Airbnb identifies emerging UK travel trends

UK: Airbnb has identified the latest emerging and existing trends concerning traveller choices in the UK as the end of summer approaches. 

Based on internal research carried out by the home-sharing platform in August, it appears there remains a strong appetite for coastal and local travel, however demand is rising again for stays in urban locations and venturing further afield once more. In addition, prospective travellers are showing signs of craving unique or out of the ordinary accommodations, as well as interactive online experiences as we move into the autumn when more of us will be spending the majority of our time indoors.

The findings were compiled from bookings made until 30 August for trips taking place between 1 September and 31 October of this year. When referring to August bookings or searches, these are applicable to all those being made between 1-23 August 2020.

While the threat of further restrictions on travel and domestic lockdowns is looming, like we have seen with tighter rules being implemented in the UK from next week, Airbnb’s findings suggest that travellers are already thinking ahead to their next trip and planning for an eventual travel rebound.

Coastal towns the top choice for Brits as Europeans consider city travel once more

With many people around the UK opting for a holiday closer to home this summer, Airbnb revealed bookings for British seaside destinations made a strong comeback last month.

Looking ahead to the autumn, seaside towns on the coast accounted for six out of the top ten trending destinations for bookings made between September and October.

Meanwhile, across Europe, bookings in cities have seemingly increased, up from around a quarter of bookings in May to a third of bookings in August, according to Airbnb’s trends.

Top trending UK destinations

  • Flexbury, England
  • Pembroke Dock, Wales
  • Caister-on-Sea, England
  • Llandeilo, Wales
  • Cinderford, England
  • Abergele, Wales
  • Warton, England
  • Rothbury, England
  • Fairford, England
  • Eyemouth, Scotland

Local travel remains most popular, but travellers are also dreaming of further afield

With domestic trips accounting for the majority of bookings globally, and more than half of all bookings made in August for trips within 300 miles of the guest’s origin, Airbnb is adamant that local, drive-to escapes will remain a noticeable trend over the autumn, with travellers inclined to put themselves through a potential quarantine period if cases flare up.

Nevertheless, more and more travellers – particularly in Europe – are reportedly increasingly seeking intra-regional exploration. Airbnb estimates that international travel within the same region now represents around 15 per cent of bookings in August.

Far-flung destinations are also fuelling wanderlust, with international trip searches trending up in August compared to July.

Out-of-the-ordinary, “unique” accommodations matter more than ever

Another of the key trends that Airbnb is keen to highlight is the appeal of unique and alternative accommodations, as city dwellers in particular seek a change of scenery after months spent in lockdown.

Of the top 20 most wish listed listings globally in August, five of them were treehouses, three were tiny houses, two were domes, and others included a hut, a cabin, a cottage and a cave. For guests in the United Kingdom, cabins and treehouses also featured prominently, while half of the top ten wish listed unique stays were said to be within the UK.

The UK’s Most Wish Listed Unique Stays in August

  • “Lussuoso. Vista incantevole” [Lombardy, Italy]
  • “Balian Treehouse” [Bali, Indonesia]
  • “Old Smock Windmill in rural Kent” [Kent, UK]
  • “Exceptional property private beach” [Santa Catarina, Brazil]
  • “Dar Ahwach” [Marrakech, Morocco]
  • “Unique and Secluded AirShip” [Scotland]
  • “Gorgeous Countryside Lodge” [Kent, UK]
  • “Riverside Cabin” [Cornwall, UK]
  • “La Salentina, sea, nature and relax” [Apulia, Italy]
  • “Cosy Eco Cabin with hot tub” [Wales, UK]

Trends in Online Experiences

As temperatures start to drop heading into the autumn and we spend more time indoors, Airbnb is emphasising its Online Experiences offering, with guests’ choices being reflected by the change in season. Some of the more popular Experiences include   cooking new dishes, meditation, forest bathing practices, and magic, music and dance activities, according to trends seen in Airbnb’s internal data.

Airbnb’s current top ten trending Online Experiences are:

  1. Backstage with a Magician [New York City, United States]
  2. Cook Pad Thai like a Real Thai [San Francisco, United States]
  3. Pasta with the Grandmas [Palombara Sabina, Italy]
  4. A Kenyan Cultural Experience [Nairobi, Kenya]
  5. Colombia Through its Exotic Fruits [Bogotá, Colombia]
  6. Dance like a K-pop star for Beginners [Seoul, South Korea]
  7. Family Magic Show and Magic Lesson [Chiyoda City, Japan]
  8. Hidden Jazz Club [London, United Kingdom]
  9. Secrets of Magic [Berkhamsted, United Kingdom]
  10. Cook Spanish Paella with a Top Chef [Barcelona, Spain]