Last week we went through some of the political events and uncertainties affecting the travel industry at the moment. It’s fair to say that so far 2016 has been a chaotic year. But, as we alluded to in the previous post, here at Travelshift we like to see the positives in things.
With traditional tourist destinations hit by terrorism, Brexit, and political unrest, opportunities are arising for smaller travel vendors offering a certain kind of holiday. We’re talking, of course, about the rise of the Staycation. Why head abroad when you can enjoy a part of your own country that you’ve never visited, often at a fraction of the cost? And why stray far from home when you can enjoy all the normal holiday comforts without setting foot on a plane? The answers to these questions are what are driving the latest popularity surge in the Staycation. It’s not necessarily a new concept, but one that is receiving more attention than ever in these tumultuous times.
A Staycation is exactly what it sounds like. A trip with all the trappings of a traditional vacation, but without having to leave the country. No flights, no phrasebooks, no fuss. There are a few simple reasons why these are becoming popular with travelers around the world. For example:
Many travelers love to embrace new destinations and explore new countries. But not everyone wants to be immersed in a different culture, try new food and attempt another language. Not only can this be stressful, it can also take much of the comfort from what should be a relaxing holiday. An easy solution is to avoid it altogether, and travel extensively within your own country. Same currency, same language, and no surprises for the duration of the trip.
Traveling the world is something that many aspire to do, but for plenty of people it isn’t, at least at the moment, a practical thing to do. Whether tied down by jobs or responsible for children and pets, lots of travellers want to stay close to home for peace of mind or in the case of emergency. Being in another country, and all the travel that entails, can feel too far away from home for some. Which leads us to...
Ever seen those families in the airport with parents looking like they’re already regretting the long-haul flight to the Caribbean with three young children? Not fun, at least on the flight. Staycations appeal to young families who might find travelling the most stressful part of any holiday. Flights and long journeys with young kids can be difficult, and many choose to avoid it by looking for somewhere closer to home.
Once you’ve minused the standard airfare and flight taxes, Staycations often work out a lot cheaper for travellers. And add the fact that currency fluctuations such as those after Brexit, and you have a bunch of British travellers whose Pounds suddenly don’t stretch as far.
£245 - Rise in the cost of a holiday for the average UK family of four, one month on from the Brexit vote, due to the fall in the value of the British pound.” - Travel Supermarket
Some people live in really great countries for tourism, and there’s plenty of appeal to stick around and explore before moving on. Maybe you’re a Norwegian or Icelandic, and you love scenery. It’s not going to get much better than anything you have at home, so the motivation to get on a plane is a lot less.
Unfortunately, many parts of the world traditionally loved by tourists have been hit by tragedy in recent times. Terrorist attacks in France and Belgium have led to a decline in inbound travel, as visitors change their destinations to places seen as more secure. While we can only hope this is a short-term trend, it’s certainly set to boost internal tourism.
Holidays to Egypt have nearly halved following the downing of a Russian passenger plane in October 2015, while the number of tourists arriving in Turkey has fallen for nine consecutive months to 1.75 million in April this year, 28 per cent down on the same period last year”. - The Telegraph
All the above have largely been negative against international travel. But one thing to understand is that plenty of domestic travel operators have had growing success in the industry. Yes, a number of factors are causing people to consider staycations, but domestic agencies have certainly upped their collective game and their offerings.
Speaking to the Telegraph Patricia Yates, Director at Visit England, the organisation in charge of promoting domestic travel in the UK, said: “Britain looks particularly good value at the moment because of the value of the pound. Beach and countryside holidays are growing in popularity and are helped by the rise of glamping and AirBnB. Once popular destinations such as Egypt and Turkey now look much less safe than they did in the past so there is already a shift away from those areas."
From the Skift graph above, we can see that it’s not just in Europe that staycations have positive recent trends. In the US, searches for last minute staycations have been rising for the past few years.
But what can we expect from the future, and why does this industry sector offer an opportunity for new travel startups?
As we highlighted in our Spa and Wellness market analysis, more and more people are taking holidays explicitly to wind down and relax. But this is a luxury that comes at significant expense. Because of this, the domestic spa scene is only going to grow, as customers look to fulfill their therapeutic needs without having to board an aeroplane.
On the other side of the tourism market, you'll find those travelers looking to get their heart pumping during their holiday. Active tourism, which includes everything from cycling to swimming to climbing, isn't necessarily dependent on the destination. Sure, some mountains are bigger than others, and some roads are more scenic. But if domestic operators can up their games and offer enticing deals, the appeal of leaving the country will be less. This is certainly a sector full of opportunities for determined startups.
The typical drivers of any vacation include a need to get away from it all and recharge the batteries. Political tensions in many popular parts of the world, along with the threat of terrorism, go against everything that tourists are looking for. Until these tragic problems are solved, staycations will, for many, continue to be the safer, more sensible option.
Okay, you might be thinking; staycations are clearly a lucrative market, depending on which country you want to cater for. But what has this got to do with Travelshift? Fortunately, as well as highlighting opportunities and gaps in the market, we offer smart solutions to help make your travel startup dream a reality.
Travelshift software is a unique, proven solution that allows you to build an online marketplace fast. Not only will you be up to speed in no time at all, the combined voices of your vendors will help you shout louder than the more established players in the market place. Comprehensive SEO features, a community blogging platform, full localization, inventory systems - we've got it all covered, leaving you to concentrate on building a thriving marketplace.