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The year of the Staycation and how we helped a leading retailer brand capture it

16 August 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just led to a growth in the number of UK staycations, but in pet ownership too. With 3.2 million pets estimated to have been purchased in lockdown, lots of households are taking their pet on holiday for the first time this year.

We take a look at exactly how many households are taking pets on holiday, which are the most popular locations and, how you can make sure your pet enjoys their staycation as much as you do.

Photography by Catherine Falls

The Staycation statistics

A recent survey of pet owners found that 85% would prefer a UK staycation with their pet than a foreign holiday without them. In fact, the statistics go further to say that more than two-thirds of pet owners have sacrificed going on holiday because they didn’t want to leave their animal friends behind.

This growing trend has also been seen by hotels, holiday homes and holiday bookings providers, all of which have seen an increase in the number of searches for pet-friendly holidays: it was the second most popular requirement after ‘beach nearby’.

So, as the number of pets packing their bucket and spade increases, which locations and what types of staycations are proving the most popular?

Photography by Catherine Falls

Where are the most popular pet staycation locations?

With a general consensus that foreign beaches are off the cards (certainly for 2021 at least), UK couples and families have been making the most of their home country’s coastline, with many heading to the sunny South Coast.

Devon and Cornwall on the South West coast have been the most popular locations overall in 2021. However, thanks to the high number of pet-friendly pubs, walks and vets means the South East is also a great option for those looking to take their pet on holiday.

Photography by Catherine Falls

Where are the best pet-friendly holidays?

The popularity of the South Coast shows that many are looking to give their pet a taste of sun, sea and sand. Indeed 15.4% of pet owners said that a beach holiday was their favourite type of getaway.

Escaping to the beach isn’t the only option however, with more UK resorts and holiday parks opening up to pets than ever before. Parkdean Resorts has made 66 out of 67 of their parks pet-friendly and the National Trust has made 257 (nearly half) of their cottages dog-friendly.

This means your pet can come along with you to explore the Lake District, discover the Scottish Highlands or enjoy the sights of one of the UK’s amazing cities. For many, hiking across the countryside and taking in some fresh air are non-negotiables for a pet-friendly staycation, with 42.9% of pet owners looking for this in their ideal holiday destination.

Photography by Catherine Falls

How to give your pet the best holiday

Whether you have a cat, dog or llama as a pet, it’s key to make sure they enjoy your holiday as much as you do, even if they’re not joining you. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you arrange a staycation with your pet:

• Think about how you’re getting there: the majority of pets will be travelling to their UK staycation by car, so it’s important that your pet (and anyone else who’s there) is as comfortable as possible. Ensure that your pet has enough room to lie down and relax, or is in a cage if that’s safer. Take lots of water with you and ensure you plan some toilet stops for your pet on the journey. If your pet hasn’t travelled in your car before, make sure you do a few short test runs to ensure they get used to the new environment.

• Check out pet-friendly locations: 80% of travellers said that pet-friendly policies were important, and doing your research before you book is always key. For example, certain beaches in the UK are only partially open to dogs or can only be accessed for part of the year, so it’s recommended that you check all these policies before you settle on your final destination. Using pet-friendly sites like PetsPyjamas can help you to find recommended locations before easily.

• Leave your pet with a trusted carer: if you do have to leave your pet behind, then make sure you find a pet sitter, kennel or boarding house that is reliable and reputable. As well as checking any references, records or reviews of the pet care service you choose, do a test run before you go on holiday to make sure you and your pet are happy with the service. Plus, before you go away, make sure the sitters have everything they need, including emergency vet contacts, your details and the right food and treats.

Photography by Catherine Falls

Capturing memories with M&S Bank

Any pet owner wants to have the perfect holiday with their animal friend. Recently, we were asked to help capture the staycation experience with our client, M&S Bank.

Alongside the production team DAWN Production, our agents, and amazing dog actor Laila, took a trip to the shoot location in the Cotswolds’ for an idyllic holiday shoot.

Our stunning three-year-old golden Cocker Spaniel had a fantastic time exploring the countryside and truly showed off UK staycations at their best. Her breed is incredibly popular, and extremely common in the South of England, so she was the perfect fit – and we’re sure you can agree that she ended up stealing the show!

Photography by Catherine Falls

Whether you’re a photographer or brand manager who wants to capture the fun and excitement of a UK holiday, we have the pet star to be the face of a staycation campaign for you.

Get in touch with our friendly team of experts today by calling 020 8161 6556.

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