How big is the staycationer opportunity?

Discussion
Photo: @Hanni via Twenty20
Sep 11, 2020
Tom Ryan

Foot traffic at retail improved in the UK in August. The progress, according to Ipsos Retail Performance, was due in part to a “greater number of people deciding to stay in the UK this summer rather than venturing abroad on holiday.”

Staycations — basically, vacations nearby where you live — have become a global trend in 2020 due to social distancing concerns and travel bans in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a survey of 1,105 Americans commissioned by ValuePenguin taken in mid-August, nearly a third of consumers (31 percent) decided to take a summer staycation.

“Short road trips, done right, can be every bit as relaxing and rejuvenating as an international trip,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree, the parent company of ValuePenguin, in a statement.

The ValuePenguin survey found that 72 percent of Americans did not take a summer vacation this year. Of those who did travel this summer, 71 percent opted for a road trip rather than flying.

Staycations are also typically popular during downturns. According to a 2016 survey from AYTM Market Research, the primary reason to head on a staycation was to save money, cited by 67 percent of respondents; followed by not having time for a full vacation, 33 percent; wanting to explore their own community, 25 percent; and looking to support local businesses, 13 percent.

Staycationers in 2020 have more options as a number of hotels and resorts, including Disney World, are offering special packages aimed at locals with international tourism on pause.

Tripadvisor’s Seasonal Travel Index for Fall covering fall trends by U.S. travelers found:

  • Sixty-five percent are planning domestic fall getaways;
  • Fifty-four percent are more likely to consider road trips now compared to before the pandemic;
  • Fifty-five percent of fall travelers are looking to book two-to-five-night stays, with 36 percent desiring one-night stays;
  • Sixty-one percent of U.S. travelers are more likely to consider outdoor or nature trips compared to before the pandemic;
  • Domestic travelers for fall were found to be keener on beach destinations and less interested in central city getaways.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What tips do you have for retailers and brands looking to benefit from the staycation trend? Is the appeal of staycations a temporary or long-term trend?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"While I know a lot of people are looking to get back on planes and travel the globe, I see the staycation trend sticking around."
"It’s a big, beautiful, interesting planet. The moment it’s safe, safe on a broad scale, travel is going to bounce back."
"Staycations are here to stay along with the modified customer journey, product selections, limited air and rail travel, no cruises for some time..."

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23 Comments on "How big is the staycationer opportunity?"


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Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

The trend toward driving vacations close to home is understandable, since many people “stuck at home” for work, school and their daily lives are surely getting stir-crazy. (And the old definition of “staycation,” meaning that you spend a week in your own backyard, probably doesn’t feel like a true vacation these days.) But I don’t expect the trend to last once a safe vaccine has been widely administered; the appetite for longer-distance air travel will return with a vengeance.

In the short term, retailers would be smart to market their safety practices, so that visitors from nearby have confidence in shopping there. Needless to say, this advice goes double for restaurants and hotels.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

Dick, you are likely right that people feel stuck at home. However, despite the hope of a vaccine, I believe many are re-discovering that staying at home as a family is not a punishment and this same group is on a quest for brands and retailers to provide them entertainment, nourishment, safety, and fun. I believe that whoever steps up and addresses this need could pioneer a brand new category.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

I should add that I just saw a local news story about a family using its planned vacation spending on a kitchen remodel instead. As long as people are stuck at home, there is plenty of leisure spending being redeployed toward home and tech improvements instead.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

Although I still believe that time heals all wounds, the effects of the pandemic will linger well into next year. Retailers can implement expansion in travel/camping/recreation categories and feature them during peak seasons. This of course will be driven by local trends, such as winter months in the snow belt providing the opportunity for weekend ski trips, etc. The opportunities are huge, even as anxiety wanes and air travel once again picks up.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

U.S residents cannot travel outside the country so most families that take a yearly vacation are staying close to home (visiting relatives is not really allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions) and staycations are really in right now. I have seen many videos of families enjoying themselves at home. Retailers can benefit by having a lot of items that are available for grab and go – ranging from snacks and drinks to maybe staycation packs of apparel, accessories. etc.

Stephen Rector
BrainTrust

While I know a lot of people are looking to get back on planes and travel the globe, I see the staycation trend sticking around. This is a way of creating an escape at a fraction of the price of a real vacation. Brands that sell upgraded bedding, beauty products and food will be winners.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

As with many other evolving trends, staycations have accelerated due to the pandemic. And I personally do not see them going away anytime soon. In fact, as a retailer (or brand manufacturer) this presents a tremendous opportunity to create products and/or curate a category that addresses this consumer “need state.”

If we truly believe that necessity is the mother of all invention, then now is the time to innovate to address this phenomenon that is here to stay for years to come.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

The staycation as defined here is definitely a short-term thing. Everybody I know is itching to get away. My wife and I are waiting to return to Paris as soon as they will accept Americans and we won’t need to quarantine for two weeks.

Now what is a much smaller niche, an activity my wife and I do about three times a year, is simply getting a hotel room in the city (we live in the city) and enjoying NYC from a completely different perspective. These type of staycations have also been Christmas gifts to my kids, and are very much appreciated.

The retailers that can take advantage of this are the retailers at the destinations. They can sell products that are unique to that area. Many vacationers go on a traditional vacation and come back with unique buys — retailers can just translate it into something close by.

Bindu Gupta
BrainTrust

Staycations are huge right now but I see the interest waning once things get better and it’s safe to travel again. Retailers and brands should focus on messaging and product positioning that speaks to this trend but also plan ahead to shift the messaging when the time is right.

Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

I can see the value of a staycation during these difficult times. Will it last? Yes, to a certain extent. I can see families taking more short, three-day trips during the course of the year just to be away and enjoy more moments together. Vacations will be with us. But we have to recover from the pandemic before venturing out on an extended trip.

Scott Norris
Guest

Getting Americans to actually use their existing vacation days has been a persistent problem, and even in my own office, co-workers are hitting the “use it or lose it” limits right now after a summer of not being able to get away. Short getaways are a partial answer but even those are caught up in the braided cords of school schedules, as well as a lack of inspiration – if I take a day off, realistically, I’m just doing laundry and maybe weeding…

Laura Davis-Taylor
BrainTrust

I’ll be honest, I think the biggest lure would be how to safely rent somewhere else with as little risk as possible. We are all so tired of trying to make lemonade from our home-based lemons and really, really want a change of scenery. How about retailers attack the challenge with “change your scenery but here’s the safety kit and home or curbside delivery info you’ll need based on where you’re going?” Or, “here’s the safe excursion thematic (camping, beach, etc.), click for your packing last with safety essentials—pick it up or we’ll deliver.” You get the gist — let [X brand] be your safe travel assistant! *Note, Airbnb would be an excellent partner. Just saying. 🙂

William Passodelis
Guest

I think the staycation will be around for the short term, but Americans are resourceful. At the very least there are always kids — and there is always Disney World.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I just saw a CDC update that said adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have reported eating at a restaurant within 14 days. It’s still scary out there.

My family has been talking about doing a staycation but even living close to a big city our options are limited. Is it safe to travel there? Is it safe to stay in hotels? There are so many questions that we usually opt for day trips instead. But that’s now, who knows what we will be up for by December? And we are definitely up for change.

To benefit from staycations retailers should focus on what they can do for customers who are staying close to home or passing through their towns. Think small, socially distanced in-store events that are also streamed live on Facebook, product demos, mini-classes – things that draw shoppers to their stores. Even in tough times there are retailers who excel at thrilling customers.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

It’s a big, beautiful, interesting planet. The moment it’s safe, safe on a broad scale, travel is going to bounce back. Both WFH and staycation are going to have new and bigger roles, but wanderlust is not going to go away.

jbarnes
Guest

There are a number of driving factors that are driving this trend: 1.) the safety of traveling and 2.) consumers’ economic confidence. The combination of both these factors is driving people to stay home. Speaking from a personal standpoint my check book is a little larger as my family is not going out to eat and we have cancelled two trips in the last six months. With that said we have bought board games, outdoor hiking equipment and bicycles not to mention all the DIY projects that we have completed. This trend will not change until the country is in a better position regarding my first two points.

As for brands and retailers I would focus on how to create experiences for consumers that allow the consumer to stay home focused on creating memories. For example we have created a garden and leveraged the experience to teach our children about sustainable farming techniques.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Very well said. Your two points sum up the situation perfectly.

Chuck Ehredt
Guest
Staycations will always be relevant for some portion of the population but will trend up or down depending on the broader economy (or in this case, COVID-19 and trying to reduce exposure to the virus). A similar trend that retailers should be conscious of is the opportunity to engage with people who are choosing to live for two to 24 months in a particular city or area to get to know it more profoundly, but with the full intention of then moving on. I live in Barcelona, and we see many professionals (many also with families) coming for six to 12 months. They continue working (remotely) but want the experience of living in various parts of the world. With modern technology and company cultures become more flexible, this will increasingly be pursued by people throughout their adult life – and not just waiting for retirement. For the retailer, being visible on community websites in foreign languages can be key in luring a family to one supermarket over another – even if the revenue gain only… Read more »
Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Whether staycations become the “new” vacation opportunity for brands and retailers will depend upon each individual human’s reaction to the emotional toll of their individual COVID-19 experience once the pandemic has passed. Those of us on the West Coast cannot leave our homes this week due to the extremely dangerous air quality of toxic smoke from the fires surrounding and burning neighborhood communities around us. The air, a yellow soup, so dense and toxic it seeps into our homes. I think about the bravery of the police and firefighters who gave their lives 19 years ago today to save people they never met. Human emotion drives human behavior. Too soon to tell what a post COVID world looks like.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I sense a semantics problem here: I (and I’m thinking a lot of people) equate “staycation” with staying at home … literally. This article seems to be equating it with replacing international travel or at least long-distance intranational travel — with shorter trips, but still trips. So there’s a big difference in how one sees this “opportunity.” The former offers nothing to hotels, but probably a lot for neighborhood restaurants (at least if they were open).

Long-term, no, I don’t really see this as a trend … except in a bleak world of multi-year shutdowns and international hostility.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

I believe this pandemic is analogous to the “Great Depression” our grandparents and great grandparents experienced. Life was different then, so they didn’t fly all over the globe but they did have to hoard food, lose their jobs and sometimes go hungry. The Great Depression changed their lives forever and so too will this pandemic. Staycations are here to stay along with the modified customer journey, product selections, limited air and rail travel, no cruises for some time to come and maybe for our lifetime … bleak but possibly true.

Brett Busconi
Guest
I think the idea for “kits” being prepared/sold for a variety of staycation needs could be a big winner for retailers. Laura Davis-Taylor shared a great idea for how “Your Hotel/Airbnb/Restaurant Visit Prep Kit” could be put into play. I have taken the idea of staycation literally, and we tried to recreate the beach house rental and boardwalk fun in our backyard with the pool, some home games, and some sand. If a retailer had some sort of kit for sale to speak to home or local activity I think there would be a big market for it. (I know my wife would have found it if available where she shops.) An associate is an executive for a pool equipment manufacturing company — if you want a pool now, the backlog is into next spring in many areas. Some people are comfortable flying as soon as possible … some are comfortable going around the region/country via car right now. Some are not — or not very — comfortable yet and they will not be straying… Read more »
Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

I believe this is part of a larger trend that I’ve been reading about (and experiencing) during this pandemic that in addition to concerns about safety, people are simplifying and re-prioritizing what is important and where they want to focus resources. I feel like pulling back on personal travel is one of those trends that will stick around for a while. I expect even if there is a safe vaccine, it will be a while before the travel industry fully recovers. That said if I were responsible for categories that support staycations I would be all in. I think there’s a minimum of 18 months to two years of opportunity in this space.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"While I know a lot of people are looking to get back on planes and travel the globe, I see the staycation trend sticking around."
"It’s a big, beautiful, interesting planet. The moment it’s safe, safe on a broad scale, travel is going to bounce back."
"Staycations are here to stay along with the modified customer journey, product selections, limited air and rail travel, no cruises for some time..."

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