By Karim Malak, CEO of easyHotel (www.easyhotel.com)
Data shows that 83% of those who took a staycation in 2021 hope to do so again in 2022, and we saw this happen in April when 7.4 million Britons took an Easter break. Super-budget hotels provide a great way to maintain the UK staycation boom by providing families and other travellers an affordable option when budgets are under pressure.
During summer 2020, we saw Covid restrictions ease but with many countries worldwide still under restrictions – including England’s two closest neighbours – residents flocked to the once-neglected beauty spots for much-needed staycation breaks. The benefits that staycations provided the country with were remarkable, not just for the tourism industry, but for our environment and saving consumers money.
The explosion of domestic bookings led to a 64% growth in overnight tourism spending, compared to 2020, which equated to a £16bn injection into the UK tourism industry. People were also able to travel in a much more sustainable and cost-effective way, spending less money on long-distance flights.
Maintaining this momentum is key for the industry and affordable hotel stays will help entice customers to stay in the UK, especially given the wave of new struggles this year which decrease consumers’ ability to spend on extras like travel. Inflation rates are the highest in 30 years and the average price of groceries, fuel and energy are set to increase throughout the next 12 months.
Hoteliers need to meet the changing needs of the customer by offering affordable accommodation in the super budget sector.
Travellers they need to consider fall into three categories:
The Budget-Conscious Traveller
Hoteliers will need to think about offers to entice customers during the economic downturn and budget hotels are well placed to do this. A survey in October 2021 found that 71% of consumers with a household income under £15,500 said they would take fewer holidays if these became more expensive . More than ever, hotels will need to appeal to lower-budget households with affordable prices at a time when international holidays may be off the cards. The ability to provide special deals for events and milestones from Jubilee to Christmas will be paramount in the success of this.
The Environmentally Focused Traveller
Environmentally focused travellers will be key to maintaining the staycation boom, as 58% of travellers are thinking more about sustainability since the pandemic and 68% aren’t planning to fly domestically or internationally on their next trip. Guests are looking for hotels which factor the environment into every aspect, from their operations to their construction, to using recycled material to build their beds. Budget hotels are tailored to this as they focus on minimalistic design and output, as well as being well-located across the UK to entice the domestic traveller. Domestic tourism in general is great for the hospitality industry.
The Budget-Discerning Traveller
The need to make up for lost experiences during lockdown has led to travellers becoming more discerning of what they spend their money on. More than just a place to rest their heads, people want to spend their time and money on meaningful experiences when budgets are under pressure. Budget hotels can offer an affordably option for the consumer with deliver on this well-connected hotels close to the attractions, restaurants and culture that cities have to offer, but at a reasonable cost which enables guests to spend their money-making memories.
When considering staycation momentum this year, hoteliers need to think about how best to appeal to their audiences and cater to their needs as well as their own. Thinking about the budget-conscious, the environmentally focused and the budget-discerning will be vital for making sure everyone has the opportunity to not only afford a holiday, but to have an exciting and experiential one.