UK: The UK Short Term Accommodation Association [STAA], the UK trade body representing the short-term rental sector, has highlighted the relevant government guidelines to help consumers make informed and compliant decisions about taking holiday trips this spring.
Here are the STAA’s six tips on booking staycations:
- Take a series of city breaks
There is a unique opportunity now for people to visit towns and cities across the country without the crowds, queues and traffic that usually accompanies international tourists. Many cities such as London, Bath, York, Edinburgh and Cardiff have introduced European-style outdoor café and restaurant seating to make it a much more engaging experience, which will make city breaks more appealing, especially as we are about to see temperatures rise and spring in full swing.
- Visit friends and family you haven’t seen for months
You will be able to reacquaint yourself with your loved ones by renting a self-contained property close to where your friends and relatives live. You will be able to host a household or up to six people outside in the garden of your rented property and go on walks with them. Having a whole property to yourself means that all the family [and in some instances pets] will be able to sleep comfortably.
- Arrange a belated Valentine’s trip away
Having perhaps been denied a romantic excursion in February, now might be a great opportunity for Cupid’s arrow to be fired in a direction away from home. Whether it is a young couple that has been living apart, a married couple escaping the walls of their own home, or an older couple who have been prevented from having their annual winter sun trip away, there are a variety of country cottages, city centre apartments and coastal houses available to rekindle the romance!
- Work away from home
With people not needing to go into their places of work, with a good broadband connection, more people can ‘up sticks’ and spend much longer than usual away from home, relocating to a destination where they can combine their work with a holiday or short break and indulge in some exciting pastimes such as hill-walking, kite-surfing, cycling or even wild swimming.
- Spend like you would on a holiday abroad
Feedback from people who took their holidays in the UK last summer suggests that you should treat your time away in the UK in much the same way as you would if you were going abroad when it comes to spending your money.
Do not treat it as a compromise or as a second choice, spend your money on eating out or takeaways, and buy from local shops and attractions. It will help boost the local economies and make it a more enjoyable and memorable trip.
- Stay Covid-19 safe and look for the ‘Good to go’ accreditation
With Covid-19 still a risk, self-contained properties are perhaps the safest and most convenient type of holiday accommodation available under current social distancing guidelines.
All of the STAA’s members have implemented the industry-wide cleaning protocols established last year to ensure that properties are clean and safe. Properties that display the official ‘Good to Go’ accreditation from Visit England show that they are following government and industry guidelines.
The STAA has also introduced guidelines that consumers need to be aware of while renting a property:
- Self-contained accommodation is open for leisure stays. These properties are defined as having facilities such as kitchens, bathrooms and access points that are restricted to the exclusive use of the single household or bubble that is renting it, e.g. cottages, chalets and whole houses. A reception area is not treated as a shared facility or indoor communal area for check-in purposes.
- Accommodation on a park or complex can open as long as they are not reliant on sharing facilities. This means that in addition to ‘self-contained accommodation’ [listed above], holiday parks, yurts, holiday boats and motels can also be booked for a leisure stay provided guests do not need to share facilities such as bathrooms, shower blocks or kitchens.
- Some accommodation remains open for non-leisure stays. There are a number of circumstances where guests can book to stay in accommodation before 12 April, including those who are unable to return to their main residence, those who need accommodation for work, education or training, those who need to attend medical appointments, and international arrivals required by law to self-isolate.
STAA chair Merilee Karr said: “After months of not being able to fully open to the public for leisure stays, the industry is gearing up to welcome back guests for their well-deserved holidays and short breaks. With the restrictions on foreign travel likely to continue for some months yet, the UK staycation can provide people with a high quality replacement that should quench their thirst for some time away from homes that they have stayed in for far too long!
“The combination of good spring weather and the huge variety that Britain has to offer should make it a great time for many to see parts of the country they hadn’t previously visited. And the opening of self-contained accommodation will enable many people to see family and friends that they haven’t seen for a long time whist at the same time complying with the government guidelines and staying safe from Covid-19.
“City breaks offer people something different and, without the crowds of international visitors, it could be a great time to see the sights that our towns and cities offer in great abundance.
“Our members are chomping at the bit to welcome back guests and we hope their experiences will mean that the hospitality sector and local economies can recover some of the lost income from the last 12 months and that the UK staycation becomes a reinvigorated staple of our annual holiday plans,” she added.