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The staycation market is one of the largest, if not the only market that many holiday companies in the UK focus on when increasing numbers of bookings.  Here, Holiday Cottage Compare founder and Managing Director Paula Alexander provides us with an insight into a rapidly growing type of staycation that looks set to be a huge opportunity area for 2018.

According to Statista, UK adults spent an average of £599.80 on holidays in the UK in 2017 (Source). And Cornwall remains the top destination of choice, followed by Devon and North Wales (Source).

Second to the US, the UK market is the largest for UK tourism and since Brexit, staycations are very much on the rise.  Travel marketing group Sojern has predicted a 23.8% rise in staycations planned for summer this year, based on searches and bookings from October 2016 to January 2017 (Source).

Whilst this may be being reflected in UK holiday companies’ revenue, in order to effectively provide for UK holidaymakers, we need to know exactly what they want from a staycation.

Popular staycation city break locations

The Office for National Statistics Travel Trends: 2016 release displays the top 20 towns that were visited throughout 2016 for more than 1 night (excluding London) as:

  • Edinburgh
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Liverpool
  • Glasgow
  • Oxford
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Brighton/Hove
  • Cardiff
  • Inverness
  • Leeds
  • Bath
  • Nottingham
  • Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
  • York
  • Reading
  • Aberdeen
  • Leicester
  • Southampton

Of course, some of these visits will have been to visit friends and family as well as holidays or breaks for business reasons.  How what is really interesting, is that these cities could help to back up the trend of taking short breaks rather than more traditional one or two-week holidays.

The rise in popularity of short breaks

Sojern reported that there were 8.8% more short breaks this year compared to last year, which indicates that a good proportion of people are choosing short breaks of 3 days or less for their UK holidays.  Similarly, Barclays reports that more than one third of British adults chose to holiday closer to home in the year to March 2017.

Traditionally, the driver behind the popularity of staycations has typically been financial – as saving on flights and transfer costs is usually best achieved by holidaying in the UK.

However, with more people taking short breaks as opposed to longer week or fortnight long holidays, cost savings cannot be the only reason.  This is especially pertinent because, by choosing short breaks, it means that most people are able to take several holidays, in different locations, spaced throughout the year.

Short breaks seem to be popular because of the all round flexibility they afford holidaymakers.  Whether in today’s working climate, taking a week off work is less disruptive to work schedules than taking just a few days, or whether budget airlines are making it easier for people to tick more locations off of their bucket list, flexibility to do what suits the individual is key.

How to take advantage of flexible UK holidays

Holiday companies can take advantage of those looking for flexible holidays in the UK by providing customers with exactly what they’re looking for.  If it’s a city break, think Edinburgh for 3 nights with a great deal costing just under £600.  If it’s a special occasion like a birthday, consider how you might be able to offer something luxurious but affordable, by, for example, lowering your prices for 3 night stays when rooms are otherwise empty mid-week.

By offering short breaks, holiday companies and holidaymakers alike can benefit.  Empty rooms mean no income, whilst deals and offers that can’t be ignored will always attract the UK’s growing market of short break holiday seekers.

About the author

Paula Alexander founded Holiday Cottage Compare to make it quicker and easier for holidaymakers to find their perfect holiday cottage, whatever their requirements.

From searching for a cottage anywhere during, for example, July, August and September to opting for somewhere with a thatched roof and hot tub that accepts three dogs, Holiday Cottage Compare uses the industry’s most flexible search functionality and widest range of filters to present the holidaymaker with their perfect cottage, drawn from a range of over 10,000 properties throughout the UK.

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