According to a recent study by price comparison website MoneySuperMarket, more than a fifth (22%) of families aren’t planning a summer holiday this year, with around two thirds (65%) citing cost as the main obstacle.
However, the website’s survey of 2,000 UK adults with children aged between five and 16 found that of the families planning a holiday, more than a third (39%) are opting for a staycation as opposed to going abroad.
Almost half (45%) of those claimed it was too expensive to venture overseas with close to a third (35%) stating they preferred a cheaper option within the UK.
What’s more, around a quarter claimed they’ve always gone on UK-based holidays and wanted to continue the tradition with 20% said travelling with children on aeroplanes was too difficult.
Regardless of motive, the rise of the staycation is music to pub operators’ ears – with around 5,700 UK pubs offering accommodation according to pub accommodation guide Stay in a Pub.
According to Mark Fulton, who heads Fuller’s 2019 Publican Award-winning accommodation arm as head of hotels operations, UK visitors represent 72% of the pubco’s online bookings as Brits increasingly use pubs as a platform from which to explore the countryside.
“We’ve recognised the growing trend for staycations and think our pubs and hotels with Beautiful Bedrooms are the perfect base from which to explore the south of England,” he explained.
“From cycling in the South Downs, to walking in the New Forest, family staycations on the Jurassic Coast or soaking up culture in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
“We also have a new campaign and a new website aimed at promoting the amazing experiences customers can have in our pubs with rooms and hotels, and in the surrounding countryside and cities.”
It’s an area the company is looking to expand into further. According to chief executive Simon Emeny, who in April 2019 told The Morning Advertiser the £250m sale of Fuller’s brewing and drinks business to Asahi will help move towards a long-standing target of 1,000 bedrooms across Fuller’s estate, which boasted 813 rooms in February this year.
Driving site investment
“We have seen a steady year-on-year rise in family bookings over the summer months, which is certainly indicative of the staycation’s rise in popularity,” Sean Donkin, managing director of north-east based The Inn Collection Group, explained.
“Holidaying in the UK makes it easier for families to travel, is less stressful for those travelling with children or babies – and more and more people want to bring the family dog along too.
"We’ve got units in tourism hot spots in Northumberland, County Durham, North Yorkshire and Cumbria where there are amazing world-class visitor attractions and top-drawer scenery including beaches, lakes, islands, castles and fells.”
Donkin, whose 10-strong Inn Collection Group portfolio includes the King’s Head Inn in Newton under Roseberry, Cleveland – a finalist in the 2019 Great British Pub Awards’ Best for Families category – added: “Family room sales are up by 17% at some units compared to the same period last year, while across the group the total number of family room bookings is up 5%.
“We are also seeing an increase in multi-generational families and extended family groups choosing to holiday together in the UK. It’s a great market for the pub trade to tap into.
“We’ve been quick to respond to this growing sector by ensuring we have the product and facilities to attract and accommodate the family market.
“We recently purchased adjoining premises to our County Durham unit, the Seaton Lane Inn and refitted this into additional family rooms, while at our Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick in Northumberland, we’ve increased the number of larger family rooms sleeping up to six in response to demand.
“We’ve invested over £100,000 in a new play barn at the King’s Head Inn in Cleveland to enhance our offer for families, while we ensure there’s a wide range of family-friendly dishes, drinks and products for families, including new Walk Inn breaks for families to enjoy self-guided walks in the stunning scenery around our inns.
“We’ve also made all of our units dog-friendly, with designated dog-friendly rooms and areas where dogs are welcome in our bar and dining areas to accommodate the rise in the number of customers visiting with their pets.”