From March 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic put a halt to international travel to and from the UK. Although Brits endured travel bans and restrictions for a good portion of the year, the pandemic did give leeway to the rise of staycations in the UK, with locations such as Yorkshire and Cornwall experiencing unprecedented demand.
With international travel a cause for concern and domestic travel is the most viable option for a holiday, we’ve put together our staycation statistics at the Rest Easy Group. The statistics are backed by data from over 100,000 aggregated cottage and hotel properties from leading UK travel brands such as LateRooms, Snaptrip and Dog Friendly Cottages.
How did the pandemic impact travel in 2020?
International travel vs. domestic travel in the UK in 2020
From mid-March to mid-July, COVID-19 triggered a near-total shutdown in international tourism to and from the UK.
- In April 2020 passenger demand declined to an unprecedented 94.3%, compared to April 2019 (IATA, 2020)
Domestic travel had also been impacted. According to the Office for National Statistics:
- By June 2020, the number of people booking UK hotels and accommodation was less than a tenth than in the previous year (We Heart, 2020)
Yet this decline saw a turning point come July. With restrictions slowly easing and domestic and (limited) international travel now allowed, the UK holiday property sector saw an influx in the number of staycation bookings.
But much more, despite the country being in national and local lockdowns for a good portion of the year, there was a clear increase in the number of staycation bookings compared to 2019. At the Rest Easy Group, one of the UK’s fastest-growing holiday home marketplaces in the travel industry, we uncovered a 33% increase in bookings compared to the last 12 months.
There are a number of factors, some of which include:
- Staycations were already rising in popularity due to their affordability, hassle-free travel and holiday scenery that can still be found in the UK.
- Before March 2020, there was an average of 6,600 monthly searches on Google for the term ‘staycation’ in the UK (City Suites, 2020). By April 2020, this stood at 8,100(City Suites, 2020). More and more people, especially those who may not have opted for a staycation, we’re searching for it.
- Tik Tok’s ‘staycation’ hashtag has 800 million views. 60% of their audience are 16-24 years olds; influencing a demographic who associate holidays with going abroad.
More annual leave and limited choices
- People were taking fewer holidays – 73% of people did not take holiday in April 2020 (Schofields, 2020)
- A backlog of annual leave, lockdown lifting in the UK but limited places to travel abroad due to the ongoing pandemic, left the UK as their first choice
A shift in attitudes
- Concerns around the spread of the virus meant even when people could travel abroad, 42.7% of people would rather a staycation vs. 24.7% who would rather go abroad (City Suites, 2020)
- Fears surrounding public health in shared facilities will also see people opting for private accommodation where they have their own pool, kitchen and are only in close proximity with those they have travelled with
Staycations statistics in the UK 2020: How did the pandemic impact UK holidays?
Where were Brits going once travel restrictions were lifted in 2020?
- North Yorkshire was the most visited county
- Of which its a town, Whitby, was the most popular destination
- West Sussex, however, saw the biggest increase in bookings with a whopping 87.44% per cent
Top five staycation counties in 2020
- North Yorkshire
Top five staycation destinations by county in 2020
- Whitby, North Yorkshire
- Bideford, Devon
- Newquay, Cornwall
- Windermere, Cumbria
- Cromer, Norfolk
2021 staycation inspo
For a truly unique holiday experience look no further than Preacher’s Rest in Grosmont, just seven miles inland from Whitby in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors. The Wesleyan chapel has been converted into a beautiful three-bedroom loft with original features of the chapel on display.
Top five counties with the biggest increase in staycation bookings in 2020
- West Sussex, 87.44%
- Cambridgeshire, 60.63%
- Lancashire, 60.02%
- Kent, 59.33%
- Cheshire, 57.62%
2021 staycation inspo
Disguised as a series of charming beach huts, this property sits on a private farm with access to an outdoor swimming pool and tennis court. Located in the village of Oving with easy access to Goodwood and the South Downs, this seaside themed holiday home is the perfect choice for the staycation of dreams.
Top ten most booked staycation properties in 2020
What were the most booked properties across the UK for the whole of 2020?
- Cwt Bach
- Ysgubor Nantcoy
- Powis Castle View
- Ty Isa
- 3 Bed Lodge
- Lovers’ Lodge
- Top Meadow
- The Chapel Po House
- Log Cabin in Scottish Borders
2021 staycation inspo
As cute as they come – this cosy studio for two is set in the tranquil North Wales countryside, just five miles from the nearest beach. Sit back in the private hot tub and enjoy the far-reaching views from your hidden garden.
Matt Fox, CEO at the REG, comments: In 2020 “many of us have explored parts of the UK we’ve never been to before which is a huge positive, as there are so many wonderful places to visit.”
Staycations statistics in the UK 2021
The staycation picture so far in 2021
At the start of the year, the UK was well into another national lockdown. Although domestic holidays were disrupted, people were still booking staycations and focusing on July and August, in hopes that these peak summer breaks would be allowed.
Top staycation locations people are booking
- Scottish Highlands
- Cumbria / Lake District
- Yorkshire Dales
PM Boris Johnson announces roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions on 22nd February 2021
- April breaks surge by 284%
- 12th April is the most popular booking date
- July and August bookings double
Boiris also announces the government’s four-step roadmap to ease restrictions across England. The most notable steps relating to travel were:
Step two, no earlier than 12th April
- Self-contained accommodation, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can reopen
- The rule of six or two households will apply indoors
Step four, no earlier than 21st June
- All legal limits on social contact can be removed
Minutes after the announcement, the REG’s bookings in July and August doubled compared to the previous week. The announcement also meant that earlier bookings were now possible. Bookings in April soared to 284% and April 12th became the most popular date to book, followed by April 16th.
Travel trends in the roadmap: Step two
With domestic travel permitted in this stage, the five most popular locations to book during step two are:
- North Yorkshire
But despite the 284% surge in April, there is still a higher chance of booking a popular holiday destination this month as it’s outside the summer months.
Matt comments: “In April there are 21% of breaks remaining in Cornwall, whilst in August there are just 13%.”
Travel trends in the roadmap: Step four
Confidence in domestic travel continues to grow. As social restrictions are expected to end, one of the REG’s leading brands, Snaptrip, found that:
- Bookings in July increase by 22% compared to bookings in June
- Group bookings after June 21st increase by 82%
- Growth of bookings below six decrease after June 21st
|Number of people||% increase / decrease|
|Group of 1||-16.95%|
|Group of 2||-31.73%|
|Group of 7||82.14%|
|Group of 8||117.91%|
|Group of 20||160.00%|
|Group of 21||68.67%|
|Group of 22||600.00%|
The REG’s large group accommodation provider, Big Cottages, also reveals a hike in group bookings come June 21st and into July.
|Number of people||% increase|
|Group of 9||73%|
|Group of 10||58%|
|Group of 12||88%|
|Group of 13||88%|
|Group of 18||250%|
|Group of 20||260%|
|Group of 22||600%|
Matt comments: “There has been a significant increase in large group bookings as we plan to socialise with our friends and family once again. Bookings for seven or more guests have been extremely popular, with a 188% increase in bookings for groups of eight and a 131% increase in bookings for groups of eleven As we move closer to the roadmap checkpoints and beyond, we only expect larger bookings to increase.
As we approach each stage of the roadmap, we also expect last-minute bookings to increase and we’ll be looking forward to the great British summer we hoped for.
Finally, when comparing 2021 to 2019, there is a 460% increase in bookings so far for 2021 for the summer holidays (August)”.
It’s safe to say that staycations among UK residents are here to stay.
Where to travel for group bookings in the UK this year
Below we have found the most popular locations for hen party locations, stag party locations and Christmas.
The top five hen party locations
The top five stag party locations
Top five locations for Christmas
- North Yorkshire