A stone's throw

UK holiday market

The popularity of staycations continue to increase in the UK and in recent years we have seen millennials in particular driving demand for country and coastal retreats.

A recent Pragma survey showed that 7.1m millennials had a UK holiday in countryside and coastal areas which was up from 6.5m in 2016. Although UK city breaks have been in decline, Britons aged 16-34 spent £4.8bn on staycations in 2018.

Those who grew up in the age of low-cost flights are now choosing to explore the UK rather than fly abroad for several reasons. On a macro level, the weak pound, Brexit uncertainly and last year's hot summer had a large part to play in the rise of staycations. Another driver among millennials has been the trend towards escapism (escaping the city for a digital detox and getting in touch with nature) with 1-3 night mini-breaks proving especially popular.

Companies such as Forest HolidaysSykes Cottages and Centre Parcs have been successful at attracting those looking to escape into the wilderness. Recent growth for these companies has come in part from widening the breath of appeal to different age groups (see Pragma's work with Forest Holidays).

We are also seeing a new generation of companies emerging which appeal to the high expectations of millennials:

Get Away operates hundreds of miniature cabins dotted around forests. Cabins have all the home comforts including food that can be pre-ordered. The L Catterton backed company has been a hit with consumers and received a +89 NPS score (vs. AirBNB +32).

Fforest has 3 sites with a range of alternative places to stay and experience. There is an emphasis on adventures for millennials which range from white water rafting to bush craft. FForest have a highly engaged online following and are expanding their number of sites.

Canopy and Stars (their Hobbit House is seen above) offers a collection of unique and creative places to stay. Canopy and Stars appeals to millennials looking for gentler methods to improve wellness such as yoga and star gazing. UK website traffic has increased 36% year on year.

The escapism trend has always been prevalent in the holiday market, however the way in which millennials decide to escape into the wild is driving change.

Hugo Sunnucks