Desperate Britons planning staycations as the airport chaos puts them off travelling abroad faced sky-high prices in the UK today with rooms in bed and breakfasts going for up to £1,000 a night this weekend.
Families planning getaways during the school holidays are looking to hotels, cottages or campsites in the UK amid shocking scenes in recent days of travellers being reduced to tears after hundreds of flight cancellations.
And hotel owners are cashing in by putting up the prices of accommodation amid the airport chaos, with the most extreme example being a B&B in Liskeard, Cornwall, charging £3,000 for a three-night stay from tomorrow.
Outdoor holiday booking site Pitchup said 80 per cent of more than 2,000 camping and glamping sites in England listed on its platform are now full this Friday, with 72,393 people making the most of the extra bank holiday.
In a column this week, TV judge Rob Rinder said recent price rises on getaways during the half-term holidays ‘looks like old-fashioned price gouging’, writing in the London Evening Standard: ‘I had no idea that it was half term, and that every holiday – whether to Denmark, Djibouti or Dorset – had gone up massively as a consequence.’
He described it as an ‘absolute outrage’, adding: ‘It’s appalling: a trip away from home should be a treat, not an unachievable luxury. The Government should fix this. After two years of Covid, families deserve a holiday.’
Paul Charles, boss of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said UK staycation prices are soaring. He told MailOnline today: ‘Staycations have become more popular during the pandemic and will continue to be sought after this year.
‘Some are put off by airport issues, other consumers don’t want to pay for flights. However, prices for holidaying within the UK have also been rising, mostly because of the inflationary environment and, of course, the sky-high demand. Prices are typically around 10 to 15 per cent higher this year but consumers desperate for a break do seem to be booking and paying the higher prices. They just need to hope for good weather.’
The UK’s tourism industry is grappling with the financial implications of a drop in staycation bookings this summer, which are currently down 19 per cent in June, 26 per cent in July and 30 per cent in August compared to last year.
Data from hotel technology provider Allora also found the average amount spent on UK holiday accommodation this year is down on 2021 by 7 per cent in May, 8 per cent in June, 16 per cent in July and 16 per cent in August.
£1,000/night, B&B IN CORNWALL — A private room in a bed and breakfast for two adults and two children in Liskeard, Cornwall, for the four-day bank holiday weekend from tomorrow until Sunday is on Airbnb for a whopping £1,000 a night
£351/night, FAMILY ROOM IN NORTH WALES — A family of four looking for a Jubilee bank holiday stay in North Wales would have to fork out £1,052 for three nights at this private room in a bed and breakfast in Conwy which can sleep five guests
£247/night, GLAMPING IN KENT — A family of two adults and two children hoping to visit Kent for a camping trip over the Jubilee bank holiday will have to shell out £742 for three nights at this glamping site in Wickhambreaux
£400/night, ROOM IN CAMBRIDGE — A family of four wanting to visit Cambridge for the bank holiday weekend would have to spend £1,200 to stay in this room in a two-bedroom maisonette which is a 10 minute walk away from the city centre
£789/night, CARAVAN IN CARDIFF — A family of four wanting to visit South Wales over the four-day weekend would have to pay £2,368 to stay in this caravan near the city centre
£877/night, BOAT IN OXFORDSHIRE — A two-bedroom boat on the River Thames at Benson in Oxfordshire costs £2,631 for three nights for a family of four over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend
And separate data from Trivago has found the average price for a double hotel room in London has increased by 9 per cent over the Jubilee weekend from £169.60 to £184.54 per night as hoteliers cash in on increased demand.
The figures also revealed London made up more than 50 per cent of searches out of the total searches for the top ten UK destinations for the Jubilee – and that the UK’s average hotel price for this month is now £140 per night.
BA and easyJet axe more than 150 flights TODAY amid fury at travel firms for pocketing holidaymakers’ money without having enough staff to deliver ‘oversold’ trips as Dominic Raab savages ‘unprepared’ bosses in deepening airport chaos blame game
A furious row between airlines and the UK Government deepened today as Dominic Raab accused them of failing to heed ministers’ warnings to recruit enough staff – and pointed out they had been given £8billion of support.
As chaos continued at airports across Britain today with 20 per cent of all flights now affected, the Deputy Prime Minister condemned airlines over a ‘lack of preparation’ for the post-pandemic surge in demand from tourists.
British Airways has cancelled at least 124 short-haul flights at London Heathrow Airport today, although said passengers were given advance notice – while easyJet cancelled at least 31 flights at Gatwick, including to destinations such as Bologna, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Prague, Czech Republic; Krakow, Poland; and Edinburgh. Tui Airways is continuing to cancel six daily flights at Manchester Airport, which represents a quarter of its schedule.
Amid huge queues at Gatwick, Bristol and Manchester airports today, one easyJet passenger at the latter said the situation was ‘carnage’, saying: ‘Took two hours 45 minutes to get through – most of that was bag drop. Now on the aircraft, but due to shortage of ground crew, there’s going to be another delay of approximately 50 minutes.’
Another easyJet passenger said they had to wait for two hours and 40 minutes to receive their luggage after landing at Gatwick shortly before 3am this morning. He said this was ‘simply not good enough’.
Trade unions and the Labour Party say the Government has failed to provide enough support to the sector. But Mr Raab said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had been talking to the industry for months about the return in demand, warning that ‘this will come and that you need to make sure that you’ve got your recruitment in place’.
But in a stinging attack on airlines, Mr Raab told Sky News this morning: ‘I don’t think the airline operators have done the recruitment they should have done and taken the advice that the Transport Secretary gave them.’
Mr Shapps has warned tourism firms not to over-book flights and holidays amid fears travel chaos will drag on into summer, saying that scenes over recent days of travellers being reduced to tears ‘must not happen again’. He also accused operators of ‘seriously over-selling’ trips which they could not deliver due to a staff shortage crisis.
Explaining the extent of problems, aviation expert Luke Farajallah from Specialist Aviation Services told LBC radio today: ‘It’s about 20 per cent of flights that are affected across the UK across all airlines and across all airports.’
The data from Allora – also known as ‘allora.ai’ – found Britons are spending 16 per cent less on their summer staycations this year amid the squeeze on incomes during the cost-of-living crisis, which has seen inflation soar to 9 per cent.
And the company’s chief commercial officer Michael De Jongh told MailOnline today: ‘We’ve heard of hotels increasing their prices as a result of the airport chaos, but this certainly has not been the case with the hotels in the Allora network.’
He added: ‘Staycations are still very popular, but the cost of living crisis means holidaymakers are increasingly looking to save money wherever they can. This means many of them will look for slightly cheaper packages or to reduce the length of their stay.
‘The good news for the hotel industry is that international visitors are back in force, once again enjoying all that Britain and Ireland have to offer.’
The firm also revealed that overall UK hotel bookings – which form part of the total staycations figure – are surging this year thanks to the big post-pandemic rise in visitors from overseas, with the figure up 340 per cent in June, 318 per cent in July and 187 per cent in August.
Mr De Jongh added: ‘The popularity of staycations has held up remarkably well considering international travel is available again.
‘Factors such as passport delays and airport problems are bound to have had an effect, but the fact Britons are choosing a UK holiday again is also most certainly a testament to the quality of our domestic hotel industry.’
Another factor contributing to the higher price of staycations in the UK is skyrocketing fuel prices that will make the cost of a long drive far more expensive than ever before.
The price of petrol hit a record average of 173.02p a litre on Monday, industry figures revealed. Filling a typical 55-litre tank now costs £95.16 – up from £71.12 this time last year.
But experts warned the cost of a fill-up could surge past £100 within days as wholesale oil costs continue to soar. They predict average petrol prices could hit 185p a litre within a week or two, taking the cost of a fill-up to nearly £102.
Recent research on holidays has implicated prices at the pumps as being a major factor behind decisions to go on holiday in the UK. In April, Auto Trader found that a third of households were thinking twice about staycations.
Their survey of 2,400 of its website users found that 38 per cent were less likely to choose a UK holiday this year – with 85 per cent of them blaming the decision on the rising cost of fuel.
Last month Travelodge revealed plans to hire 700 staff ahead of an expected busy summer season for staycations as it reported a strong rebound from the pandemic.
The hotel chain said it was looking to take on 640 staff across its UK sites, with 40 roles also open at its head office in Oxfordshire and 20 maintenance engineer positions.
It revealed it was seeking to fill the permanent positions immediately as it gears up for another strong summer for staycation demand, while it also rolls out a hotel revamp programme and is set to open three new sites in London over the summer – in Docklands, Peckham and Wimbledon.
MailOnline revealed in April that budget holiday operators were preparing for a bumper summer as Britain’s families weigh up whether to risk airport and flight chaos going abroad or remain in the UK for a staycation in the coming months.
Haven, which has 41 holiday parks in the UK, said at the time that it was already more than 90 per cent booked for Easter with nearly half of its 2.5million visitors this year booking for the first time.
And Parkdean Resorts, which has 66 parks, said it was having to hire 7,000 seasonal workers across sales, food, drink and housekeeping to keep up with record-breaking demand.
LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT: A busy Terminal Two at London Heathrow this morning as passengers continue to face delays
MANCHESTER AIRPORT: Passengers continue to face huge delays at Manchester Airport this morning
BRISTOL AIRPORT: Holidaymakers face huge delays at Bristol Airport at 4am this morning as the airport chaos continues
But the staycation boom is not being seen across all parts of the industry, with data in April revealing bookings for Airbnb properties in the South West were down by 15 per cent compared to 2021 – and demand appearing to have returned to 2019 levels.
And UK resorts could also face issues attracting families who are still trying to use booking vouchers for foreign holidays because of cancelled flights or trips in the past few years, which makes them less likely to stay in Britain.
Others will have had their holiday budget squeezed or wiped out completely by cost-of-living pressures which are set to leave £900 British households worse off this year in a ‘historic fall’ in living standards according to PwC.
It comes as holidaymakers hoping to take flights abroad faced more chaos today on the eve of the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend. More than 150 UK flights were cancelled today and passengers who could travel were forced to wait in long queues at airports.
EasyJet cancelled at least 31 flights at Gatwick, including to destinations such as Bologna, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Prague, Czech Republic; Krakow, Poland; and Edinburgh.
British Airways axed 124 short-haul flights at Heathrow, but the airline says passengers were given advance notice. Tui Airways is continuing to cancel six daily flights at Manchester, which represents a quarter of its schedule.