I think we can all agree that 2020 has not been a normal year for holidays. Foreign travel was difficult at best and impossible for a lot of the time with rule changes happening almost by the day. Travel to UK destinations was also hit and lockdown arrived and they too became impossible which naturally coincided with some fabulous weather. When lockdown lifted on July the 4th there was, understandably, a surge of bookings for staycations with Devon being one of the top destinations as it is every year. By the middle of July, we were experiencing a problem we just hadn’t expected at the beginning of the year – we had run out of availability. With 2,500 Devon holiday cottages at the time, that was quite an impressive feat.
We do expect to get very booked up in July and August but to have nothing available was a first. This didn’t just affect our family-sized cottages that sleep up to 8 guests, this was also for our larger properties. I was contacted on numerous occasions for hopeful last-minute cancellations or advice on moving to a later date but September was almost full too. Now October has an unusually high percentage of bookings and November and December bookings are significantly higher than in previous years. But many people want to visit over the summer months and again, this year, bookings are bucking the trend and June, July and August of 2021 are booking up fast. In previous years our advice would have been you should be pretty safe to wait until January and maybe later to ensure you can book what you want where you want it. But that isn’t the case now in 2020.
It is easy to see why Devon is so popular.
When do I Book then?
The short answer is now. If you have specific requirements or have a favourite cottage you book every year, you should not delay your booking. Leaving it to the last minute before 2020 sometimes lead to getting a bargain. For 2021 we believe this will only lead to no holiday at all as availability rapidly dwindles. This leads to a further problem of affordability – not many people will have thought about their 2021 Devon summer holiday yet, let alone budgeted for it. However, you can secure your Devon holiday cottage from just a £25 deposit on many properties so this should allow you to secure the booking you want now. In addition, the government scheme to kickstart the travel industry that dropped VAT to 5% runs all the way through until the 12th of January 2021 so that will help lower the costs too. This could also be a contributing factor as to why bookings are so high for 2021 already but we believe there has been a real shift in focus for peoples holidays with staycations winning the battle over foreign holidays.
Are staycations here to stay?
We are pretty sure they were popular before. The United Kingdom as a whole has amazing places, history, countryside, coastline, beaches and people wherever you go. But we are biased here so Devon’s are just that little bit better! We think that people who are used to holidaying abroad will wake up to the incredible holidays that are available in their own country. This is why we are working so hard to increase our portfolio to keep up with the demand. We are sure the demand for holidays at home will now keep rising. For all those thinking your holiday will be ruined if it rains, we have just done a long post on things to do in Devon when it is raining. We think you will be surprised by your options.
With property and views like this, why go anywhere else?
What if conditions change again?
It is a scenario none of us wants to think about but it is better to be prepared for the worst just in case. However, all cottage companies now have detailed plans in place and all of our carefully chosen partners have the same policy. If your holiday is affected by government regulations being put in place, then you are entitled to either change the date of your holiday free of charge (subject to availability) or receive a cash refund. This should allow you to book with confidence.
What are we doing about helping the situation?
We have already added an additional 500 cottages to our website since July. A wider choice should give you a better opportunity to find exactly what you are looking for as well as increased availability. We will be continuing to add properties to the website over the course of the year so that we should go into 2021 with over 4,000 cottages. We will continue to look for partnerships that we think offer the quality, locations, facilities and variety you have come to expect. We have made some major speed improvements to the website to ensure with an ever-increasing range of properties the website can keep up with the expansion. To keep up with all our new properties, why not follow us on Facebook or Instagram. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Let’s give you some helpful links to get your searches started: