This summer, treat yourself. Spend your 5-star vacation at none other than home sweet home.
Yup, say goodbye to all those fancy hotels and tropical beaches. With COVID-19 still at our doors, it’s anyone’s guess when the holiday season will be a thing once more. IATA expects air travel numbers to return to pre-COVID-19 levels by 2023 – yikes! Still, no one wants to wait till 2023 for travel to return to normal. While that exciting trip to Malaysia will have to wait, you’ll have to make due in the meantime with a trip to your seldom-used bathtub. Hey, if you put your mind to it, even that can feel (if not look) like a 5-star Jacuzi. You’re welcome.
But hey, if you’ve got some cash to burn (I mean, it’s your money after all), and are willing to risk getting the virus, many of your local hotels have begun offering staycation packages. In world-famous destination Dubai, for example, hotels are tripping over their own feet to get you in their doors. On the national level, countries are pushing for this too. France launched a program called #ExploreParis to support tourism while abiding by travel restrictions. After all, few sectors suffered from the pandemic like the hospitality sector did. So, this line of thinking makes sense.
But what exactly is a staycation? Coined in 2005 by a comedian on a TV show, the term eventually found traction as legitimate type of holiday. While originally referring to a vacation spent at home and at local attractions, hotels eventually picked up on it and commercialized it. That’s marketing for you, I suppose.
According to consultancy Colliers International, “The percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi from within a 30-mile radius increased from just 20% in January, to 43% in March. Similarly, with bookings to Dubai, the percentage rose from 19% to 36%. With people keen to get out of the house and take a break whilst flights are still grounded, and travel still restricted, it is likely that staycations will be the popular choice in the UAE.”
According to research by Sojern, searches and bookings made within the UAE to local hotels in Abu Dhabi saw an increase in travel intent. There has been gradual increase in interest, especially for high-end hotels. Upper and Luxury hotels have maintained the highest level of searches and bookings.
Now, hotels are trying to kick things up a notch by incorporating new tech into their offerings to lure in homebound customers.
“For hotel companies to stand out, it is crucial for them to engage potential guests with immersive online booking experiences,” Colliers International notes. “Anantara hotels rolled out a virtual 3D tour of their properties worldwide, where all facilities including each room category, entertainment, and F&B offerings, can be explored from a 360-degree point of view. This type of initiative provides potential guests with a much more immersive and customized experience that may act as a key deciding factor when booking their next trip.
Additionally, wth people growing frustrated with their urban lifestyles, a reconnect with nature is needed. Major staycation spots across the Middle East are expected to be places that provide guests with nature-related activities such as cycling and walking, Colliers International says. For instance, in the UAE, the desert and beach terrain of Ras Al Khaimah is expected to be a hotspot providing guests with desert experiences, especially for those looking to escape from Dubai.
So, will you be taking a staycation this summer?