The Southwest is set to experience a travel boom with prime destinations fully booked during mid-May, summer vacation and beyond.
In Salcombe, families are booking more luxurious holiday homes than before, choosing to spend money in the UK rather than risking the confusing traffic light system and quarantine rules.
Jon Doyle, managing director of south Devon-based vacation rental agency Coast & Country Cottages, said he had also seen an increase in bookings for his holiday homes, with his latest listings guaranteeing up to 20 reservations in the weeks following the upload.
He said: “We are seeing bookings being made at an unprecedented rate, with people planning their breaks earlier than ever. This year, our occupancy rates for our cottages for the semester of May to June, July and August are already above 92%, with early bookings for the fall, especially the October semester, also being secured at a speed record. Surprisingly, the weeks of September and October already have an occupancy rate 33% higher than the same point last year! This is a clear change from previous years, where customers started to make more last minute bookings, often within eight weeks of the holidays.
We’re also seeing a shift in the properties people choose to book, with clients apparently looking to book larger, more luxurious properties, with less price sensitivity than they might have had in previous years.
Salcombe Distilling Co operates a gin school and bar in the town which have both seen high demand since the lockdown restrictions eased.
Howard Davies, Co-Founder and Director, said: “People are very keen to be able to meet friends again and have great experiences in interesting places away from home. Our bar is always full every day and our gin school is currently full – we very much hope that the social distancing requirements will ease up a bit in the coming months and when that is the case we can open more capacity for additional bookings this summer. “
He said the company was recruiting to support the high levels of visitors expected over the next few months and that it was hosting additional events and experiences at the distillery, including limited edition gin tastings, cocktail demonstrations and distillation masterclasses.
South Hams beauty site hotels in Salcombe are full throughout August according to research by hotel booking platform Hoo, while in Padstow 99% of vacation homes have already been booked .
Hoo analyzed the availability of vacation homes for a family of four in 12 popular vacation destinations in August. Research found the average room price per night to reach £ 355 for the accommodation that remained available, but climbed to £ 466 in the Sandbanks in Poole.
Visit Devon boss Sally Everton said honeypot areas such as Salcombe, Dartmouth and Brixham are pretty much full for the summer season, but there is still availability throughout the county if consumers research it, visiting destination websites or contacting lesser-known sites. campsites, caravans, hotels and guest houses.
She said: “The main six-week school vacation period is busy, but it still is. Traveling during the intervening months, including June, September, October, November and beyond, is still an option for many. because we are a destination 365 days a year – extending the season is a top priority. “
She said recruiting is the biggest challenge in the industry, adding that hosting providers are also hit by cancellations by families making multiple reservations, depending on the weather and whether they can go abroad.
Ms Everton said: “Recruitment is a major challenge for many companies and is one of our biggest headaches in tourism and hospitality right now.”
She said this was in part due to Brexit, with European workers returning home on leave and choosing not to return.
But she said the same could be said of many British staff who had time to rethink while on leave.
In Kingsbridge, award-winning restaurateur Jamie Rogers, owner of Twenty Seven, is offering a £ 1,000 bonus to new employees who join the team for the summer.
In Cornwall, curd cream makers Trewithen Dairy hire 35 employees to help meet the demand for 100,000 cream teas the region expects to serve daily this summer.
Has your business struggled to recruit or faced cancellations from people booking elsewhere for the same week? Let us know in the comments section below