Searches and bookings for summer staycations are on the rise in the UK. Once lockdown restrictions are eased, this will likely pick up even further and boost the short-term rental sector.
In the last week of January, bookings for UK staycations in July and August increased by 126% compared to the same time in 2020. Searches for holiday bookings are also 129% higher, according to holiday home rental agency Sykes Holiday Cottages.
With uncertainty surrounding international travel, many are expecting to remain in the UK for this year. However, with the vaccination program in full swing, many feel there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for travelling in the UK. And as successive lockdowns have taken their toll on people, many want to have a local holiday to look forward to once restrictions are lifted.
Last summer, ‘minications’ became popular after lockdown restrictions were eased. As less Britons have overseas trips booked, staycations will likely be even more popular this year.
Graham Donoghue, CEO at Sykes Holiday Cottages, says: “We’ve seen a significant increase in bookings for later this year, showing that confidence is returning and just how eager we all are to take a much-needed break away this year.”
Holiday lets as a form of property investment
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for short-term holiday rentals in the UK was already on the rise. It has become more popular for holiday-makers to want to stay in private accommodation. While the industry has faced hardships in the past year, the sector is expected to boom once restrictions are lifted.
Landlords and property investors can earn substantially higher yields for short-term holiday lets than long-term rentals. There is extra work involved with this kind of property investment. However, holiday operators can help make it a hands-off investment.
Graham Donoghue comments: “With millions more Brits now choosing to forgo foreign holidays in favour of UK breaks, not only is it a huge boost for the UK economy, but it is also adding to the attractiveness of holiday letting as an investment opportunity.
“We’ve witnessed a strong pipeline of enquiries in recent months from those who are new to holiday letting or wanting to rent out their second home to make the most of this staycation boom in Britain. Offering an average income of £21,000 per year, the revenue opportunities in the years ahead could be substantial.”
The short-term rental sector has room for growth
In recent years, there has been a growing number of buy-to-let landlords branching out into the short-term rental sector. More landlords and investors are expected to enter the market. Because of this growth, there has been more lenders offering mortgage options for this kind of investment.
Brexit and COVID-19 are expected to further strengthen the short-term rental sector. Staycations will remain attractive as the pound has taken a hit, and many are facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. On top of that, the exchange rate makes it cheaper for foreign nationals to visit the UK. This could create a boom in tourism in the coming years.
Short-term holiday rentals can be a great way for landlords and investors to diversify their property investment portfolios. As more normality could return later in the year, the future looks brighter for the sector. The government will announce a roadmap for loosening lockdown restrictions on 22 February. This could potentially give holiday-makers more of an idea of when they could book a UK staycation.