Hopes are high among hotel operators for another staycation boom this summer, with country and coastal hotels having reported occupancy levels of nearly 100% last August and, following the long winter months, demand this summer could exceed pre-Covid levels.
Hotels in England expect to reopen from 17 May, although dates are less clear across the devolved nations. According to market research firm Mintel, Brits are expected to spend an estimated £7.1b holidaying at home this summer, an increase of 22% on the £5.8b recorded in 2019.
"It's gone crazy," says Sacha Hale, director of sales and marketing at the 45-bedroom Heckfield Place hotel in Hampshire. "Assuming we are allowed to open on 17 May, that first week is almost full, and I think my reservations manager used the term ‘unprecedented demand'.
"The event demand is equally as crazy, particularly weddings. We've seen that pent-up demand for some time, lots of enquiries and lots of proposals, but because of the lack of information there was a hesitancy to confirm. But now that the roadmap has been outlined, post-21 June we're in for a very busy event season, which is so exciting. This is what we've been hoping for, for so long."
As well as seeing £15,000-£20,000 coming in per day in reservations since the roadmap was revealed, the four-red-AA-star, 46-bedroom Armathwaite Hall in Keswick, Cumbria, is also seeing its average guest stay period of two to three nights increasing to five-, six- and seven-night stays all the way to October.
Although Wales still has no reopening roadmap, Retreats Group general manager Paula Ellis is seeing bookings already starting to ‘trickle through' – and it's not just rural hoteliers that are feeling positive.
Muj Rana, owner of Manchester's 16-bedroom Cow Hollow hotel, is "quietly confident" of a good summer and "pent-up demand to go shopping, eat, drink and be shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow humans will just prove too strong a draw to cities". Aparthotel brand Locke, which has properties in London, Cambridge, Manchester and Edinburgh, saw a doubling in revenue from bookings almost as soon as the roadmap was announced.
For more on how hoteliers are preparing for the staycation boom, read the full feature here.
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