INSIGHT: Has Covid strengthened the UK’s holiday accommodation market?

New national survey predicts buoyant recovery, with 94% of accommodation owners investing in long-lasting positive change to their business as a result of the pandemic.

Scott McKerracher, Head of Commercial at building society, The Cumberland uncovers more details from the findings of this national survey.

86% of holiday accommodation owners say they have invested in their business during the pandemic, with 94% of them indicating they have made a long-lasting, positive change, the new data shows.

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Staycations have increased in popularity, as 84% of consumers who responded said they were opting to holiday in the UK this summer. Of these, the survey also revealed that hotels (38%) and cottages (32%) are the most popular types of accommodation, followed by bed and breakfast accommodation (24%).

16% say theyd pay more for dog-friendly accommodation

However, COVID-19 compliance and cleanliness is still dominating consumers’ choice of accommodation providers, as 69% say they are willing to pay more for hotels, B&Bs and holiday lets offering these additional services: 38% said they would pay more for a property which has a COVID-19 deep cleaning service, while 31% would pay more for a property with clear instructions on its COVID-19 guidance. 

Four-fifths of holiday accommodation owners questioned (80%) said that they had been spending money on being compliant with COVID-19 guidelines, while 71% have been improving their property or services.

75% considering using Government Recovery Loan Scheme

When it comes to business funding during the pandemic, 52% of those surveyed funded their investment in their business from savings/ equity contribution; 41% from a business loan; 26% from insurance; 21% from external equity; 17% from CBILS* or BBLS* loans and 15% from remortgage.

Additionally, 75% said they were definitely going to or are considering using the Government Recovery Loan Scheme, which could indicate that this hasn’t been a necessity for many, as it was only introduced in April.

The Cumberland also asked them about investing in their businesses over the three years 2020-2022 inclusive and from the findings, the consistent turnover figure cited by owner managers as having invested or planning on investing in their properties is 11-20% of turnover. 

Optimism and resilience

It is also interesting to note that the research uncovered changing booking patterns amongst UK consumers, with 36% saying they would book UK holidays between less than one month ahead and three months ahead of time, whilst only 6% said they would plan to book 10-12 months ahead.

26% said they would not plan to book a UK holiday whilst in the current COVID circumstance. 56% of respondents cited concerns about cancellations due to the impact of new strains of the virus as their biggest concern over the summer season, while 31% of accommodation owners said that they were concerned about customers ‘double-booking’ holidays and then cancelling with them at the last minute.

Beach resorts still the favourite

Cornwall is the favourite UK destination (17%) with the Lake District proving as popular as Devon (14% each), followed closely by the Scotland (13%), Wales (11%) and East Anglia (9%).

However, 32% of consumers indicated they are not planning a holiday this year.

The survey questioned 1,021 UK adults and 233 UK accommodation owner/managers to find out their attitudes and identify any growing trends.

Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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