The rise of the short break: Is your holiday park ready to take advantage?

2016 has been dubbed “the year of the short break” after one of the UK’s largest park operators saw a huge rise in the number of bookings for mini getaways.

But, is your holiday park geared up for short breaks? If not, then you could be missing out…

Gone are the days – or so it seems – where a park’s bookings would be dominated by fortnight-long stays throughout the busy summer months. Instead, according to Hoseasons, people now prefer a few days away at a time.

Is down to consumers wanting to save money? Or could also be because we all now, apparently, lead busier lives than we used to and longer breaks could eat into time we’d rather spend doing other things or work commitments?

Whatever the reasons may be there has been a notable shift in holiday booking patterns and is evident none more so than at Hoseasons.

It has seen a 16% jump in short break bookings in 2016 with a surge in 3 and 4-night breaks across its UK lodge, park and boating locations.

Short break sales through third-parties, including high-street travel agents, are up 10% this year, it said.

The number of holidaymakers booking more than one short break with the domestic tour operator is also up, by 12% year on year.

’Holiday habits are changing’

Hoseasons’ managing director, Simon Altham, said: “These figures clearly show our customers’ holiday habits are changing. Many are working longer and harder, so it’s easy to see why taking several UK short breaks that allow them to relax, recharge and catch up with family or friends, is becoming appealing.”

Short break bookings for the Whitsun half-term last week were up 28% compared to the same week last year, which Altham attributes to families looking for safe destinations near to home.

So far this year Newquay is the most popular short break destination while Devon, Somerset and Dorset combined have seen the biggest regional increase with bookings up 40% compared to last year. Short break sales currently account for 68% of Hoseasons’ business.

How can your park take advantage of the rise in popularity of short breaks?

Have you always requested 5 or 7 night minimum stays? Well, you could be missing out on valuable short break revenue. But, how best to take advantage of this? Here’s a few suggestions…

  • Offer 3 or 4 night minimum stays where possible, or why not go one stage further and offer 2 night minimum stays?
  • Try offering mid-week short breaks (arriving on a Monday/Tuesday rather than a Thursday/Friday)
  • Don’t be afraid to discount: If you’re struggling then entice your audience with money-saving offers or throw in extras such as welcome packs or entertainment passes.
  • Promotion: Tell the world via all the main channels – and don’t forget social media!
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