Staycation specialist cottages.com set a new sales record at the weekend after health secretary Matt Hancock said people could look forward to a "happy and free Great British summer".
Cottages.com took more than 8,000 bookings at the weekend, with Saturday and then Sunday proving consecutive record days for bookings.
Sunday was up 20% on the operator’s previous best day ever recorded last June when prime minister Boris Johnson gave the domestic tourism sector the green light to resume operations after the country’s first Covid lockdown.
Nearly half of all holidays sold at the weekend were for peak summer, July and August, while nearly a quarter were for staycations in Cornwall and Devon.
By-the-sea breaks also proved proved extremely popular, with 50% of all weekend bookings featuring a coastal property.
Off the back of the weekend spike, cottages.com is now predicting its fast-ever summer staycation sell-out.
Simon Altham, group chief operating officer at cottages.com parent Awaze, said: “These are astonishing figures. We saw a rapid increase in bookings last week off the back of the tightening of European travel restrictions, and that momentum only gathered pace over the weekend.
"People clearly want something to look forward to and a future holiday, when it is safe to travel again, is perfect for helping to get through the cold winter months during lockdown.
"It’s no surprise they have reacted to Mr Hancock’s comments and rushed to lock in a Great British summer break.”
The increase in bookings has been matched by a spike in new property owners joining cottages.com follow a 40% year-on-year increase in owners signing their properties up. “Our property recruitment team have never been so busy," Altham added.