Families are continuing to flock to North Devon for holidays showing the staycation trend is far from over, according to local family-run accommodation provider Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks.
After two years of Brits being unable to take a break away over the Easter holidays, bookings are back to pre-pandemic levels at Woolacombe Bay, Twitchen House and Easewell Farm with occupancy up to 99%.
Fears the cost-of-living crisis and overseas travel being available to families again may dampen demand seems to be unfounded with value-conscious families seeking to make the most of their precious downtime by avoiding ongoing disruption at airports and ferry ports, whilst managing holiday budgets by sticking with Sterling.
Trends seen in the pandemic, such as hugely increased demand for luxury self-catering accommodation with additional outdoor space, are in fact strengthening. Forward bookings for caravans with private decked verandas are up 76% on 2019, the last full year before Covid, and premium locations offering top of the range larger holiday homes has increased by 100%.
Due to this doubling of demand, on 1st April the company opened the first phase of its new “Beach Haven“ development at Twitchen House. Offering the very latest caravan designs, more space inside and out, two guaranteed dedicated parking spaces and sweeping views over the countryside and ocean, the additional accommodation options are intended to respond to the demands of guests wanting to visit the area, where the North Devon coastline has just been awarded the UK’s first World Surfing Reserve status.
Underlining the shift towards high-end is the demand for self-catering caravans with private outdoor hot tubs; bookings have increased by 524% on three years ago and a further 10 homes have now been added.
However, investment has not been limited to the premium ranges, an incredible one fifth of all caravans have been replaced for the 2022 season and the number of dog friendly caravans increased responding to a 75% surge in demand for pet friendly holidays, a combination of families adding pets in lockdown and post-Brexit travel rules making it harder to take them to continental Europe – Woolacombe’s huge sandy beaches accept dogs all year round.
Asked about the enduring demand for holidays, owner and managing director Rudi Lancaster said: “British families have long recognised the choice, value and quality holiday parks can provide and whilst our Parks were always busy on popular dates in school holidays and term time weekends, many are continuing to book early to ensure they don’t miss out as in the past few years.”
He continued, “certainly speaking for myself I know the thrill of our rediscovered freedom to make plans and see them come to fruition, we’re looking forward to doing just that for even more families this year.”
“No longer the exclusive reserve of the kiss-me-quick hat and knobbly knees contest, lots of Brits forced to take domestic breaks in the pandemic were truly astonished to discover what the UK has to offer and were very pleasantly surprised by what a modern holiday park really looks and feels like – many told us they would come back and they are true to their word!”
The company adds that the ongoing popularity of holiday parks is not surprising, even though the leading accommodation rental platform reported last week their bookings in the South West are down by 15% compared to 2021 with demand now at 2019 levels. “When you choose a holiday park like our three, you get so much more included from swimming pools, sports activities, bush craft sessions, live entertainment to even a trip to the spa, folks know their holiday budget stretches far further”, added Rudi.
However, inflationary pressures are always a consideration, and the company has taken measures to employ technological advances to boost effectiveness, installing solar panels and replacing older caravans with more energy efficient models.
And the company’s advice to hesitant Brits this year? Other regions of the coast may be seeing the impact of inflationary pressures, travel uncertainty and the falling value of the pound, the ever-popular West Country remains the top choice for domestic holidays and whilst hard working Brits might be feeling the pinch one thing they will not compromise on is a well-earned break without breaking the bank.
4-night Spring midweek breaks in April & May start from £99 for a family of 6 booked online. 3-night May half term school and bank holidays start from £299 for a family of 6 booked online. 3-night Early Summer weekend breaks in June start from £249 for a family of 6 booked online.
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