Initial COVID-19 shutdowns created a sudden change in lifestyle that made homeowners want to improve the quality of the increased time at home. It was official…the staycation mentality had returned, and more powerfully than ever before. With traditional vacation venues remaining closed, the staycation boom continued to grow throughout the summer but started to trickle off a bit once schools and businesses began to reopen in phases. However, life has hardly gone back to what anyone would call “normal.” In fact, Staycation 2020 expanded to mean so much more than just decompressing in your outdoor living space. Outdoor living spaces have also become outdoor home offices and outdoor homeschool classrooms. All of this resulted in a continued increased demand for new or renovated outdoor living spaces.
FACTORING IN NEW CONSTRUCTION
With so many more people working remotely and interest rates at historic lows, demand for suburban housing increased substantially this year. January through August 2020, housing starts have shown as much as double-digit increases in some parts of the country compared to the same time period in 2019. Enhanced outdoor living was already becoming the norm in custom home construction prior to Staycation 2020. Add a new wrinkle: a shift from stadium football viewing to backyard tailgating. And let’s not discount all of the botched backyard DIY projects that now need to be “fixed.” All of these factors point to a continued increase in demand for outdoor living construction through the 2021 high season.
WHAT GOOGLE SEARCH TRENDS TELL US
Analysis of Google search trends can give us insights into minds of homeowners, gauging interest levels based on highly searched words and phrases. As expected, relevant hardscape and outdoor living search numbers began to show a decline from peak COVID numbers towards the end of the summer. However, the following terms have seen a resurgence in September: outdoor living, patio pavers, outdoor fireplace, fire pit. Outdoor living contractors can take advantage of this increased traffic by posting more items mentioning these terms on their websites and social media.
NAVIGATING THE STAYCATION 2020 DEMAND
Many Belgard contractors report solid bookings through the end of the year. Many also report an influx of available workers due to layoffs in other industries. Challenges include getting the labor adequately trained under “socially distant” constraints and managing that labor as efficiently as possible. Belgard offers the following business tips to address those challenges.
- Participate in new training programs: Belgard currently has a library of training webinars available at Belgard.com/training. In addition, Belgard is currently working on launching a variety of new training opportunities—some virtual, some in-person, some hybrid—including certification and continuing education courses. Subscribe to the Belgard Pro eNews for announcements.
- Source out design services: The Belgard Design Studio can do 3-D design renderings at no cost. Why not take advantage of it? Don’t waste valuable labor or sales time when all you need to do is take a few photos of the house, hand sketch a rough design, and upload some info into the Belgard Contractor app. If you are not already a member of the Belgard Contractor Program, apply now.
- Use labor-saving technologies: Belgard offers multiple innovations for turning jobs faster and maximizing your labor force, including new wall technologies, fire pit kits, and pre-fabricated outdoor living components. Stay tuned for announcements of more innovations launching in 2021. For additional labor-saving ideas, read this Contractor’s Corner blog.
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