UK sees surge in motorhome hires in wake of airport chaos

Cancelled flights, miles of queues at the ferry ports – the British summer holiday has got off to a very chaotic start. That disruption has had one side effect that has been very beneficial for the country’s leisure vehicle industry – with one leading motorhome hire company reporting a ten-fold increase in last-minute bookings this summer so far, as holidaymakers look for another option when their original plans have gone wrong. Matt Sims, owner of The Motorhome Holiday Company, believes this spike in demand his company has experienced is directly related to problems with flights and ferries. He said: “It’s the first time we’ve seen such an influx in last-minute bookings and many customers say they have been put off by the uncertainty at airports and gridlock at Dover. They want to enjoy a stress-free holiday, with control over how and when they travel, and this is an appealing choice.”

Last summer, Matt’s company had a fully booked summer as British holidaymakers enjoyed the reliability and safety of motorhome staycations due to COVID-19-related restrictions around air travel. Most people in that summer booked more than one month in advance, but this summer Matt has seen many customers booking holidays just a few days in advance.

The Motorhome Holiday Company team, photo: Madeline Rose Photography.

Sophie Slavin, a Motorhome Holiday Company customer, said: “We planned to go abroad but the flights were extortionate – particularly during the school holidays - and we’d seen flights cancelled or delayed, with people stranded in airports.

“It didn’t look like an appealing or affordable option. We wanted to get away as a family and decided to try the motorhome option, which worked out at around a fifth of the cost.

“We loved having the freedom to go where we wanted to go. We picked a spot on the UK map at random and off we went to Pembrokeshire for a family adventure.”

While Matt has welcomed this boom for his business, he has urged people to try and book in advance if possible, to guarantee availability for their chosen dates. He said: “We’ve been able to accommodate the late bookings so far - but early booking ensures you avoid possible disappointment.”