2020 saw a surge in demand for staycations – domestic holidays which don’t require British tourists to board planes or boats. But while much of the recent boom can be attributed to the pandemic, long-term interest in staycations can also be driven by a seemingly-unlikely factor: dog ownership.
People who own dogs are eager to find interesting places in which to walk them. Moreover, a dog can be a valued member of the family, and thus any holiday which allows them to participate is going to be attractive. It’s also worth noting that bringing the dog with you on a staycation will save you from having to worry about paying someone to look after it!
Staycations are on the rise
So, how much should we make of this recent rise in staycations, and is the demand going to go anywhere? Of course, a great deal depends on the evolving situation with the pandemic, and it’s unclear what the fallout from Brexit will be where holidays are concerned. It’s therefore difficult to make definite predictions.
Google trends provides an interesting way of gauging interest in the staycation. Interestingly, dog specific terms like ‘dog-friendly hotels’ and ‘best dog vacations’ saw a marked upsurge over the last summer. Polling from globetrender.com reflects this, with 60% of respondents reporting that they plan their holidays around their dogs, and 57% admitting to missing the dog while on holiday.
It’s easy to suppose, based on this, that many of these dog owners, having realised that they’re able to take their dogs with them when they holiday domestically, will opt for a staycation in the future.
How has the Travel Industry responded?
Many hotelier have recognised this trend, and begun to make their accommodation dog-friendly. Some even provide services tailored to make dogs feel at home; the Low Wood Bay resort in Windermere offers beds, biscuits and bowls for dogs at an extra £20 per night.
The UK Director of Park Holidays, Tony Clish, was quick to thank the public for their support during 2020. “At Park Holidays, we have seen soaring numbers of bookings over the course of this year, and a huge peak in interest into the next year too,” he said. “It is reassuring to know that there are so many out there looking to support UK tourism after a challenging season.”
Where the support of British tourists will be extended in the future may depend, to a large extent, on how the industry can appeal not only to visitors, but to their pets, too.