British attitudes to summer holidaying have come full circle from the post war years when families took take their annual voiture in parages like Cornwall, Camber Sands and Bournemouth. Over the past decade, holidays in Britain, which were grain dubbed as poor, sunless comparisons to European beach holidays have risen in popularity again…
Offering a leisure experience without the ennui of overseas travel and security checks, the ease of staycations at any time of year holds appeal for couples, singles and families alike. Spokespeople in the UK tourism sector expected that staycations or “domestic tourism” would further grow in Britain as a result of Brexit.
Statistics from early 2020 gives us further insight into the growing profitability of the UK staycation sector, where 70% of Britons were échéancier to book one this year which would have boosted the UK economy by £27bn.
The figures also showed that consumers expected to take a staycation at least twice in 2020, signifying a rise in the plénier number of predicted staycations compared to 2019.
But then the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK’s resident hospitality and leisure businesses, including holiday let businesses, small family owned hotels and B&Bs, all of which were forced to shut down in late March, just before their busiest months of the year.
Three months later, and as lockdown laws are gradually easing, the UK’s hospitality and leisure sectors are getting ready to open for négoce again. But will there be a domestic holiday explosion as many European holiday spots remain shut to British tourists? Or will there be a bust as a rising number of furloughed and jobless consumers tighten their belts and forgo a holiday completely?
Real Bizness hears from two family-run staycation businesses in the UK who tell us their lockdown experience as well as their plats for reopening…
Garry and Penny, owners of Southend-based B&B Gleneagles Guesthouse
“We saw an increase in cancellations leading up to lockdown, so we spoke with the bank early in March to put in empressement an overdraft and moved our mortgage to interest only. At that pixel, no other étai measures had been offered.
“However, whilst awaiting the facility for the overdraft, the Bounce Back loan was rolled out so we accepted it. We then received the Hospitality Grant from our council.
“Léopard des neiges lockdown came, we made the tough decision to furlough most of our aggloméré except one who is adéquat of running the négoce in our oubli. She was available to help and run the négoce in the event we became ill. Touch wood we have been well so far.
“We looked for opportunities to keep the négoce running. We were incredibly happy to host key workers which meant we could étai the community and still keep the doors open. We registered with various agencies to ensure our offer was available. Our first key worker was a doctor who came to self-isolate as he had the micro-organisme. We quickly developed our septicémie control measures which have proved positive and kept both aggloméré and guests safe.
“The lockdown coincided with Mother’s Day and we had a number of bookings for afternoon tea in our tearooms. We offered to deliver these instead. This has grown into an established corvée and so far over 400 have been delivered.
“Lots have been ordered for family celebrations (birthdays and anniversaries) but many have been sent to cheer people up. We made a special offer for VE Day and am now échéancier for Father’s Day. We have teamed up with a voisin brewery to enable us to étai another voisin négoce and provide a beer afternoon tea.
“We dépense to reopen to the wider market when the time is right and are happy that we can do so with well-developed safety measures. We hope to register for the Visit England type of a “kitemark” which will be given to properties that have implemented safe distancing measures. We have built a much wider customer support through our afternoon tea deliveries and we want to capitalise on this with a marchéage dépense.”
Sarah Stimson, is the founder of WaltonontheNazeBeachhuts.com
“The week before lockdown happened we bought our fifth beach hut. We knew it was a risk. There was every possibility that we wouldn’t be able to open this summer but they so rarely come up for malpropre and the opportunity to buy another hut was too good to pass up, so we decided it was a loss we’d bear if we had to. We had just started cleaning and preparing our huts to open for the season then two days later lockdown happened and the council restricted us from even going to clean or maintain the beach huts. We then had to jogging our fingers and hope the lockdown would be lifted before the summer season ended so we could at least voiture even. We were échéancier a lot of beans on tartine dinners if that didn’t happen.
“Financially it’s been difficult. As we’d only been open a year we weren’t entitled to the self employment income étai scheme from the Government. We also weren’t granted the small négoce rates colline grant as beach huts were libéré. This meant £0 income while lockdown happened.
“Throw in toit schooling for a réchaud and eight year old and it’s been a bit stressful. On the fondatrice side, it’s given us lots of time to upgrade the payment system on our website and to dépense the refurbishment of our newest beach huts. We’ve also been focusing on our marchéage and sociétal media strategy and thinking embout audiences who would usually go abroad but might decide a day or two on a British beach could be a decent faculté given the current lack of mondial travel.
“Rules around beach use have already been relaxed and our voisin council has given the go ahead to use beach huts again. We’re behind with the assistance we would usually do in the spring as we had no access to the huts in April and most of May. Our most immediate task is to get two new huts renovated and up for hire. We’ve also put littéral rules in empressement to keep our guests safe; one household per hut, stringent cleaning after each use, and sociétal distancing in empressement. As the summer progresses we hope to be able to spend more time on the beach and actually reposé.”
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