The trend for September staycations and camping in the great outdoors is becoming even stronger thanks to the influx of summer sunshine, despite tighter restrictions on social gatherings.
Much of the travel industry is experiencing a very tough time. This year has seen a significant seed-change in travellers needs and wants and although it has been probably the worst year in living memory for many firms, not all sectors of the travel industry are suffering.
One area of the travel industry that is experiencing a significant upswing is the camping and staycation sector. One of the leading companies dealing specifically in this sector is Pitchup.com and they’ve offered us some interesting facts:
- Arrivals for the weekend* are more than triple what they were at this point last year (239% up), doubtless encouraged by forecasts of sunny intervals and temperatures of 22° for much of England.
- Arrivals for September are now 197% up on last year, with 155,436 holidaymakers arriving this month, compared to just 52,332 who pitched up in September last year.**
A certain something in the air was already causing people to think twice before heading off, and now we have the recently announced changes to the number of people who can gather socially. This is causing chaos in a historically strong industry and will be another nail in the coffin for many businesses.
Brits love of the outdoors is well known and with the change in travellers attitudes, some businesses have found far more positives than negatives from the current situation.
One of these is Pitchup.com. Its founder Dan Yates describes how his company has adapted to the ever-changing travel landscape and new rules: “It’s always been the case that customers can only book one pitch at a time on Pitchup.com, and only 0.7% of Pitchup’s bookings are for more than six people, with the average party size more like 2.8 people.
Many sites have long had a no-groups policy, and site owners can also choose to limit the size of groups booking with them: we’ve added maximum group size as one of the new ‘COVID’ features that sites can display in their listing (example). The onus is going to be on individuals to take responsibility for their actions and respect the restrictions.
Most site-owners already contact guests ahead of their arrival, so they will have the opportunity to remind guests of the tighter regulations at that point. And if a customer no longer wants to go away, our flexible transferable deposit policy still stands.”
Camping naturally lends itself to social distancing, and on reopening earlier in the summer, site owners have already decreased capacity or rejigged layouts to ensure maximum space between pitches making it a good alternative for those unable or unwilling to stay at hotels or rented properties.
Dan Yates added: “In the past two months, hundreds of new sites have joined Pitchup.com for the first time, including landed estates and county showgrounds (like the 230 acre site at the East of England Showground near Peterborough), with hundreds of acres to spread out and enjoy safely distanced breaks.”
*Arrivals for 18th/19th September 2020 versus 20th/21st September 2019, created by 15th September 2020/17th September 2019.
**Based on bookings created by 15th September in each year.
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