If you’ve read the news recently, it appears the whole of Britain has been taking a ‘staycation’; collective break from the hustle and bustle of international travel to rediscover their own backyards.
Earlier this year it was estimated that 5 million people were planning an overnight trip for the August bank holiday, with 4.6 million of those opting for a staycation in England, generating £1.1 billion for the economy.
After Brexit drove a 10% drop in the value of the pound compared with the euro, it now costs the average family (two adults, two children) £245 more to holiday in the Eurozone. As a result, a further 5% of Brits will decide to go on a staycation this year, reflected by a record-breaking first quarter of 2016 that saw overnight visits in England rise 10% to 7.3 million.
And it’s not just Britons who are choosing to holiday within their own borders. The trend is rising globally. Here’s a few reasons why…
Why are more people taking staycations?
Staycations are quick and convenient
The need to balance professional and personal responsibilities makes it increasingly difficult for the average traveller to go on the trip of their dreams.
This is why a quick road trip or short flight across the country for the weekend can offer a good alternative for the time-poor.
Staycations are more affordable than overseas trips
This is somewhat obvious, but it should be noted all the same. For some, the option of international travel simply doesn’t exist because of the costs involved. Even with cheap flights and a great hotel rate, other costs like car rental push expenses up.
So instead of saving all year for one expensive trip, travellers are finding they can take multiple refreshing getaways and enjoy it just as much.
Staycations can be rewarding
People can get so wrapped up in the excitement of overseas travel that they forget their own country is also a tourist destination with its own unique history and natural beauty.
Staycations provide an opportunity for travellers to visit the big tourist sites they’ve never had a chance to, or unearth hidden gems in smaller locations.
Alternatively, a staycation is the perfect way to really ‘switch off’ from a day job and find time to reconnect with family, focus on hobbies and personal enjoyment, relax and recharge, or take a short course and learn new skills.
So, how can hotels capitalise on the staycation trend?
Independent hotels are in the best position to benefit from the current staycation boom.
There are a few recommended methods to boost your chances of attracting more guests and driving more bookings…
1. Localise your marketing
‘Staycationers’ are probably going to be more resourceful when it comes to finding the best places to eat, drink, or visit in the local area.
They won’t be going to coffee shops they can find in their hometowns – instead, they’ll be following local food and event bloggers.
It’s these types of outlets hotels need to develop relationships with to promote their properties credibly.
2. Make your promotion relevant
Constantly promoting your own hotel with the same messaging will get stale quite quickly and travellers won’t be interested.
Instead, they’ll be looking for things to do and places to go once they arrive at your hotel.
You can easily provide them with this, based on a vast amount of existing ready-made content. Source the local newspaper, event websites, and regional blogs for fun ideas.
Not only will this give you great content for your website and social media feeds, it will help generate interest for the local community.
3. Make the most of local events and experiences
Festivals and roadshows are fantastic opportunities to amplify your domestic marketing efforts. Think about creating special packages or discounts around them, or throw in some extras that might set you apart from your competition.
You may also want to contact local tour operators and activity-based companies to see if you can work together to create packages that appeal to your audience demographic.
4. Consider discounts for domestic travellers
This is something that you would have to balance carefully to make sure your revenue is where you want it to be, but in quieter seasons it could be particularly effective! Consider implementing promotions via your internet booking engine to convince guests they’re getting value for money.