What is a staycation?
The word staycation is the combination of “stay” and “vacation.” To put it simply, it’s a short leisure trip close to where you live. It’s also used to describe a holiday spent in one’s country rather than abroad. This expression first appeared during the 2008 financial crisis and became popular in the following years, mainly in the UK. Fast forward to 2020, and the COVID-19 crisis has brought global travel to a halt. After analyzing recent data, it appears that staycations are here to stay, and with them come a variety of opportunities for both businesses and hospitality professionals.
How and why is this phenomenon rising?
A 2018 study by YouGov Omnibus revealed that 54% of Americans had gone on a staycation at least once. More recently, according to a study conducted by UK Hospitality, nearly 70% of UK inhabitants plan on taking a staycation in 2020. The fact is, despite the confinement, UK tourism businesses are witnessing a 40% increase in website traffic.
Staycations are on the rise, mainly because of two factors. First of all, it’s a very sustainable way of traveling and experiencing hospitality. Of course, you aren’t traveling far, so your carbon footprint is much smaller than if you were flying. But it isn’t only about pollution; it’s about caring for and enriching your community, experiencing new things in your direct environment, and participating in your region or country’s growth.
Also, these close to home trips tend to be much cheaper than vacations on the other side of the world. And since the COVID-19 crisis has forced many countries to close their borders, some of us don’t have a choice, so why not explore and enjoy your local area?
How are staycations an opportunity for businesses?
In the UK, domestic travel is expected to bounce back to normal much faster than international arrivals. Oxford Economics expects a return to previous levels in 2021, compared to international arrivals, which are expected to return to normal in 2023 at least. This trend will probably be replicated in all countries affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and therefore, the travel industry is starting to adapt.
As a hotel or restaurant manager, you can jump on the staycation train by offering your clients local-oriented activities such as museum visits, unique dining experiences, and trips to landmarks. This is an opportunity for you to further push your community engagement by creating partnerships with nearby restaurants and businesses that can attract local visitors. Overall, the staycation trend can be profitable for invested hospitality businesses that are willing to develop and focus their attention on expanding their domestic client base. Small scale hotels and business owners are already open to short-distance partnerships, and as recent data from the UK and Europe hints, this trend is likely to continue.
Olivier Ponti, Vice President of insights at ForwardKeys declared in a CNBC interview that staycations could be the only solution for many families. He went on to say that “people may look at short-haul trips over long-haul because it’s an environment they know better.”
How are staycations an opportunity for hospitality professionals?
As students in hospitality, professionals beginning their career, or established members of the hospitality industry, we’re all subject to our market and clients’ changing needs. Due to the impact of COVID-19, it’s clear that in the near future, hospitality will be focused on national tourism.
As a hospitality professional, now is the right moment to invest time and effort into your community to contribute to the development of the region you love. Increase your knowledge of the area and specialize in offering tailored, local experiences for guests. The result of learning more about the environment that surrounds you will make you a more desirable and qualified professional.
Staycations are on the rise, and it’s an opportunity for everyone to create meaningful experiences while staying in their area to discover landmarks, restaurants, hotels, and boutiques. Hospitality professionals are starting to adapt to this trend and invest more time than ever in their community. The future of travel will be more local-oriented, and you can jump on board right now!