A villa in the Mediterranean? A beachside hotel in Spain? How about a caravan in Cornwall? The COVID-19 pandemic has caused much of life as we knew it to change, but whilst many people focus on the everyday changes like closed shops and working from home, it is worth looking also to the ongoing shift in the travel and tourism market.
With the UK government and its international counterparts having imposed a raft of measures that have curtailed foreign travel, it’s no surprise that ‘staycations’ are expected to enjoy a resurgence in the coming months and years. According to some providers, bookings for the 2021 summer season are up by 300% and even luxury hotels are now filling their diaries for the rest of the year.
Given the huge demand, property owners across the UK may wish to consider opening their doors to holidaymakers and beating the coronavirus downturn with a quick and easy vacation business model. For those that are interested, here are five ideas on how to make money from the staycation in the UK.
Stick with the classics
Think of the Great British holiday and you dream of Cornish cottages, caravan parks, and days spent licking ice creams on scenic beaches. There is something a little romantic about this classic and idealised version of the UK staycation, and there will always be a market for classic accommodation that allows guests to feel at home while exploring a new area of the country.
By purchasing a holiday home or repurposing an existing property to cater for visitors, you could start welcoming guests and making extra money. Hotels and B&Bs are a staple of the staycation, and it’ll be all the easier if you have an eye for interior design and cleanliness.
Naturally, opening a guesthouse or any other form of accommodation will bring its own unique set of challenges and potentially long working hours as you help your guests to feel welcome. That being said, British accommodation providers can often look forward to welcoming their guests back time and time again as they return to their favourite slice of the UK.
Cash in on glamping fever
An alternative to the classic accommodation model is to start up a glamping business. Glamping – which stands for ‘glamorous camping’ – is an increasingly popular form of holiday which takes the traditional campsite and makes it more homely and luxurious.
From bell tents through to yurts and shepherds’ huts, the ‘back to basics’ focus of glamping means you won’t need to invest in substantial bricks and mortar premises to start making money. What you will need, however, is an affinity for working outdoors, the ability to bring nature to life for your guests, and a passion for helping them to relax while holidaying under your canvas.
Explore the experience economy
The opportunities presented by the expected staycation boom are not confined to accommodation providers, either. Studies have also shown that Brits are beginning to show more interest in experiences as opposed to products. As a result, they’ve ramped up their spending on trips, interactive events and travel in what has been dubbed the ‘experience economy’.
Getting involved with providing these experiences could help individuals and businesses to get involved with the domestic travel and tourism industry without the high financial bar to entry that comes with purchasing or converting property. From providing a local tour, a cooking class that showcases your region’s delicacies, or even just working as a concierge that helps to fix holiday plans in place, the experience economy offers a much simpler entrance route to this industry – which is only expected to grow as lockdown measures are relaxed.
Turn your passion into local souvenirs
Keepsakes are another essential ingredient of any holiday. People love to take something home for their family members and friends and like to have something to remember their time spent on holiday by. Of course, somebody needs to make those souvenirs.
As the public becomes increasingly conscious of the environment and social issues, they have also changed their consumer preferences and now tend to flock towards sustainable and locally sourced goods. This is great news for locals at holiday hotspots, who could turn their favourite arts and crafts into souvenir businesses. Whether it’s making fudge, creating art, or simply turning your best local photographs into postcards, there is truly no easier way to crack the UK tourism market than by selling souvenirs and trinkets to holidaymakers.
Keep the tourists moving
Finally, it stands to reason that no matter where they go, tourists need to get around. For this reason, there are plenty of opportunities to be had in the transport sector – offering driven tours and even transfers to those coming and going from their holidays.
There are various options when it comes to keeping the tourists moving, and which you opt for will depend on how much time, money, and effort you must give. For some, it could mean starting up a taxi or minibus service that ferries tourists around during their staycations. Alternatively, you could offer a bicycle or car hire service that gives them the freedom to get around without the added effort of needing to book each journey.
Profiting from post-pandemic tourism
These suggestions may not be suitable for everyone, but they just go to show that there is plenty of space for growth in the UK’s domestic tourism industry. By taking a leap into accommodation, transport, or the experience economy, you could take a cut of what will undoubtedly become one the nation’s fastest-expanding sectors as people clamour to get out and about after the COVID-19 lockdowns.
If you do decide to get involved, there are a few operational considerations you will need to make. Firstly, anybody working in the tourism industry should be careful to ensure that they are adequately insured. This might be as simple as taking out public liability insurance, but it could extend further depending on the product or service you are offering. Ultimately, it is better to be safe than sorry and so making sure you’re financially protected should be a priority.
Secondly, you will also need to find ways of taking payment from tourists. The same goes whether you are operating a B&B, a taxi, or just selling shell jewellery. The pandemic has seen cash use drop considerably, and people are now more concerned with hygiene than perhaps ever before. With these issues in mind, it makes sense to invest in a range of socially distant payment methods such as mobile contactless card readers, or maybe even an eCommerce payment gateway that allows you to take payments online. The trick is to give your customers options and making their lives as convenient as possible – which is exactly what the payment solutions do. If you decide to use a physical terminal, always make sure that you have enough card machine paper to avoid disappointment.
All in all, there is every reason to look forward to a life after the COVID-19 pandemic – and as transmission rates recede, it seems likely that the UK travel and tourism industry could enjoy a period of significant growth. The good news is that it is growth you and your business could cash in on.