With the outlook on international travel this summer still looking bleak, staycations are set to become the new vacation. And if 2020 is anything to go by, customers are going to come in their thousands.
Popular UK holiday destinations are already filling up, with campsites, holiday parks and hotel groups all reporting a huge surge in bookings for the summer months and beyond. It seems people really are ready to start adventuring a little further from home again and it’s our job to make their adventure as memorable as possible. We need to bring the vacation to the staycation.
People are ready for change, and anyone offering something different is poised to take the lion’s share. So in order to stand out, we need to go above and beyond our original offering. From food and drink events to live music and even pizza making, there are plenty of ways we can get people through the door – and keep them coming back.
Here’s a few ideas:
One night a week, turn your business into a pizza making extravaganza, bringing customers a slice of Italy. You could do this on your quietest evening, or stay open later one day if you’re a day-time joint.
- Use semolina when you stretch out the base as this will stop it from sticking and also result in a nice crunchy bottom
- Make sure your tomato base isn’t too watery. Use a passata or make your own with fresh tomatoes
- Use toppings like mozzarella, prosciutto ham, olives – classic but delicious
- Make sure your oven is at maximum if you’re not using a pizza oven – they cook hot and fast
- You could even serve traditional Italian drinks alongside it – Negronis to start are always a winner
Menus inspired by different countries:
One night a week, transport customers to another location with a menu curated on the country’s most-loved food and drink. We go into much greater depth in this article.
Take them to:
- Mexico: Burritos filled with marinated steak, chicken or beans for the veggies; Tacos, nachos piled high with homemade guacamole, sour cream and salsa, and maybe even a margarita on the side
- Spain: Patatas bravas, prawn pil pil (the secret is loads of garlic, chilli, and paprika), jamón croquettes, Iberian ham on bread, fried calamari – all goes brilliantly with a glass of Albariño or Sangria
- France: Charcuterie and cheese boards, a good french stick, Tartiflette (the key is the reblochon cheese), Coq au vin, Tarte Tatin (A fancy name for what we call an apple tartan)
- America: Slow cooked beef brisket, tomahawk steak, meaty ribs, alongside creamy mac’n’cheese, loaded fries, and lots of sauces for dipping. Top tip: keep your meat succulent with a good marinade and baste your meat throughout cooking
Wine tasting evenings:
Host a series of wine tastings, with wines from a different country at each one.
- You could incorporate food too. Small bites on crostinis, which compliment each wine – and soak up the booze!
- Is there a local vineyard or even brewery or distillery you could partner up with?
- Go even bigger. Following the wine tasting, present a set menu from the same region the wine is from. So if it’s France: Charcuterie to start, steak and frites for the main, maybe a nice soufflé or crème caramel to finish
- Don’t be afraid to charge for the event. It may allow you to hire a wine guru who really knows their stuff!
Are you in a location close to activities? Maybe a lake where people paddleboard, go climbing or coasteering. It could be a good idea to team up with the activity centre and offer a package deal to increase your exposure. Or why not host a yoga morning?
- Morning coffee deal: customers get a free (or charge a lower amount) coffee and croissant with proof of their activity receipt
- Lunch offer: sandwich and a drink for x pounds.
- You could even offer to host big groups, who sign up for a package deal of a morning spent paddleboarding followed by brunch
- Yoga: 1 hour of yoga, followed by brunch – always a winner
Takeaways (But not as you know them…)
A lot of activities on UK staycations include hiking and sightseeing but there’s always the issue of needing lunch, and if they’re only in a B&B, going out to eat twice a day can be a costly affair.
- Offer a packed lunch that customers can pre-order and collect before they head out for the day: A simple sandwich, piece of fruit, maybe a slice of cake or flapjack if this is something you already make, and drink – try and keep it as plant-friendly as possible, using paper over plastic
- Paper boxes of salads could work too. These salads will keep well: Roasted butternut squash, feta and raw courgette salad, with pomegranate seeds and toasted pumpkin seeds (Serve the dressing on the side); Roasted aubergine, sun-dried tomato, rocket, mozzarella, prosciutto ham, and olives
The Brits love a good picnic. It’s the perfect excuse to spend the whole day outside with friends and family.
What to include in your picnic bundle:
- Picnic hamper
- Cool box
- A nice soft picnic rug
- Hireable deck chairs
- Games like cricket, football, puzzles, bat and ball, frisbee, boules…
- Food: frittata, quiche, finger sandwiches, crudites, scotch eggs, healthy(er) banana oat muffins, fruit, flapjacks, cheese scones – these are all things that travel really well.
- Cups, cutlery, plates (all recyclable)
- Create different picnic packages: family, couples, special occasions – include a bottle of wine.
By adding an extra offering to your service, you’re going to attract more customers. People like being able to get everything in one place; they like it when it’s easy. These are just a few ideas but the list is endless, you just need to think outside the box a little.
Also in our staycation series, we look at how to transport our customers to an exotic location. Think full restaurant makeover and delicious food to match – serving suggestions included!