- Last minute rush to book trips as many anticipate half term lockdown
- Outdoor accommodation is socially distanced by nature so less impact than other hospitality businesses
- Those seeking a ‘change of scene’ may look to book ‘working trips’
- Venues losing revenue due to new restrictions look for new ways to drive revenue
- Only 0.7% of trips made up of more than 6 people for most bookings
- Advance bookings for 2021 now 337% up
30 September 2020: Understandably, there’s concern that tighter social-gathering restrictions will have further impact on holidays, along with other regulations introduced in response to Covid-19.
However, the latest government announcement is less likely to impact outdoor accommodation than other sectors given the natural social distancing involved and for the majority there are currently no domestic travel restrictions in place.
Founder of Pitchup.com Dan Yates says: “While growth remained buoyant last week (with arrivals last Tuesday 153% up year-on-year from UK residents) in line with the rest of September, it could be that we see a peak in bookings over the coming days as people rush to book a trip before any anticipated lockdown towards the end of the month. Ironically these rules may have the opposite effect intended with consumers rushing to ‘make the most of it’ in advance of another potential lockdown.
“We also saw a flurry of activity from glamping venues as they released stock following cancellations by wedding guests, after attendance was capped at 15. We have seen a steady stream of signups from event venues such as showgrounds too, which will no longer be able to reopen on 1st October, and are seeking new revenue streams. “Although obviously curfews may impact food and drink venues around the campsites, and much-needed domestic tourism revenue, we believe another lockdown would be dreaded by many and so doubt domestic tourism will be significantly affected. For the rest of the year we may actually see a domestic uptick as those who had been considering working abroad remotely in response to promotions in the Caribbean* and elsewhere may lose confidence. These Brits may consider venues closer to home with less risk of cancellation or quarantine for longer working holidays.”
There is good news for the domestic industry for the year ahead too – bookings already made on the platform for 2021 breaks are now 337% up on those for the year ahead at this point in 2019. Many of those are repeat customers who enjoyed a safer outdoor holiday this summer while unable or unwilling to stay at hotels.
Pitchup.com has also taken on dozens of new sites in the open countryside away from residential areas in the past two months, including landed estates and county showgrounds with literally hundreds of acres to spread across – like the 230 acre site at the East of England Showground near Peterborough.
The platform shares general guidance on www.pitchup.com/covid-camping/ and has introduced new features to its website so that users can easily see what measures a particular site is employing. Most site owners already contact guests ahead of their arrival and remind guests of the tighter regulations at that point. And if a customer no longer wants to go away, Pitchup.com’s flexible transferable deposit policy still stands.
Yates concludes “Our own data shows there’s a distinct trend in extending the summer holiday season well into September and beyond this year with September arrivals 197% up overall on this time last year. Not least as many of the 10 million people furloughed earlier in the year**** still have accrued holiday allowance that needs to be taken before December – so there’s potential to make up for lost group bookings with more, smaller holiday bookings.”
Notes to editors
**Please note there are local restrictions in place in some areas e.g. Bolton https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-restrictions-areas-with-an-outbreak-of-coronavirus-covid-19
Laura Marfell-Williams – firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 2009 by former lastminute.com man, Dan Yates, multi-award winning Pitchup.com lists over 3,500 outdoor accommodation locations in 65 countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, providing 22 million annual users with a simple platform where they can search for and book a holiday with ease.
Pitchup.com enables users to search for all types of parks and sites from more than 60 chains right through to one-off campsites and unique outdoor accommodation options, which may have previously lacked a web presence.
Awards include 2019 and 2018 inclusions in the FT1000 (Financial Times’ 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe), Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 2016, ‘Best Place to Stay – Budget’ at The Independent Travel Awards 2015