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The UK staycation boom – what are people searching for?

3-minute read

Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling

18 August 2021

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Holidaying in the UK – commonly known as a ‘staycation’ – has increased in popularity because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result of ongoing international travel restrictions, the summers of 2020 and 2021 have seen a staycation boom.

In recent months, many small business owners in staycation hotspots will have experienced a welcome surge in demand for their services.

However, whether you’re a restaurateur, tour guide, or own an ice cream van, rising revenues and customer numbers bring their own challenges, such as dealing with no-shows, hiring temporary staff, and taking holiday when self-employed.

As this summer’s staycation season reaches its peak, here at Simply Business we’ve analysed Google search data over the last two years.

This has helped us to get a better idea of the most popular domestic UK holiday destinations, as well as what people are looking for from their staycation.

Read on to find out about the staycation boom, the fastest growing hotspots, and the holiday home feature that’s making a splash across the country.

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The growth of staycation searches

Google searches for staycations have been rising steadily over the last two years. Our analysis shows that the number of searches for ‘staycation’ increased by 83 per cent between June 2020 and June 2021. Meanwhile, the number of searches for ‘staycation UK’ increased by 173 per cent during the same period.

There’s also clear long-term seasonal growth. Back in July 2019, there were just 8,100 monthly searches for ‘staycation’, peaking at 49,500 in July 2020, and reaching over 40,000 again in June 2021 after a lull in activity during the winter months.

This trend can also be seen for the search terms ‘UK staycation ideas’, ‘staycation Scotland’, and ‘best places for staycation UK’.

The rise of staycation searches between July 2019 and June 2021

Where are the UK’s staycation hotspots?

It may come as no surprise that Cornwall is the most searched-for holiday destination, averaging 137,500 searches per month in May and June 2021.

The top five is completed by Devon, the Lake District, Dorset, and North Wales. Our map below shows the top nine most searched for UK staycation hotpots in May and June 2021.

UK staycation hotspots by average number of searches during May and June 2021

Our analysis of Google searches is backed up by the Sykes Holiday Cottages 2021 Staycation Index. Its top five most popular regions for holidays this summer are:

  • North Wales
  • Cumbria
  • Cornwall
  • Devon
  • North Yorkshire

The study also found that 62 per cent of people surveyed said they intended to spend their main summer break in the UK, up from 50 per cent in 2019.

During the same period, bookings of UK holiday cottages have increased by 40 per cent.

According to Airbnb, the top five trending seaside destinations for summer 2021 are:

  • Sandgate in Kent
  • Ingoldmells in Lincolnshire
  • Sandilands in Lincolnshire
  • Seaburn in County Durham
  • Portishead in Somerset

Where is the fastest growing staycation hotspot?

Google searches for North Wales holidays grew by 312 per cent between June 2020 and June 2021, making it the UK’s fastest growing staycation hotspot.

During the same period, searches for Cornwall holidays increased by 233 per cent, with searches for holidays in the Cotswolds, Devon, and London all rising by over 170 per cent.

Fastest growing staycation hotspots by search between June 2020 and June 2021

According to Sykes’ research, the top five fastest-growing holiday regions from 2019 are:

  • the Peak District
  • Somerset
  • East Anglia
  • the Yorkshire Dales
  • Southern Scotland

As well as searching for their desired location, many domestic holiday-goers appear to be interested in having a hot tub at their accommodation.

The terms ‘staycation UK with hot tub’, ‘hot tub staycations UK’, and ‘UK staycations with hot tubs’ all appeared on our list of the most common staycation searches.

The average searches for ‘staycation UK with hot tub’ increased by 154 per cent between July and December 2020 and January and May 2021. Meanwhile, the same search term peaked in April and May 2021 with 480 searches per month.

Enjoying hot tub on staycation

Guides for small businesses in staycation hotspots

Whatever location and industry you’re in, we’ve got a range of practical guides to help you make the most of the staycation boom:

Or, if you’re looking to start a business in a staycation hotspot, we’ve got in-depth guides on how to get your business up and running:

Has your business experienced a surge in demand due to staycations? Let us know in the comments below

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Conor Shilling

Written by

Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling is a professional writer with over 10 years’ experience across the property, small business, and insurance sectors. A trained journalist, Conor’s previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor has worked at Simply Business as a Copywriter for three years, specialising in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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