HOme-away-from-HOme: Why Christmas is Becoming the Season for Staycations
There are some people who love nothing more than to be in the comfort of their own home at Christmas. There are others who see it as a great time of year to travel and escape the blustering British weather. And then there are those who opt for somewhere in the middle, and explore the UK for their Christmas holidays.
If you’re the owner of self-catering accommodation it would seem that creating a Christmas-ready home-away-from-home is the key to a successful winter season, with Christmas staycations reportedly doubling in recent years.
So, what is it that guests are looking for when they head away for their season’s greetings, and what are the key reasons for making the decisions to hire accommodation in the first place?
We spoke with some families who opt for a self-catering staycation at Christmas, and the owners of a countryside cottage, to find out how to appeal to potential guests at this time of year.
Christmas is a time for family
The Owen family, from Birmingham, make December a permanent date in the diary for a full family get together and celebrate Christmas with their extended family from all over the UK. We wanted to find out how they manage a house-full each year!
We’ve hired cottages and lodges at Christmas for the past four years. Our family is spread across the UK in Cumbria, Wales, Birmingham and Southampton (and even in Canada!), so each Christmas we bring everyone together to celebrate.
None of us could host 18 people in our own home so by hiring self-catering accommodation we can all stay together and have the space to dine, relax and play games together.
It’s now become a tradition, we book a venue early in the year and by December we’ve organised a Christmas that can be packed up and transported to a ’Christmas house’.
Between us all we bring enough food for the two-night stay, and stacks of games. We don’t tend to explore the area we’re in too much, aside from short walks nearby the cottage or lodge. We’re there to enjoy each other’s company and to relax so for us the location we choose is purely based on being central for everyone to travel to.
There’s nothing like a countryside Christmas
The Vernon family, from Cumbria, make the most of having the Lake District on their doorstep and take to the lakes for Christmas with a view. The family told us how beautiful views and winter walks is exactly what Christmas means to them.
We love the great outdoors and where better to create magical memories than in such a beautiful setting. We live just 30 minutes from the Lake District so we don’t need to travel far, but what a difference it makes to our Christmas experience being immersed in the countryside.
Six of us hire self-catering accommodation, usually a lodge, and transport our Christmas tree, decorations and presents with us. We have the space to re-create our traditional Christmas whilst being able to head out for a Christmas day walk in the lakes, which is something we love to do.
We’re not too far from home so often other family members will come and visit us too, and this way we have the space to host more people in a setting that everyone loves.
This is our perfect balance between not being too far from home and creating truly unforgettable memories. Getting packed up and heading to a lodge in the countryside is when Christmas starts for us!
To take you away from the day-to-day
The Roddy family hire their North Wales cottage out all year round, and find that it’s the change from familiar surrounding that can make Christmas extra special for their guests.
Everyday life can be stressful and hectic and the pressures of Christmas can often add to this. The idea of spending this magical time of year in everyday surroundings can potentially dilute the experience. Hiring self-catering accommodation is a chance to have a complete change of scenery which helps you relax, unplug and recharge.
The location is important too. Many people want to paint the picture that is depicted in Christmas movies - cosy, rustic surroundings, roaring fires, winter blankets and snow. Whilst snow can never be guaranteed, cottages in rural locations certainly provide diverse scenery and weather that can transport you to somewhere else…all of which add to the excitement.
We find it interesting that some people rent the same cottage year-after-year. Despite wanting to get away from ‘normal life’ over the festive season, people will also not want to let go of a good thing once they have found it. It has the potential to become a tradition in itself.
Do you find Christmas to be just as busy for your self-catering business, or are you finding there to be factors that put people off renting certain accommodation types at this time of year? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your comments below.