When it comes to holidays, it seems there’s no place quite like a “home from home” according to new research from Mintel.
The market research company estimates that Brits could be set to spend close to £3.5 billion on holidays in the UK.
The anticipated figure will be a 10-year record for spending on UK holiday lets (note: it does also include associated costs such as transport, food and drink and days out).
Mintel’s figures show there was a 41% drop in the value of the UK holiday rental market in 2020 (when compared to 2019) when Brits only spent £1.6 billion on hiring UK holiday homes.
This is largely due to the government restrictions being in place for much of the peak holiday season.
The average spend per holiday this year is expected to reach £397.
This is an increase from £349 per stay in 2020.
Senior travel analyst John Worthington said: “UK holiday rentals were hit hard in 2020, like all forms of tourism, but when restrictions eased, the sector has proved more resilient than others in the travel industry.”
He believes holidaymakers have been looking for self-catering bubbles in order to stay away from large crowds.
“The home has become a place of refuge for people during the pandemic and this translates naturally into a preference for holiday cottages and other properties.”
Almost a quarter of people (22%) surveyed by Mintel say they have stayed (or expect to stay) in a UK holiday rental property at some point this year.
This figure is more than double the number (10%) who said they were doing so in 2020.
Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they would be interested in staying in one in the future, and this compares to just over a quarter (26%) who said they had stayed in one in the last three years.
It’s led to John hailing 2021 as “the year of the staycation”.
He said: “It will have long-term benefits for domestic rentals as consumers discover new parts of the UK, or try out this type of holiday for the first time.
“City break rentals will return more slowly, but there is a window of opportunity for London breaks before overseas visitors return in large numbers.”
He believes rentals abroad will only fully recover when restrictions on international travel are eased.
So, what do we look for when hunting for the perfect staycation?
Mintel says three most important factors are: proximity to a beach (favoured by 50%), proximity to a pub/restaurant (also 50%) and the availability of private parking (prioritised by 49%) .
Another societal trend of the coronavirus pandemic is the increase in pet ownership.
The impact of this has also been felt on holiday bookings – with a 5% jump in the number of people surveyed who prioritise being able to take their pets with them (23% compared with 18% previously).
Worthington explained: “A year and a half of lockdowns has created the perfect conditions for a significant boost to pet ownership and, as such, the need for pet-friendly holiday accommodation.”
And Mintel’s research suggests pet ownership is set to grow even further.
What’s most important to you when booking a trip in the UK? Let us know in the comments below…