UK consumers are continuing to book staycations in 2023 despite the cost-of-living squeeze on household incomes and the opening up of international travel, according to a recent survey of 1,000 consumers.
The survey, on behalf of audit, tax and consulting firm RSM UK, found over a third (36%) of respondents are planning to take a short break of 1-4 days in the UK over the next 12 months (unchanged from 2022), whilst 28% of consumers are planning to take a long stay break of five or more days in the UK (down just 1% from 2022).
Across the generations, staycations proved to be particularly popular among the 35-44 age bracket – 47% of whom are planning a short break and 38% are planning a longer break in the UK. Families were also keen to book in plans for a UK break in 2023.
Chris Tate, partner and head of hotels and accommodation at RSM UK, said:
‘These findings will provide a great sense of optimism for the sector, which was hit hard by the various Covid restrictions, and as a result, experienced a lag in recovery. Consumers are making some hard choices when it comes to what they will spend their money on in 2023. But what is obvious is the UK staycation, be it a long weekend or an annual holiday, seems to be holding up when it comes to discretionary spend.
‘The reopening of China, and the attractive exchange rates for the UK pound for travellers from USA and Europe will help to boost inbound visitor numbers in the UK this year. Whilst business travel is on the up, it’s unclear whether corporate travel will ever recover to 2019 levels as hybrid working increasingly becomes the new norm.
On the leisure side, big draw events such as His Majesty the King’s coronation in May, the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, and major international sporting events throughout the year, will provide hotels and accommodation businesses with an opportunity to capture a share of spend from overseas travellers.
‘Whilst there is plenty for the UK staycation market to look forward to in the coming year, there are underlying challenges the sector will continue to face including staff shortages and rising costs.
‘It’s promising that the travelling intentions are there, but as the cost-of-living crisis carries on, this will continue to chip away at consumer confidence. Hotels, holiday parks and other UK accommodation providers will need to go back to basics and make the effort to understand the customer and what they want at the right price.
Maintaining a competitive edge to secure a share of spend will be more crucial than ever in 2023.’