Rise of the WORKATION: Britons block-book month-long holiday stints
Rise of the WORKATION: Britons are block-booking month-long stints in rental cottages and cabins with broadband to mix their summer holiday while WFH
- Breaks of up to five weeks in UK holiday hotspots such as Cornwall and Yorkshire are being reserved
- People are using flexibility of working from home during pandemic to combine this with a trip away
- Far more intergenerational trips are being planned with families hoping to go away with grandparents
Families are booking month-long stays in rental cottages, cabins and caravans with advertised broadband to go on a long term-holiday in Britain while working remotely in what is being dubbed the rise of the ‘workation’.
Breaks of up to five weeks in holiday hotspots such as Cornwall and Yorkshire are being reserved, with some people using the flexibility of working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic to combine this with a trip away.
Experts are also seeing far more intergenerational trips being planned with families hoping to go away with grandparents, having not been able to see them very much – or, in some cases, at all – over the past year.
Welcome to Yorkshire said people were looking to extend their break by working remotely, while Visit Cornwall said lots of its hotels are seeing stays of a fortnight being booked up, which is far longer than normal.
Sykes Cottages is offering a wide range of properties under a section of its website called ‘holiday cottages with broadband internet access’, while Holiday Cottages has a similar section online for ‘cottages with wifi’.
LAKE DISTRICT: This one-bedroom cottage in Bowness with broadband is available for £704 a week during the summer holidays and features a dining table where you and someone else could work from home for a period in a countryside setting
PEAK DISTRICT: This beautiful lodge at South Wingfield in Derbyshire with broadband is available for £796 a week during the summer holidays this year and also features a hot tub and open fire for the evenings once you’ve put the laptop away
CORNWALL: This cottage with broadband in the Cornish village of East Taphouse offers a cosy setting for home working in a pretty kitchen, and also comes with a barbecue for the evenings. It is available for £996 a week during the summer holidays
Prices are also rising, with a spokesman for Habitat Escapes saying: ‘Substantial demand to stay at our rental homes in Dorset and the Cotswolds has led to a small increase in prices. This is to ensure that we can continue to employ all of our expert teams and build further facilities to enable UK consumers to enjoy holidays at home.’
James Mason, of Welcome to Yorkshire, told the Daily Telegraph: ‘People have been working from home therefore the physical hard stop that used to be leave work on a Friday and put on the out of office isn’t as hard as it was.’
Visit Cornwall’s Malcolm Bell said: ‘A lot of our hotels are saying they are seeing stays of a fortnight being booked up, which is far longer than normal. A camping and mobile home site has even seen bookings of five weeks.’
Travel industry hopes for surge in demand when pandemic eases
Derek Jones, chief executive of luxury travel firm Kuoni
The travel industry is anticipating a spike in demand once coronavirus restrictions ease, after a year in which the sector was decimated.
Tens of thousands of jobs were lost in 2020 as a result of trips being cancelled due to the virus crisis. But there is believed to be a huge amount of pent-up demand for travel once restrictions are eased.
Derek Jones, chief executive of luxury travel firm Kuoni, said many people are ‘very optimistic’ about being able to travel from the second half of 2021. He said: ‘A lot of people are very optimistic about the world returning to normal, certainly if you start to go more than six months out.
‘Even in the deepest part of the crisis that we’re in at the moment, we’ve still got people booking holidays for autumn 2021, lots of bookings for the first half of 2022, and even some people booking into 2023. The appetite and the demand is still there. If you put the right conditions in place, people will still book with you.’
One Kuoni customer whose holiday plans have repeatedly been scuppered by the crisis has amended their booking nine times, rather than claim a refund. Mr Jones described him as an ‘eternal optimist’ who is an ‘indicator of the ambitions that people still have to travel, and to have something to look forward to’.
He said it is crucial to provide travellers with specific information relating to their destination and reassurance that they will not be out of pocket if circumstances change. ‘I think some of that will stick, certainly in the medium term,’ he predicted.
‘I think health and hygiene requirements and regulation will be applied now to travel, probably for the foreseeable future. I do see a day in the long-term where we are beyond this, and then I think things return broadly speaking to normal, but that does seem to be still quite some way off.
Aviation consultant John Strickland said the sector has experienced ‘a number of permanent changes’ due to the pandemic.
He believes some business travel will ‘disappear permanently’ as firms make use of video conferencing technology, cost savings and the opportunity to promote their green credentials. He does not expect the reduction in capacity to be fully reversed for a number of years, particularly on long-haul routes.
Airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have cut their route network and retired some of their older, larger planes in favour of quieter, more fuel-efficient aircraft. Mr Strickland expects the return of air travel to be ‘patchy’, with short-haul flights being the first to experience a return of passengers.
There was a ‘real boost’ when the UK eased its quarantine requirements for travellers returning to the UK from certain destinations, with a ‘massive spike in demand’ for the Canary Islands.
‘Several airlines used this as an example in their quarterly investor releases,’ Mr Strickland said. ‘You see airlines talking about searches going up phenomenally within hours of new Government statements about relaxation of quarantines. I think there will be desire.’
Meanwhile British families planning an Easter staycation are facing soaring prices of rental cottages with some coming in at three times higher than a fortnight earlier.
Center Parcs, Haven and Butlin’s have all hiked prices for Easter as they plan to reopen in March despite concerns that England’s lockdown will still be in place.
But Britons desperate for some respite from the coronavirus crisis are looking closer to home as fears mount over the future of foreign holidays this summer.
It comes as passengers arriving in England from high-risk coronavirus hotspots look set to be made to quarantine in hotels to limit the spread of new variants.
Boris Johnson has discussed the proposals – designed to ensure people follow self-isolation rules – with senior ministers at the ‘Covid Operations’ committee.
Holiday operators regularly hike prices for Easter to make the most of high demand, but this year it seems extremely high compared to a few weeks before.
At Butlin’s Bognor Regis in Somerset for example, a Gold Apartment for four people is on offer for a week from March 19 for £318, but £1,353 from April 2 – an increase of £1,035 or 325 per cent.
The same room is available for a week from July 12 for £1,048 – rising to £1,701 from July 26, after the summer holidays start, an increase of £653 or 62 per cent.
Butlin’s is currently offering summer holidays for ‘£270 per break’. At the same point last year, an archived version of its website shows it was offering summer summer holidays ‘from £235 per break’. This means its minimum price is up £35 or 15 per cent at the same point this year.
Meanwhile at Center Parcs in Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire, a two-bed Woodland Lodge for seven nights from March 19 for £978, while from April 2 it is £2,498 – a rise of £1,520 or 155 per cent.
The same accommodation at the site for seven nights this summer is £1,608 from July 12 or £2,178 from July 26 – an increase of £570 or 35 per cent.
As for Haven, a standard caravan for seven nights at its Riviere Sands resort in Cornwall is on sale from March 19 for £186 or from April 2 for £502 – a rise of £316 or 170 per cent.
Looking ahead to summer, the same property for the same time length is £623 from July 12 or £1,218 from July 26 – a difference of £595 or 96 per cent.
However Haven pointed out that looking at the on-sale price of 2020 deluxe accommodation breaks on January 26 last year compared with 2021 breaks today, the Easter weekend is currently 26 per cent cheaper in 2021 compared to 2020 – and the first week of the firm’s peak period is 3 per cent cheaper year-on-year.
There are also fears prices could rise further if the VAT cut for hospitality and staycation accommodation from 20 to 5 per cent ends as planned on March 31.
As for Airbnb, a cottage in Portesham, Devon, is going for £737 for seven nights from March 20, but £889 from April 3 – a difference of £152 or 21 per cent.
A barn via the same website in Helston, Cornwall, is up for £973 for a week from March 20, or £1,068 from March 3 – a difference of £95 or 10 per cent.
On Sykes Cottages, a three-bedroom cottage just 50 metres from the beach is available in Angelsey, North Wales, from Good Friday for a week over Easter for £1,095, compared to £507 for the week before.
Meanwhile a survey found most Britons have come to terms with not going abroad in the foreseeable future, with only 12 per cent planning to do so.
The figures haven’t moved much from summer and autumn last year. They peaked in July when 17 per cent of people planned to go abroad.
The polling by YouGov found younger people are still more likely to say they’re going on holiday abroad.
One in six 18-24-year-olds (16 per cent) said they had plans to do so, compared with 9 per cent of those aged 65 and older. But the number of people hoping to enjoy a domestic trip in the next six months is lower now (29 per cent) compared with in July (45 per cent) last year.
A Haven spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Following the challenges that 2020 provided in terms of holidays, we have seen guests looking to take a break on the British coast when lockdown is lifted.
YORKSHIRE DALES: Those heading to Yorkshire on holiday could do a lot worse than this stone-built hideaway available for £788 during the summer holidays which features two tables in the kitchen/diner area which could be used for home working
NORTHUMBERLAND: This Grade II-listed retreat lodge in Fenwick near Ponteland with a church-style entrance hall is a beautiful setting for home working and is available during the summer holidays for £862 a week and has a feature fireplace
DEVON: This chocolate-box thatched cottage at Chagford is surrounded by fields in Dartmoor and is available for £1,139 a week in the summer holidays. People might enjoy remote working next to the large window doors opening out into the garden
‘We saw an uplift in bookings during the autumn and early winter of 2020 which saw sales 40 per cent ahead of where they would normally be for the time of year.
Holiday price hikes at Butlin’s, Center Parcs and Haven sites
(These figures were found yesterday for a family of four staying for a week)
BUTLIN’S – BOGNOR REGIS
Gold Apartment; 2-bed, sleeps four
- March 19 – £318
- April 2 – £1,353
- Difference: £1,035 – 325%
- July 12 – £1,048
- July 26 – £1,701
- Difference: £653 – 62%
CENTER PARCS – WOBURN FOREST
Woodland Lodge; 2-bed; sleeps four
- March 19 – £978
- March 29 – £2,498
- Difference: £1520 – 155%
- July 12 – £1,608
- August 2 – £2,178
- Difference: £570 – 35%
HAVEN – RIVIERE SANDS
Standard caravan; 2-bed, sleeps four
- March 19 – £186
- April 2 – £502
- Difference: £316 – 170%
- July 12 – £623
- July 26 – £1,218
- Difference: £595 – 96%
‘As it stands, Haven parks will reopen to holidaymakers on Friday. March 12 and we have already sold a third of our available holidays for 2021 with May half term having sold over 50 per cent of available breaks.
‘Whilst we have not yet experienced the pre pandemic sales of last January, we have seen a significant increase in bookings in the last week.
‘We expect this trend to continue but also envisage that bookings will increase as lockdown measures are reduced. When this happened in 2020, we saw a 150 per cent increase in online bookings against the same period the previous year.’
And a Center Parcs spokesman said: ‘We have seen a significant increase in bookings and interest in Center Parcs breaks recently.
‘Our bookings for 2021, in particular from May onwards, are very strong and ahead of the same time last year. Whilst we expect demand for a UK break to remain high, it is clear that people want reassurance about the flexibility to cancel or change dates.
‘Our Book with Confidence guarantee allows our guests to book their break now, safe in the knowledge that they will be able to change dates with no fee or receive a full no quibbles refund should they no longer be able to, or feel comfortable to, go ahead with their break when the time arrives.
‘We will only reopen once we are satisfied that we can safely do so and we continue to follow all government guidance in terms of providing a safe environment for people to enjoy a short break.’
She added that its five UK villages were closed until at least February 18, but this was not a confirmed reopening date.
A Butlin’s spokesman said: ‘We have seen an increase in demand for bookings, particularly into May half term and the summer holidays, and we expect this trend to continue as more guests look to holiday in the UK.
‘Our three resorts are closed until at least March 1, though this isn’t a confirmed reopening date.
‘We are monitoring government restrictions closely and will continue to update our guests if there are any changes to their break. It is clear to see holidaymakers want something to look forward to once the current restrictions are eased.
‘With our best ever entertainment line-up plus our Butlin’s Promise, which includes no quibble refunds and no fee date changes, we’re looking forward to welcoming guests back to Butlin’s this year.’
It comes as airline bosses are demanding that the Government provides an ‘urgent road map for the reopening of air travel’.
The chief executives of British Airways, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic were among those to sign a joint letter ahead of an expected announcement confirming the introduction of quarantine hotels for arriving travellers.
At Center Parcs in Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire, a two-bed Woodland Lodge for seven nights from March 19 for £978, while from April 2 it is £2,498 – a rise of £1,520 or 155 per cent
At Butlins Bognor Regis, a Gold Apartment for four people is on offer for a week from March 19 for £318, but £1,353 from April 2 – an increase of £1,035 or 325 per cent
At Haven, a standard caravan for seven nights at its Riviere Sands resort in Cornwall is on sale from March 19 for £186 or from April 2 for £502 – a rise of £316 or 170 per cent
A survey byYouGov found most Britons have come to terms with not going abroad in the foreseeable future, with only 12 per cent planning to do so
They warned that requiring passengers to pay to self-isolate in hotels will have a ‘dramatic impact’ on airlines and the wider UK economy.
Vital freight and PPE supplies would be impacted, and tens of thousands of jobs would be put at risk, according to the letter. The airline leaders called for ‘a bespoke support package that can get UK airlines through this crisis’.
Tens of thousands of aviation jobs have already been cut due to the collapse in demand for air travel.
Whitehall sources suggest ministers may opt to make quarantine hotels only mandatory for people arriving in England from coronavirus hotspots, rather than all destinations.
This could include people arriving on flights from South America. An announcement is expected to be made by Home Secretary Priti Patel today. Similar measures are being considered by the devolved administrations.
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