Clients are opting for longer stays at Sandals and Beaches properties this year, new booking data has shown.
Unique Caribbean Holidays (UCHL), the UK tour operator for Sandals and Beaches Resorts, has found clients travelling in 2020 are staying 16% longer than in the previous two years.
Those travelling as planned in 2020 to the operator’s Caribbean destinations, including St Lucia, Antigua, Barbados and Grenada, are staying an average 11.4 nights – almost 1.6 days up from the average 9.8-night durations in 2019 and 2018.
Karl Thompson, UCHL managing director, said: “Most clients are used to the idea of having Covid tests before they travel now but if they are going to pay for these tests and decent travel insurance cover, they really want to make the most of their holidays.
“We have seen an influx of customers who are happy to travel and want to extend their stay with us before they depart, and we’ve even had some who extend last minute when they’re in the destination.
“Many people have gone without their well-deserved holidays this year so if they are able to get away, they’re really making sure it’s worth the wait by treating themselves to more time in the sun.”
Destinations such as Barbados and Antigua are also offering visitors the opportunity to ‘work from home’ on extended working visas, which may also attribute to the trend.
UCHL’s bookings for 2021 departures are averaging 9.89 days so far, a slight increase on 2019, but Thompson is confident this will increase.
“A large proportion of our 2020 business is now last minute as people want to make sure they go on holiday before the rules change, so it’s likely that when we get closer to 2021, this duration will also increase dramatically.”
Departures during 2022 and 2023 to date are respectively averaging 10.21 and 10 days. UCHL attributes this to customers celebrating special occasions booking further ahead.