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Staycations: Threat to leisure travel abroad?

Microsoft Advertising Trends and Disruptors - The Staycation Nation
The growing domestic tourism market in the UK is posing increasing challenges to leisure travel abroad. The latest research from Microsoft highlights the greater popularity of domestic holidays compared to leisure travel abroad, as well as offering new insight into online purchase journeys of leisure travel consumers and their destination preferences.

Industry context

Domestic tourism has grown sharply in the last 9 years and in 2018 was a 14 billion pound industry with 57% of the general population vacationing at home (Great British Tourism Survey, VisitBritain, Jan-Dec 2018). Domestic tourism is forecast in 2019 to grow to 69% of the population (Travelodge Holiday Index, June 2019). This lucrative market overshadows the abroad holiday market which has engaged less than 20% of the general population in the last 9 years (ABTA UK Consumer Survey, August 2018). Growing movements including Brexit and ecotourism has also been linked to the future growth of domestic tourism in the UK. New research from Microsoft sheds light on domestic holidaymakers in the UK.

The online purchase journey:

  • 2 x more staycations bookings than holiday abroad bookings in 2019
  • 12% of consumers who booked a holiday abroad considered a domestic holiday in their online purchase journey
  • Holidaymakers abroad are more price sensitive than domestic holidaymakers despite domestic holidays on average costing more than a package holiday abroad
  • Domestic holidaymakers are driven by brand loyalty whereas holidaymakers abroad are driven by destination curiosity
  • Staycationers have distinguished online purchase journeys depending on the type of domestic holiday they are pursuing e.g. cottage retreat vs holiday parks vs standalone hotel chains

Domestic destination trends:

  • 5 out of the top ten holiday destinations amongst UK consumers are domestic
  • Domestic destinations by the sea and in the north of England show the highest surge in popularity this year
The staycation market shows healthy demand in 2019 and is already overshadowing the leisure travel abroad market as far as bookings are concerned. Popularity of domestic destinations combined with notable consideration of domestic holidays amongst holiday abroad consumers could unlock future growth for domestic tourism at the expense of leisure travel abroad.

Read more and download The Microsoft Advertising Staycations deck