December 18 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
National and local evidence both point to it being the year of the staycation.
Holiday cottage letting firms across East Anglia are reporting bumper early year bookings reflecting a VisitEngland survey suggesting a continued rise in holidays at home.
And the same picture is emerging from the Broads boating sector where leading Potter Heigham boating firm Herbert Woods is reporting bookings 20pc up on last January.
Naomi Tarry, a director of Best of Suffolk, based near Halesworth, said they celebrated their “record day of bookings” on Monday - passing the landmark by early afternoon - and were preparing to recruit new staff for a busy summer ahead.
Meanwhile, Norfolk Hideaways, which focuses on north Norfolk lettings, reported bookings for January 19pc up on last year, while Norfolk Country Cottages said their figures were showing a 7pc year-on-year improvement.
All the firms revealed they had enjoyed a buoyant summer last year and felt customers’ memories of the glorious weather was a factor in the staycations booking surge.
The evidence from holiday cottage firms tallies with the VisitEngland survey which reports that 17 per cent of families are more likely to take a holiday in the UK this year because of last summer’s weather.
Penny Richardson, office manager at Norfolk Hideaways, said: “People think if they had a great time last year we will book again.”
She said they had been “mega busy” last summer with last-minute bookings prompted by the good weather.
Heather McCraith, general manager of Norfolk Country Cottages, said their focused marketing - targeting customers with direct emails - was as important as last year’s weather in the bookings surge.
Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk, said there was a general trend of holiday cottage firms doing well.
“We have seen evidence of the growth in Suffolk as a holiday destination and, as our cottages and apartments stretch from Southwold down to Constable Country and inland all the way down from the Waveney Valley to Lavenham, we really are in a good position to offer something for everyone.
“Our biggest increase has been in the short break market, especially out of season, and we feel this is partly due to customers’ busy lives but also because Suffolk has so many tourist attractions that are open all year round.”
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