After a challenging year, the short-term rental sector is set for a strong recovery. UK staycations will be allowed in the government’s second phase of releasing lockdown restrictions.
In Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-part roadmap to easing lockdown restrictions, he announced the “stay at home” rule will end on 29 March. Then, in the second phase, UK staycations in self-contained accommodation will be allowed for members of the same household or bubble.
This could happen from 12 April, but it will depend on a number of factors. This includes if the COVID-19 vaccination program continues to go to plan. Infections rates also must not lead to a surge in hospital admissions.
With this announcement, searches and bookings for UK staycations are on the rise. In 2020, ‘minications’ became extremely popular after lockdown restrictions were eased in the summer. And this is likely to happen again this year.
COVID-19 has accelerated demand
During the lockdown, the “stay at home” rule has meant you can’t stay overnight anywhere other than your main residence, unless you have what is deemed a reasonable excuse. After this extended period at home, many will be itching to get away.
Successive lockdowns have taken their toll on people. And many will want to book a UK holiday when they’re able to. Additionally, for many who are still nervous about the virus, short-term holiday lets can require no human interaction. Booking, queries and payment can all take place online via an app, such as Airbnb.
Recent research conducted by the UK Short Term Accommodation Association’s (STAA) Global Traveler Panel asked guests about attitudes towards different kinds of holiday accommodation post-COVID. This study revealed short-term rentals were one of only two categories that received a positive net interest from respondents.
Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA, comments: “It is very encouraging to see that short-term rentals have shown the highest level of resilience to the unprecedented restrictions the industry has had to bear.
“Much of this confidence, I believe, can be traced back to a significant change in consumer preferences that have been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.”
An important part of the UK’s economic recovery
In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for private accommodation when holidaying. Platforms like Airbnb has seen a significant amount of growth in recent years. Approximately 150 million people worldwide use the site.
Short-term rental businesses make up approximately 10% of the UK’s entire supply of accommodation. This will likely grow as demand continues to increase in the coming years as a growing number of landlords are adding holiday lets to their property investment portfolios.
Merilee Karr says: “Over the last five years, we have seen a mushrooming in demand for the ‘home from home’ experience that short-term rentals offer customers but now, with the added requirement for social distancing and high standards of cleanliness and safety, it seems that customers recognise that short term rentals are better placed to deliver this than other types of accommodation.”
The short-term rental sector can even play an important part in the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19. At the start of the third lockdown, the chair of STAA, said: “The short-term accommodation sector will help the UK economy recover more quickly post-COVID, by creating jobs, driving custom into the local communities in which properties are located and providing opportunities for property owners to earn additional income when they aren’t using their homes.”
Investing in the short-term rental sector
Landlords and property investors can earn significantly higher yields for short-term rentals than long-term lets, especially as there is room for further growth in the sector. Furnished holiday lets also come with additional financial and tax benefits as well. This type of property investment requires more work, but holiday operators can help make it a hands-off investment.
Investing in short-term lets can be a high-yield method for investors and landlords to diversify their property investment portfolios. Likewise, there are even “one-off” landlords who are choosing to use their properties as holiday homes. And with more normality returning soon, the future looks bright for the short-term rental sector.