With demand for staycations soaring over the last 18 months, recent figures suggest that the UK is set for another record-breaking year of domestic travel as the threat of new Covid variants threaten international travel.
Independent Cottages has reported a 170% increase in website traffic between December 28 2021 and January 9 2022 compared to the same period last year and a 200% increase in booking enquiries.
With the Omicron variant posing yet another challenge to the travel industry, and European countries closing their doors to UK tourists indefinitely, many Brits will be looking for an alternative getaway destination amidst the uncertainty.
Data from Independent Cottages indicates that, for many, the home-soil love affair will prevail once again, and people will continue to support the domestic travel sector through the next 12 months.
When are people looking to travel?
While the summer months are typically thought of as more popular for UK breaks, Independent Cottages is currently witnessing more bookings for quarter one this year than any other period.
Interestingly, one in eight (12%) of all bookings over the last week have been for breaks during January, which could be a result of many families delaying their Christmas celebrations due to rising Coronavirus cases.
Although 40% of all enquiries have been for bookings up to April this year, the company also reports strong early interest in holidays during the summer, with 30% of enquiries being for these good weather months.
Steve Jarvis, co-founder of Independent Cottages, explains: “Last summer saw huge demand for UK holidays, with demand often far exceeding supply, and everyone that I speak to in the industry agrees that 2022 will be another busy year. However, some holidaymakers are likely to face the same availability problems as last year if they leave it too late to book.”
“Prior to Coronavirus, the booking trend for UK holidays was becoming more and more last minute, but this has changed, and people are booking their UK holidays well in advance. This is partially due to UK holidays being the only option for many during 2020/21 but also because a lot of people have since been impacted and disappointed by cancelled foreign holidays due to variants such as Omicron.”
Echoing this, the company has reported a marked increase in bookings for Christmas 2022. Coupled with the change in Brits’ booking habits, this could be as a result of more insurance providers now covering Coronavirus as part of their domestic holiday insurance compared to the start of the pandemic, with some family travel policies offering financial protection for around £10 per person.
Popular staycation destinations of 2022
As staycations have been the only option for many during the last two years, it is unsurprising that interest in this type of holiday remains high for 2022, and it is the Lake District that is currently the most popular destination so far this year.
Of holidays booked in the first week of 2022, 8% have been for this area, with the Peak District and Cotswolds following in joint second place and accounting for 7% of bookings each, according to Independent Cottages.
Interestingly, the Northwest English National Park is actually twice as popular as tourist hotspot Cornwall for bookings made over the last week, with Cornwall only accounting for 4% of holidays booked this year so far.
Cornwall has been incredibly popular with UK holidaymakers over the last two years and, in February last year, the holiday cottage booking site found that 60% of their Cornwall holiday homes had already been booked for the most popular weeks of summer 2021.
The recent data from Independent Cottages suggests another positive year for the UK travel market with holidaymakers’ interest being at a record-high for the first week of the year. This, coupled with the warmer months approaching, suggests that there will be even more growth within this market in the coming months.