Working from home (WFH) because of Covid-19 has transformed the traditional working week. For many, the daily grind of commuting from Monday to Friday has been replaced with remote working.
The impact on office life has been highly visible and ubiquitous. Less obvious, but hugely significant in the long term, is the impact of WFH on the traditional weekend. Weekdays spent commuting tended to be followed by weekends relaxing at home and locally. WFH has instead meant that for some, ‘cabin fever’ is setting in by Friday evening and they want a change of scenery.
With WFH set to continue in some form even now a vaccine is being rolled out, the desire to get away at weekends will continue and even surge in popularity.
The desire to feel safe from Covid-19 is also likely to persist, given that the government has issued advice to “continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection”, and is also emphasising the importance of good ventilation in reducing the spread of Covid-19.
In this context, holiday parks are likely to become popular locations for weekend breaks, building on the strong trade the sector enjoyed in 2020, as much of its accommodation is socially distanced by design.
Investors and developers have noted this and the UK parks team at Colliers International has seen a three-fold increase in enquiries from potential purchasers.
We expect to see continued appetite from buyers, particularly those with an existing sector presence. Holiday parks offer the fundamentals of an asset-backed trading entity with the relative security of consistent pitch-fee income. This is alongside strong holiday home sales and a strong demand for domestic holidays.
The holiday parks sector has shaken off its Hi-de-Hi! image and benefitted from the trend for staycations in high-quality caravans and lodges, as well as more quirky accommodation such as yurts. Covid has reinforced that popularity and the WFH effect on weekends will lead more people to seek a quick getaway to places such as luxury lodges in idyllic rural settings.
Richard Moss is head of UK parks agency at Colliers