British holidaymakers are opting for more staycations and spending less on overseas travel as the pound’s collapse begins to hit the vacation market.
Data released by holiday rental firm HomeAway shows that British travellers paid an average rate of £27 per person per night for its vacation lettings in the final three months of last year, marking a 15% drop from the same period a year earlier.
Elena Novokreshchenova, HomeAway’s regional director for the UK, Ireland and emerging markets, said: “Our data suggests HomeAway travellers are responding to the fluctuating value of sterling since the EU referendum, by becoming smarter about where and how they spend their holiday time with their loved ones.”
Market reaction to the Brexit vote has weakened the pound, making imported goods and trips abroad more expensive for Brits.
Sterling has regained some strength since the start of this year, but had lost 18% of its value against the US dollar and fallen 10% versus the euro in the second half of last year.
However, UK travellers did not cut back on their holidays, extending their stay by around 10% in the fourth quarter.
Ms Novokreshchenova said: “The findings prove that travellers aren’t willing to cut down on their holidays, but rather they are adapting their travel behaviour post-Brexit when holidaying at home or abroad.”
The company said outbound demand for holiday rentals on its site increased in the fourth quarter, with Spanish locations including Malaga, Barcelona and Mallorca emerging as the top destinations for Brits last year.
The weaker pound also sparked a rise in staycations, though Brits cut down the cost and length of their domestic holidays.
Staycations were shorter by about 5%, while the average spend per person per night on the HomeAway website fell to £28 in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with £29 a year earlier.
Cornwall, London and Yorkshire emerged as the most popular destinations for domestic holidays for the whole of last year, HomeAway said.
Overseas visitors, meanwhile, took advantage of the currency slump, with European travellers staying in UK holiday lettings for a “relatively long” period of six nights and increasing their spend to around £35 pounds per night per person in the final three months of last year, versus £34 a year earlier.
US tourists, meanwhile, stayed 25% longer and paid 20% more compared with a year earlier thanks to a stronger dollar, with American visitors spending around £26 per person per night on average.