Last-minute UK holidays offering a boost to travel industry which fell ‘off a cliff’

By Nylah Salam
August 11 2020, 18.00

British holidaymakers have been deprived of foreign sun, sand and sea with the pandemic causing a huge decline in travel. 

Despite the numbers of cases and deaths of the virus fluctuating, the Prime Minister has eased lockdown and people can now travel beyond the four walls of their home. 

With UK tourism hotspots rising, some Britons have found a way to still enjoy their summer break. 

Managing director of The Hotel Guru, Hugh Graham-Watson said: “Not only did the traffic fall off a cliff, but all of our bookings.

“Up until March the business was growing and everything was looking rosy.”

GREAT ESCAPE: Hugh took advantage of the easing of the lockdown restrictions and booked a getaway to Italy was established in 2008 with the aim to provide hotel recommendations to consumers. Along with building up reviews from many travel writers giving the pros and cons of stays across the globe. 

The travel industry was one of the sectors most impacted by the virus with many independent businesses being affected and even liquidised. 

He added: “It wasn’t until the very end of June and through July, our traffic on our website was increasing.

“We were ahead of where we were last year which was very positive.”

Mr Graham-Watson found that there was a much stronger mix of UK bookings than he ever used to have across the website and the demand soon increased. 

The next step for the company was to add a catalogue of more UK properties in order to bring the revenue back up. 

“One of the biggest difference we’ve noticed is everyone is booking last minute, and I don’t mean within the next six weeks, but they book to go the same or following week.

“Suddenly we saw almost 90% of our bookings are to go within the next week,” he added. 

According to research analysis from The Hotel Guru, the top three destinations which people searched and booked were The Cotswolds, Lake District and London. 

Other destinations in the south west such as Cornwall, Devon and Somerset were also very popular. 

Search volume in the last 3 months

Fly Lux Travels owner Anum Nisar, 24, is an entrepreneur who started her travel company last month in the middle of lockdown. 

New to the travel business industry, her passion for travel had given her a path for a new venture. 

Miss Nisar said: “It has not really been booming as much as I thought, of course due to travel restrictions.

“But there is the fear amongst people about travelling here and abroad.”

She has high hopes for the future of Fly Lux Travels because no matter what, people will want to go on holiday, even during lockdown, whether in the UK or on a trip to Bali. 

“I have had a lot of enquiries about Suffolk, Yorkshire and Wales which have so many gorgeous spots.” She added. 

Within the last three months, the number of people searching for holidays in the UK has soared compared to a low and stagnated search for holidays abroad. 

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