‘High demand’ sending staycation prices through the roof

Families planning a post-lockdown Easter staycation in Devon face soaring prices as the cost of some holiday accommodation is three times higher than a fortnight earlier in the season – with companies saying it is down to “high demand”.

Colleen Smith www.devonlive.com

Price increases from firms including Haven, Butlin’s, Airbnb and Centre Parcs come amid concern that the national lockdown may still be in place in March.

Easter Sunday is on April 4 and the price of a standard three-bed caravan more than doubles at the Haven Devon Cliffs holiday park in East Devon.

It will cost £801 for seven days from Saturday April 3 – an increase of 152 per cent from a fortnight earlier, when the same holiday would cost £317 a week.

At the height of the holiday season, the same three-bed standard caravan for a family of six will be £1,564 during the summer – assuming Covid restrictions are lifted.

The park in Sandy Bay is one of the biggest in the region and employs 500 people. Last year it had to make redundancies due to the impact of Covid-19 on tourism.

Haven, which also operates Perran Sands and Riviere Sands holiday parks in Cornwall, said that it has seen a particularly high demand for holidays for May half term, July, August and next October half term, with the demand for visits to Devon and Cornwall higher than elsewhere in the UK.

It has sold 40,000 more holidays than it would normally expect to at this point in the year, with Devon and Cornwall proving a particularly popular for people seeking to get away at a time where it is hoped the coronavirus vaccines will bring the pandemic under control and a path back to normality.

On Airbnb, many properties are already almost fully booked but in North Devon one cottage on the coast at Buck’s Mill costs £684 for a week at the end of March, rising to £853 over Easter week.

Meanwhile, a Woolacombe flat for four people is £1,462 a week at Easter.

In South Devon a bungalow at Salcombe costs £1,146 at Easter and in Okehampton town centre, a renovated cottage is £996 for Easter week.

In North Devon, at Clovelly a Grade II listed barn is £931.

Even the traditionally cheaper Butlin’s holiday has significantly risen in price for Easter 2021.

Some of the prices of Butlin’s stays across the UK have been tripled as people begin to look at booking domestic holidays in 2021.

Butlin’s has said its decision to raise prices is the result of “high demand”, but it would refund the difference on any booked holiday where the price drops after booking.

Holiday resorts and tourism businesses often raise prices during holidays and peak periods, and the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic has left many businesses financially damaged.

The prices at Butlin’s resorts across the country, including the site in Minehead in Somerset, have been raised in the same way this year, but in some cases they have been risen by more than would be expected in previous years.

On the resort chain’s website as of this morning (January 28), a three-day stay in a Standard Apartment at Butlin’s in Minehead for two adults and two children starts from £170 when the break begins on March 19, during the school term.

However, just two weeks later, the same package beginning on April 2 – the day after schools break up and covering the Easter weekend – the price starts from £581, more than three times the term-time price.

On the same dates, people can stay in a Gold Apartment in Minehead from £207 during term time, but on April 2 that price climbs to a minimum of £611.

A spokesperson for Haven confirmed the sudden bookings rush, saying: “We are seeing that Devon and Cornwall are outperforming other regions at the moment and it looks like at this stage it will continue to be a popular holiday destination in 2021 with many people still opting for staycations.”

A Centre Parcs spokesperson said: “We have seen a significant increase in bookings and interest in Center Parcs breaks recently.

“Our bookings for 2021, in particular from May onwards, are very strong and ahead of the same time last year. Whilst we expect demand for a UK break to remain high, it is clear that people want reassurance about the flexibility to cancel or change dates.

“Our Book with Confidence guarantee allows our guests to book their break now, safe in the knowledge that they will be able to change dates with no fee or receive a full no quibbles refund should they no longer be able to, or feel comfortable to, go ahead with their break when the time arrives.”

She added that Centre Parcs’ five UK villages were closed until at least February 18, but this was not a confirmed reopening date.