Photo credit: unsplash / Anthony Tran

Staycations : advantageous for local advertisers

The term “staycation” (a portmanteau of “stay” and “vacation”) would have first surfaced in an American newspaper article in 2003 when describing the growing trend of planning local holidays. Most observers would agree that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks had an impact on travel habits. Paul Arseneault, the Transat Chair in Tourism at the UQAM School of Management (ESG), points out that in the months following the attacks, “Americans no longer wanted to leave the United States, nor did they want to leave the house.” Staying home became both a patriotic and safe gesture. It’s interesting to note that same phenomenon is currently being observed in post-Brexit Great Britain. Not only are vacation research options within the country on the rise, but bookings as well.

The good news for advertisers in all of this? The “vacation” category now applies to more of them. 

These days, it isn’t necessarily frowned upon to spend the holidays at home doing whatever one wants, whenever one wants, at whatever pace is desired. In some ways, it’s an extension of “me time”, cocooning and Hygge living, i.e., a way to offer oneself quality time surrounded by loved ones, in the comfort of one’s home. Have you noticed the enormous selection of garden furniture at Canadian Tire as of late? Or the well stocked candle section at HomeSense? If you’re choosing to stay home, you might as well invest in a little comfort (regardless of the area of the house or room in question). Some brands go so far as to create ready-made look catalogues for staycations (hello, American EagleAnthropologie and Song of style).

Staycations aren’t always the end result of mindful introspection, obviously: scheduling conflicts, budgetary restrictions and a limited number of days off can easily come to top the list of influencing factors. However that doesn’t necessarily mean individuals won’t spend: trips requiring a few hours drive from the home and weekend getaways (hello, serial weekenders!) are very popular options. This offers a wide range of advertisers additional opportunities to promote the affordable component of activities to take part in near the primary residence. A whole day at the spa mid-week? A tour of organic and biodynamic wineries? A three-day camping excursion? An alfresco cooking class? Why not.

Lastly, the beauty of staycations also lies in the utter absence of any kind of pressure. Say goodbye to the pressure of booking, and to the burden of finding yourself stuck in transit. While we’re at it, forget racing against the clock to see at least a dozen not-to-be-missed historical sites. And perhaps above all, ditch the self-imposed pressure to take THE best photo ever. Being a tourist in one’s city means choosing activities and things we’re often unable to cross off our to-do lists. That frame of mind makes one particularly receptive to suggestions from local advertisers.