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Holiday Let Market Sees Dwindling Bookings Amidst Market Shifts

Published by Chirag
Published Date: April 10, 2024

The holiday let industry in the UK is facing a notable downturn this year, signalling the end of the staycation boom, according to industry experts. Owners of holiday rental properties across the country report a sharp decline in bookings, attributing the slump to a combination of factors including the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, unfavourable weather conditions, and a saturated market.

For instance, in popular tourist destinations like Cornwall, some property managers have observed an astonishing 80% reduction in bookings during January and February compared to the same period last year. The reasons cited include prolonged periods of wet weather and an oversupply of holiday lets, which has created intense competition for bookings.

Navigating Challenges in Popular Tourist Destinations

Reflecting on the situation, one property manager lamented the lack of bookings during the traditionally busy months of January and February, expressing concerns over the exodus of holidaymakers seeking sunshine abroad. Another factor exacerbating the situation is the substantial increase in the number of available short-term lets in the UK over the past year, further intensifying competition among property owners.

Holiday Let

This trend isn't limited to coastal areas. Even in locations like Scarborough, property owners have witnessed a notable decrease in bookings, with no rentals recorded during peak periods such as half-term and Easter. The surge in competition, particularly with the proliferation of Airbnb listings in Scarborough from 200 to 1,000 in recent years, has further exacerbated the situation.

Furthermore, some property owners have noted a significant decline in booking value, with a 21% drop reported compared to the same period last year. These challenges come at a time when the holiday let industry face additional pressures from impending government tax reforms and regulatory changes scheduled to take effect in April 2025.

Adapting Strategies Amidst Economic Uncertainty

Despite the current downturn, some holiday-let landlords remain cautiously optimistic about the future. While inquiries may be slightly down year-on-year, they still surpass pre-pandemic levels. Property owners are adapting their strategies to meet evolving consumer preferences, with a focus on offering value-added amenities such as wood burners and hot tubs to attract guests.

In response to the changing landscape, some property owners are considering long-term rental arrangements or even selling their properties altogether. These decisions underscore the challenges faced by the holiday let sector and the need for resilience amidst economic uncertainties and shifting market dynamics.

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