A surge in demand for UK breaks is being reported by self-catering accommodation specialist Hoseasons as lockdown restrictions start to be relaxed.

Bookings through third parties are claimed to be up 250% week-on-week following the switching back on of some trade channels that were previously on hold.

The company said it is currently working through a programme to open up to all agents as demand increases.

Trade sales were stopped as lockdown was imposed because its systems were not designed to cope with the volume of inquiries from customers looking to cancel and rebook.

Overall online lodge holiday bookings are up 20% over last week, while cottage holiday sales are up 35% over the same period and more than double the level two weeks ago.

Search data is also up, with demand for lodges rising 31% and lodges and parks up 27%.

Hoseasons has reacted by launching £1.5 million TV and digital advertising campaign aimed at kick-starting the UK summer.

All audiences will be targeted this month, which will include display, video and social.

The advert will focus on places holidaymakers can visit on their doorstep, as well as a new money back guarantee.

The guarantee is aimed at reassuring customers they will receive a full refund if the company has to cancel their holiday at a later date.

This follows intervention by the Competition and Markets Authority which saw the company voluntarily changing its policy after originally failing to offer refunds to all customers whose trips were cancelled.

A new ‘Safer Stays’ initiative has also been introduced where locations can sign up confirming they have extra cleaning protocols and social distancing measures in place for guests.

Hoseasons’ sister brand, cottages.com is also seeing growth in demand, with web searches up 63% and bookings up 55% over last week.

Sally Henry, sales director at Hoseasons parent Awaze UK, said: “Everything we are seeing points to an increasing appetite for UK breaks.

“The recent easing of some lockdown restrictions has clearly boosted people’s confidence that they will be able to enjoy a holiday at home this year after all.”