UK holiday search trends revealed

Holidays in the UK – commonly known as ‘stays’ – have grown in popularity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to ongoing international travel restrictions, the summers of 2020 and 2021 saw a boom in stays.

Over the past few months, many small business owners in staycation hotspots will have experienced a welcome increase in demand for their services.

However, whether you are a restaurateur, tour guide, or ice cream maker, increasing income and customer numbers come with their own challenges, such as managing absences, hiring temporary staff, and taking vacations when you are self-employed.

As the holiday season this summer reaches its peak, at Simply Business we have analyzed Google search data over the past two years.

It helped us get a better idea of ​​the most popular national holiday destinations in the UK, as well as what people are looking for out of their stay.

Read on to learn about the travel boom, the fastest growing hotspots, and the vacation home feature that is causing a stir across the country.

The growth of staycation searches

Google searches for staycations have increased steadily over the past two years. Our analysis shows that the number of searches for “staycation” increased by 83% between June 2020 and June 2021. During this time, the number of searches for ‘staycation UK’ increased 173% during the same period.

There is also clear long-term seasonal growth. As of July 2019, there were only 8,100 monthly searches for ‘stay’, peaking at 49,500 in July 2020 and again reaching over 40,000 in June 2021 after a lull in activity during the months of winter.

This trend can also be seen for the search terms ‘UK stay ideas’, ‘Scotland staycation’ and ‘best places to stay in UK’.


Where are the staycation hotspots in the UK?

It’s no surprise that Cornwall is the most searched holiday destination, averaging 137,500 searches per month in May and June 2021.

The first five are completed by Devon, the Lake District, Dorset and North Wales. Our map below shows the nine most searched UK stay hotpots in May and June 2021.


Access points to UK stays by average number of searches in May and June 2021

Our analysis of Google searches is supported by the Sykes Holiday Cottages 2021 Staycation Index. Her five most popular regions for vacationing this summer are:

  • North wales

  • Cumbria

  • Cornwall

  • Devon

  • North Yorkshire

The study also found that 62% of those polled said they intended to spend their main summer vacation in the UK, up from 50% in 2019.

During the same period, bookings for holiday cottages in the UK have increased by 40%.

According to Airbnb, the five hottest beach destinations for summer 2021 are:

Where is the fastest growing staycation hotspot?

Google searches for vacations in North Wales increased 312% between June 2020 and June 2021, making it the fastest growing travel hotspot in the UK.

Over the same period, holiday searches in Cornwall have increased by 233%, with holiday searches in the Cotswolds, Devon and London all increasing by over 170%.


Fastest growing stay hotspots by search between June 2020 and June 2021

According to Sykes research, the five fastest growing vacation regions as of 2019 are:

  • the Peak District

  • Somerset

  • East Anglia

  • Yorkshire Dales

  • South of Scotland

Hot tubs are popular with restaurant owners

In addition to researching the location of their choice, many domestic vacationers seem to be interested in installing a hot tub in their accommodation.

The terms “staycation UK with hot tub”, “hot tub staycations UK” and “UK staycations with hot tubs” were all on our list of the most common vacation searches.

Average searches for “staycation UK with hot tub” increased by 154% between July and December 2020 and January and May 2021. Meanwhile, the same search term peaked in April and May 2021 with 480 searches per month.


Enjoy a hot tub during the stay

Guides for small businesses in staycation hotspots

Whatever your location and industry, we have a range of how-to guides to help you make the most of the holiday boom:

Or, if you’re looking to start a business in a resort hotspot, we’ve got step-by-step guides on how to get your business started:

Has your business experienced an increase in demand due to stays? Let us know in the comments below

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