Hoseasons recorded a new booking every 11 seconds in the hours after Boris Johnson committed on Tuesday (23 June) to easing the UK’s coronavirus lockdown next month.
Johnson gave England’s domestic tourism the green light to resume operations from 4 July, with hotels, B&Bs, campsites and other accommodation cleared to open, if they can do so safely.
Any resumption of domestic tourism in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be subject to decisions made by each country’s devolved administration.
The move was welcomed by the UK’s hospitality sector, which has struggled to generate any revenue at all since mid-March owing to the coronavirus lockdown.
Hoseasons and sister brand cottages.com recorded their best days ever for online sales on Tuesday; Hoseasons sales ended 270% up year-on-year, while cottages.com recorded a 455% spike in bookings.
Hoseasons bookings through agent channels also increased markedly, up 236% compared to the same day last year making it the brand’s best trading day of 2020.
It comes after the boss of Hoseasons and cottages.com parent Awaze UK, Henrik Kjellberg, told TTG he was confident the operator could sell out its UK product if it got the go-ahead from government to resume operations in July.
“We were expecting greater levels of interest, but the surge in demand was still surprising – and we certainly hadn’t expected a record day,” said Simon Altham, chief commercial officer of Hoseasons and cottages.com parent Awaze UK.
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen volumes of enquires and bookings increase on a daily basis as people begin to become more confident about booking a UK holiday. Government confirmation seems to have just given people an extra level of certainty."
Altham said the boost was evidence holidays "remain a priority for most people". "July and August are likely to be very busy as a result, but we’re also expecting greater than usual levels of demand for September and October too as the season extends," he said.
“While there is still a long way to go, and everyone must continue to remain vigilant, this could be the beginning of a very significant and much needed boost for the sector. At the moment, holidaying closer to home is good for the soul and the UK economy.”
Awaze’s brands have launched a new Safer Stays initiative allowing its locations to confirm extra cleaning protocols and social distancing measures.