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7 min read

How can my business take advantage of the staycation?

With millions of Brits set to holiday in the UK this year, many businesses in tourist hotspots will be keen to capitalise on the increased footfall. Equally, there will be opportunities for the entrepreneurially-minded to take advantage by starting their own money-making ventures. In this article, we’re taking a look at how you can position your business in the best possible way to make more money from the staycation trend. 

How has Covid-19 impacted travel plans?

With the government encouraging Britons to “holiday at home” and enjoy “great places” in the UK, while avoiding foreign travel, the great British staycation has understandably rocketed in popularity. Whether it’s a holiday spent elsewhere in the UK, or staying at home and making day trips to local attractions – millions are seeking new adventures and escaping their everyday, right here on home soil. 

Understandably, tourism has become the fastest growing industry in Britain. It is expected to expand by 3.8% a year up until 2025, accounting for 10% of all jobs. Inbound tourism to the UK has been estimated to be worth £50 billion to the economy, and is predicted to reach over £257 billion by 2025. So how can your business, or new business venture, take advantage of the staycation?

Is the staycation here to stay?

As the nation keeps calm and carries on, this ‘new normal’ of the staycation has encouraged Brits to explore their homeland with fresh eyes – appreciating the beauty of the British Isles more than ever. Regardless of vaccination, it’s likely many British tourists will take time to gather their confidence in traveling abroad again, particularly if staycation spots offer the same amount of relaxation, escapism and entertainment as a villa holiday in Spain would. 

Adapting your business or launching a new one to target the rise of the staycation is a move worth considering as we could be witnessing the beginning of a shift in how Brits plan their holidays for the foreseeable future. The emerging trend of staycations is a legacy from COVID that isn’t going anywhere

 

What businesses can take advantage of staycations?

If you’re a business in one of these sectors or delivering these services, it’s likely you’ll stand to benefit from the rise of staycation holidays. Equally, starting a business in one of these sectors could be a good bet. Click on the dropdown to reveal more key trends and insights.

  • Tourism and hospitality businesses

    Stating the obvious, the hospitality and tourism sectors are primed to benefit. Millions of holidaymakers are not only looking to explore the UK’s beauty spots and attractions, but escape their homes/scenes of lockdown in equal measure. Hotels, B&Bs, holiday cottages, hostels, camping/glamping sites, Airbnbs, etc, are in high demand. 

    According to Snaptrip, the 10 most popular locations overall in 2021 (% share of all bookings) are:

    1. Devon – 10%
    2. Cornwall – 8.75%
    3. Cumbria – 7.85%
    4. North Yorkshire – 7.15%
    5. Dyfed, South West Wales – 6.52%
    6. Powys, Mid Wales – 5.56%
    7. Norfolk – 5.2%
    8. Gwynedd, North West Wales – 4.9%
    9. Dorset – 4.1%
    10. Derbyshire 2.31%

    COVID’s impact on the hospitality industry has been particularly brutal, and with fewer tourists entering the UK from abroad, it’s fantastic to see staycations surge.

  • Cleaning services

    Hotels are taking extra measures to ensure everything is safe and hygienic for visitors and staff. One positive COVID test could mean temporary closure, lost revenue and in some cases, bankruptcy. With the likes of Hilton announcing its collaboration with Lysol, Dettol and Mayo Clinic to ensure their guests enjoy a worry-free stay, and Marriott creating a Cleanliness Council, with experts in infection prevention and food and water safety, this approach is quickly becoming the new normal in light of rising health standards. These measures will undoubtedly remain in place beyond the global pandemic. 

    Whether you have an existing cleaning business or are considering starting one, ensure you have conversations with local hospitality professionals. Ask them what their biggest pain points are, research any new standards that have come into place since COVID – assess the new normal and devise packages and your marketing strategy around making people feel safer as a result of your quality and conscientious service.

  • Campsites and camping equipment suppliers

    Campsite bookings are up 500% in some parts of the UK, while tents are selling out from outdoor equipment stockists as the country prepares for a summer of staycations.

    According to the campsite website, Cool Camping, Cornwall, the Lake District and New Forest are the most sought after locations, with some of the top campsites already fully booked over the August bank holiday weekend.

    Demand for camping holidays has also impacted sales of outdoor equipment. Camping equipment retailer Outdoor World Direct reports experiencing a higher level of demand than usual throughout March and April, with some equipment repeatedly selling out. Seen many tents on Facebook Marketplace recently? Exactly.

  • Beach Huts

    A beach hut in Dorset has sold for nearly a third of a million pounds. Situated in Mudeford Spit in Christchurch Harbour, the small hut measuring just 12ft by 10ft, sold for around £325,000 and attracted four potential buyers, two of whom did not view the property. For the same price, buyers could purchase a five-bedroom house in Hull.

    If you own a beach hut and have been considering selling it, now’s the time.

  • Doorstep deliveries

    While staycationers can enjoy being served at their favourite restaurant, pub, bar and café now, business owners might consider continuing with takeaway services that launched during lockdown, should anyone (not just tourists) wish to enjoy professionally-cooked food from the comfort of their accommodation. 

    With large scale events postponed or limited in numbers, many catering companies that were looking for an additional revenue stream have branched into doorstep deliveries also – from afternoon tea packages to celebration cakes (see case study below). 

    This enterprising spirit goes as far back as the supplier – for example, some fishermen/women whose restaurant orders were impacted during lockdown have restructured their business models to make home deliveries; a particularly popular approach amongst those who preferred to keep away from supermarkets during times of high infection rates. A great way to stay safe while supporting local businesses and supplying vulnerable people

  • Outdoor activities

    With COVID variants still in play, outdoor activities are still a more comfortable option for those exploring new areas of the UK or getting to know their hometown better. Hiking, surfing, rock climbing, orienteering, outdoor tours, open air theatres, outdoor markets – consider your target audience and how COVID might have changed their preferences, and what they’re most comfortable with. We’re all adapting to the new normal so it’s important to review how your business might need to adapt to fit a potentially altered target audience, even if it’s for the interim.

Can I launch a business to take advantage?

There are numerous new business ideas and options available to those looking to take advantage of increased staycations. Click on the dropdown to find out more. 

  • Airbnb

    Do you live in a popular staycation spot? Hosting your home on Airbnb opens up opportunities to meet your financial goals – whether it’s helping to pay your mortgage or generate additional income, superpower your savings or re-funnel back into another business. In addition, budget-minded travelers are increasingly turning to peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb for cheaper rates and the ‘home away from home’ experience. 

    In your marketing, don’t forget a large number of the population is still working remotely. Consider promoting your Airbnb as a ‘workacation’ also, to those who would simply like to work in a different setting and explore a new area during down time.

    Top tip: The 10 most desired features for UK staycations

    1. Beach nearby
    2. Pet friendly
    3. Hot tub
    4. Enclosed garden
    5. Pub nearby
    6. Games room
    7. Wi-Fi
    8. Swimming pool
    9. Luxury
    10. Secluded

    Read more: How to start an Airbnb business

  • Eco Mode

    The public’s experience through COVID has pushed many to reconsider and reconnect with their local natural environment. Initiatives like Natural Britain are re-imagining travel in the British Isles, claiming that: “Suddenly, and without warning, we have seen what nature can be without crowds and pollution. And we now have a chance to begin again. To start at domestic level and show how tourism can work everywhere. We’ve sifted through the mass market offerings and selected a handful of authentic and responsibly operated experiences in the British Isles. From wild swimming off hidden beaches in north-west Scotland, to sky-running amongst Snowdonia’s mountain giants…”

    If you already work in the UK tourism industry, could you be doing more to appeal to the public’s renewed interest in environmental matters that feel closer to home now? If you’re considering starting a small staycation business, could you consider an eco angle to meet growing public interest?

  • Street food

    Passionate about cooking? Sociable? A good knowledge of your local area and its tourism hotpots? With the right qualifications and licenses in place, you could quickly find yourself feeding hungry holidaymakers with delicious street food. The benefits of launching this type of venture is that you can always guarantee hunger (!). There’s also a steadily increasing demand for ready-to-eat food, low startup costs, low overheads, immediate cash income, low level of experience required, and you are your own boss. Be aware though – any type of catering is very hard work and can be extremely physically demanding. There are also stringent legal requirements that must be conformed with, in order to avoid significant fines.

    The amount of income you generate will depend on what you sell, where you sell it and how many hours you put in, so assess your market and location wisely and pick some crowd-pleaser dishes. (Are there any popular local dishes that tourists come to the area especially for?).Consider going that step further by offering a local cuisine cooking class.

  • Catering for self-catered

    Tourists who opt for self-catered accommodation tend to prefer the ‘home away from home’ holiday feeling, with greater flexibility around meal times, and increased privacy. But sometimes, they’d still like some of the benefits that come with larger resorts.

    • Are you a private chef?
    • Qualified beauty therapist?
    • Run pamper parties?

    Consider self-catered holiday homeowners in your marketing strategy. Could you partner with local holiday letting companies?

  • Souvenirs

    Crafty creators could consider designing a range of gifts that are tailored to their local hotspot – from personalised t-shirts, banners and mugs to coasters, keyrings and homeware.

    • Are there local markets that tourists frequent, which you could have a stall at?
    • Shops that would love to promote handmade products from a fellow local?

    Elevate your souvenirs beyond the usual – there are incredible machines that can assist in craft making such as Cricut machines and heat presses for all sorts of items. Do your market research before investing in the equipment:

    • What’s popular?
    • What would shops like to stock more of?

    Once you’ve refined your range, don’t forget the online market. Launch an Etsy shop alongside your local activity, create a Facebook business page and Instagram page. There’s so much you can do to sell your products – keep focused on where’s best to promote to staycationers then expand from there.

    Also consider the type of people you’re marketing to – many might own a camper van or tent – could you create items that might appeal to those who are road tripping or camping for their holidays?

  • Local travel blogger/vlogger

    Passionate about your local area? Confident? Love to write? Turn everything you love into your next career move by becoming a blogger/vlogger that specialises in your area.

    Attract staycationers with stunning photos and compelling content. Partner with local businesses to drive growth and exposure of your social accounts.

    Beware – this is a dream job for many and can be very competitive so do your research first and consider what makes yours unique e.g. could you focus on a key area such as culture and heritage, food, outdoor activities, family days out? Sometimes less is more. Staycationers are also increasingly looking to ‘travel like a local’, so make sure you use your insider knowledge to share hidden gems that only the locals really know about. Could you go that step further and offer tours that focus on your speciality e.g. A Foodie’s Tour of Padstow.

10 ways to take advantage of the staycation

Whether you’re just starting up or already running a business, here are 10 ways to put yourself in the best position to take advantage:

  1. Smart local marketing e.g. Consider local PPC (pay per click) campaigns that appear in search engines and target customers within a specific region (read our article on low cost marketing ideas)
  2. Ensure your website is optimised for local keywords
  3. Optimise social channels to promote location e.g. in bios and hashtags in posts
  4. Leaflet popular hotspots (ensure you organise a permit beforehand)
  5. Partner with local non-competitive businesses that have similar target audiences
  6. Sponsor tourist attractions/events (can be virtual)/advertise on popular tourism websites/social accounts
  7. Keep customers comfortable with COVID-compliant measures such as contactless payments, hand sanitiser, NHS QR code for your venue, etc
  8. Request a song on a local radio station and combine it with a business shout-out-!
  9. If we’ve learnt anything recently, it’s how to be resilient and adaptable. Trial ideas, split test products and marketing campaigns, speak to your customers. Keep learning about what staycationers want, what works best, then do more of it!
  10. Some outside-the-box new business ideas that are tailored to an influx of staycationers! Can you think of any more?
  • Hometown Tours – Think you know your hometown? Think again… 
  • Treats that staycationers can enjoy from home to make it feel more like a holiday e.g. gift a dog walker for a week, at-home cookery class, garden movie night, glamping experience in your garden. Or bring a holiday experience to your home e.g. Italian Night!
  • Beach hut cleaning service using eco-based products
  • Beach hut interiors makeover
  • Prosecco and pasties street food
  • Tongue-in-cheek staycation postcard photo booth

Case study: Connie & Cooper

Name: Connie & Cooper, Bespoke caterers and artisan bakers

COVID Impact: Big events, weddings and businesses C&C supplies wholesale to were all postponed or closed.

Adapting: “In April 2020, an order was placed to deliver cake boxes to a nursing team in Brighton so we decided to offer cake boxes on the same day for local delivery and we couldn’t believe how popular it was,” explains C&C co-owner Natasha Linstrem. “Lots of people wanted to send a gift or a pick-me-up to their friends and family that they couldn’t see. After that, we decided to do a monthly cake box delivery (Easter, Mother’s Day, etc) and especially in the lockdown months they were a massive hit.” 

Evolving: “We decided to start doing Afternoon Tea Boxes and Picnic Crates too and since last May they have been our biggest business. We have always made birthday cakes but we launched a new smaller size to accommodate birthdays being celebrated at home and in smaller groups.” 

Next Steps: “Two months ago we had to make the big decision as to whether to carry on with the Doorstep Deliveries once the larger events and weddings started up again. As it’s only Connie & myself who do the cooking it just isn’t possible for us to do it all and we didn’t want to offer a disjointed service when we only offered them on certain weekends when we didn’t have bigger bookings. We have taken a leap and decided we will carry on with our Doorstep Deliveries but reduced the days to weekends only, to do this we have taken on another person (my sister!) to assist with the weddings, which leaves Connie to focus on the smaller orders.” 

Have you taken advantage of increased staycations? “Last summer we partnered up with a campsite in Lewes (Willows) and we offer our Doorstep Deliveries direct to their tents! Again afternoon teas have been really popular and this year the campsite is really busy with people holidaying close to home.”

Connie & Cooper screenshot

In summary

Businesses can take advantage of the staycation through smart market research and marketing, a willingness to test and refine products/services for people whose requirements and outlook might have changed during the pandemic, and generally maintaining resilience and an ability to adapt to changing market conditions.

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