Why Don't Brits Holiday in London?
With travel restrictions in place and the pandemic still dominating the headlines, 2021 has undoubtedly been the year of the staycation. While Brits hoping to enjoy a well-earned break have descended on the South West of England and Wales, there has been a noticeable decline in visitor numbers in London. In this guide, we’ll explore the reasons why Brits don’t holiday in London and provide suggestions that could help London-based businesses and hospitality venues attract more UK-based tourists.
Research conducted by Sykes Holiday Cottages suggested that over 60% of residents were planning to spend their summer holiday in the UK in 2021. The most popular regions for summer staycations include North Wales, Cumbria, Cornwall and Devon. The fastest-growing regions in 2021 are the Peak District, Somerset, East Anglia and the Yorkshire Dales. According to figures from Statista, just 8% of Brits were planning to take holidays in London.
The latest research indicates a shift in attitudes in the last year. While London performed well in the list of UK bucket list destinations in 2020, it didn’t appear in the same list in 2021. A survey conducted by holidaycottages.co.uk revealed that London topped the UK’s staycation bucket list in 2020 but failed to make the top 10 in 2021. Cornwall, the Scottish Highlands, Devon and the Lake District were the most popular choices.
The pandemic has inspired Brits to discover more rural and coastal areas, with many people swapping exotic beach breaks and resort holidays for camping, renting beach houses and booking hotels in national parks and seaside towns. Although lockdowns and travel restrictions will have influenced trends, there were significant barriers to travelling to and holidaying in London before the pandemic.
Studies suggest that Brits view London as ‘expensive, chaotic, busy and crowded.’ Research conducted by Leonardo Hotels in 2019 also found that 6% of adults had never visited London, with 50% of those who didn’t envisage making a trip to the capital suggesting that prices were far too high in the city. Over 30% said that it was too busy and crowded and 28% said that it was too far and they didn’t want to make the journey. Over 20% said that the thought of going to London stressed them out.
YouGov polls suggest that Brits see London as a business epicentre rather than a holiday hot spot. More than 75% of adults surveyed agreed that London made a valuable contribution to the UK economy, but only 16% felt that it impacted their local economy. The most popular words used to describe Londoners were ‘diverse, arrogant and insular.’
London has not enjoyed the staycation boom that is clearly visible across swathes of the UK. Many people have booked destinations that offer rural escapes and opportunities to discover national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and coastal resorts but there is a chance that London’s hotel sector has missed a trick in failing to lure in staycationers. London is an incredibly popular destination for foreign visitors but with restrictions still in place, this summer could have been an opportunity to reach out to different markets and boost UK visitor numbers. To attract more UK tourists, hotels could:
Staycations have boomed across the UK in 2021 but London has struggled to attract Brits. Studies show that rural and coastal areas have become increasingly popular during the pandemic but it is possible that the hotel sector could do more to tempt UK-based tourists to the capital. London is seen as crowded, inaccessible and expensive but it is possible to change opinions and there is still time to market the city as an attractive holiday destination and boost bookings in the months ahead. Start by getting your resort hotel onto tomorrow's booking offer platform and give those margin-thieving conventional OTAs a kick: join up with hoo here.