Britain is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination. Outbound tourism has remained more or less flat, while domestic tourism has been increasing since 2008.
Our rich heritage and natural treasures are a timeless magnet for visitors from abroad. In recent years, they have also become increasingly attractive to domestic holidaymakers. Short break vacations around the country are more popular than ever. The media has coined a catchphrase for the phenomenon – the rise of the ‘staycation’.
Analysts are trying to dissect the trend – is the increase of staycations:
● a symptom of the recession
● due to the huge backlog in passport applications
● the impact of visit England’s “Wallace and Gromit”marketing campaign?
The most significant factor in the increasing demand for staycations appears to be demographic. Younger people are taking more short breaks in the UK to compensate for lower levels of disposable income. The 55+ generation still prefer to travel abroad, but are inclined to take additional short trips within the UK. This trend is set to continue for the next few years – asked about their future travel intentions, many who have taken domestic holidays due to financial reasons are planning to continue taking staycations – even when their income level increases.
People have been pleasantly surprised by the improved standards found at many UK hotels. Quality accommodation forms the cornerstone of a successful holiday – and therein lies the challenge and the opportunity for today’s eco-tourism entrepreneurs. The key to making the current staycation trend last beyond the recession is to underpin ‘destination cool Britannia’ with high quality, unique, eco-friendly hotels that provide excellent service, great eco-features and which capture the imagination.
Think outside the box
A well-run, traditional hotel that keeps up to date with a regular schedule of maintenance and refurbishment can still hold its own. However, there is always room for improvement.
Today’s savvy travellers are expecting high standards and ecological design, as well as superior service. Access to the internet is also of primary importance, as is an integrated online booking facility.
Concept hotels such as Sweden’s ice-hotel or tropical tree-house lodges are at the top end of the scale – where the hotels themselves become the destination. You don’t have to go to such extremes to stand out from the crowd. Often, it is the little things that count:
● Sourcing local foods for your restaurant.
● Providing a unique play area for the children.
● A dry room for cycling and walking gear.
However, the most essential ingredient to making your business ‘future proof’ is ecological design. The former ‘niche’ market of responsible tourism is rapidly becoming the new standard and, in just three more years, energy saving and CO2 reduction will become a legal requirement. Planning ahead now will ensure that your business will not just survive, but thrive, now and in the future.
If you build it with the future in mind, they will come, come again, and recommend you to their friends too.
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