Pubs benefiting from 'staycation' trend

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Tourist destinations: holidaymakers in the UK are seeking out pubs with rooms after complications with international travel
Tourist destinations: holidaymakers in the UK are seeking out pubs with rooms after complications with international travel

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With Brits found to be looking for beach and country escapes closer to home this summer, pubs have risen to the opportunity for more domestic holiday trade according to organisations representing the tourism sector.

Anxiety about international travel and a series of quarantine orders on popular holiday destinations has seen many holiday goers turn to breaks within the UK.

Steven Alton, chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) said the trend had benefited pubs in food and drink sales as tourists visited beauty spots and tourism hotspots.

Increased demand

Alton said: “As UK holidaymakers are staying closer to home, some of our members in seasonal locations have seen an increased demand for their venues.

"For those with large gardens, where the weather is kind, they will hopefully be able to cater for the additional customers, but with social distancing remaining at 1m, there will be a capacity issue for many pubs.”

Alton predicted that BII members with rooms and attached campsites would experience a further surge in bookings in the weeks to come following quarantine orders. 

The UK has imposed a 14-day quarantine order on holidaymakers returning from countries with rising infections, including Spain and its islands, The Bahamas, and Belgium.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he would “not hesitate” to bring in quarantine for other countries, with France earmarked to be the next.

“Our members have ensured their venues are safe and have risen to the challenge of adapting and diversifying their businesses,” Alton added.

“To ensure that they get the best chance of attracting those customers, we would urge all pubs to take a look at their online presence, ensuring opening hours and menus are up-to-date.

"Customers are increasingly using the internet to decide where to go, and with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme this month, being seen online will be key to maximising their potential,” Alton said.

Accommodation website Stay in a Pub experienced a 104% increase in traffic versus the previous month and an 18% increase vs the same period last year, since pubs were permitted to reopen on 4 July. 

Interest shifts

Additionally, Stay in a Pub witnessed a 43% increase in domestic enquiries compared to the same time last year. Interest has also risen among younger age groups, with 494% and 112% increases from 18 to 25 and 25 to 34 year olds respectively.

Founding director of Stay in a Pub, Paul Nunny, said: “This indicates a significant switch from European holiday destinations to ‘staycations’ based in pubs particularly amongst younger age groups. This is a great opportunity for pubs as any lost inbound tourism has been more than made up with domestic uptake”.

Holidaymakers are searching the site for beach holidays, dog friendly breaks and country escapes. 

North Yorkshire and Cornwall have remained the top two destinations as per 2019 but Wales has experienced an uptick in interest, especially Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd. 

However, big cities London and Cambridge have dropped off the website’s top 20 destinations this year with a 75% and 31% dip in traffic to pubs in these city locations normally popular with inbound tourists.

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