Summer season vacation scarcity looming as Britain’s accommodations and self catering ebook up months upfront
“Inquiries for our properties are twice as high this time last year,” said Claire Wills, editor of the Cool Stays property website. “Many places are already fully booked with guests who either couldn’t travel in 2020 or who are securing a summer vacation after struggling to get away last year.”
It’s not just hotels and holiday apartments that are in danger of being fully booked. Drifters Waterways Holidays, which accounts for just over half of the UK rental boat market, saw bookings up this year – a 15 percent increase over what was “a good year at the time”. .
“The majority of our customers were very loyal in 2020 and chose to postpone their vacation to 2021 instead of canceling it, which means availability will be very limited in a few weeks,” said Debbie Walker, a company spokeswoman . “Easter is already around 80 percent booked in many of our bases. We expect to be pretty booked up for the rest of the spring, summer, and early fall seasons. “
The near certainty of a rush in bookings after the lockdown is another factor: “Last year, bookings for the summer vacation tripled in the days immediately following the prime minister’s announcement that the restrictions would be relaxed,” said Mike Bevens, general manager from Sawday’s and Canopy & Stars. “We expect the same trend this year – appointment bookings for 2021 are already significantly higher than in the previous year, our record year, and in December they are over 180 percent above the previous year’s figure.
For many UK tour operators, the prospect of a sold-out summer is a welcome relief, but there are concerns about disappointing hopeful vacationers.
“We had people on the phone begging for rooms when we had none, which was difficult,” said Danny Dagan, owner of Belvue Guesthouse Holy Island on Lindisfarne, of the booking boom after the first lockdown last year. “One person even asked if they could camp in our garden.”
“My bookings for 2021 are looking healthy,” said Helen Massey, owner of Runswick Bay Cottages in North Yorkshire, “but of course a lot of these are from people I had Covid cancellations in 2020. That means these guests. ” Anyone expecting to make new bookings from spring 2021 may find that many appointments are already taken – so much so that I am now panicking guests who have missed their slots and want to reserve appointments for 2022 and some for 2023. ”
“There is real uncertainty about traveling abroad and people want a short break in the UK to be something to look forward to. The staycation vibe – in Yorkshire for sure – really took off as people realize we have so much to offer. What people don’t realize, however, is that the supply of a traditional seaside vacation home is minimal at my location. If people don’t plan ahead, they’ll miss out. “
This only applies to places like Cornwall, which has long been a favorite with British vacationers. “We’ve already taken 60 percent of the reservations for a typical year, and important weeks like Easter, the half-semester of May, July and August are now 75 to 80 percent booked,” said Andrew Easton, managing director of Beach Retreats in Cornwall. One of Cornwall’s most popular hotels, the Nare has confirmed it will have 25 percent more bookings for 2021 than last year.
Booking early is the overwhelming advice of the majority of those in the industry: “A lot of people are booking now, but more are holding fires to see what happens. We predict a sudden tipping point where stays will sell out within a few days as the restrictions lift become clearer, ”said Cat Jones, founder of Byway Travel.
The message is clear. If you are counting the days until you can leave for the summer vacation, book them now or risk missing out.