it means people are spending their hard-earned cash at our restaurants, hotels and attractions rather than venturing abroad.

In addition to this, more tourists from abroad are visiting our shores, with more than ever (in fact, 97% of a sample of 7,000) interested in coming for a holiday. In a time when there is a great deal of uncertainty in the economy, it is positive to see that international travellers will spend on average £3,443 while here.

Of course, the staycation has become more popular in the last few years due to the recession and austerity, meaning fewer people have been able to treat themselves to foreign adventures. However, the country’s offering has also improved, with London’s West End presenting some of the world’s finest theatre, a booming restaurant and café industry stocked with home-grown treats, and the views in places like the Yorkshire Dales and Cornwall providing beautiful landscapes.

Of those surveyed by Barclays, many said they found a staycation to be excellent value for money, and more convenient in terms of being able to speak the language and not having to change currency. There is also a variety of options, with city breaks, rural retreats, relaxing spas and historic hideaways. This choice all within a relatively short distance, makes the UK even more attractive to holiday makers.

Trends for top destinations

It is also interesting to examine the trends of where the top destinations are, with London being the hot spot for international tourists, the South West of England including scenic Cornwall, Bristol, Exeter, Oxford and beautiful Scotland being the top choice for home-grown visitors. This means that many of our towns and cities are benefitting from the additional revenue that tourism provides.

As someone who works with small businesses, particularly those in hospitality and the high street, I have noticed that owners have needed to move with the times, even in the quaintest of locations. For example, a large number of international visitors prioritised proximity to public transport and high-speed internet when choosing their destination. And anyone who has a child will know that life without wi-fi is almost unbearable! Hotel and B&B owners should be aware that, even though it may be tempting not to provide this service, or to charge extra for it, this might just cause potential customers to go elsewhere.

So, for everyone planning their jollies, it is worth looking at what is happening on our own doorstep. You may find a hidden treasure while also supporting our UK businesses.

Happy holidays!