UK: The Short Term Accommodation Association [STAA], the trade association representing the short-term accommodation sector in the UK, has warned that despite the positive response it has had to bookings this summer, since reopening on 4 July, that in itself will not rescue the sector from the severe threat of closures as the high season comes to a close next month when children go back to school.
The STAA, which represents property owners, property management companies and supply chain companies to the sector, believes that the government still needs to support the industry if many are to survive to the holiday season next year.
Merilee Karr, chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association [STAA] said: “A combination of good weather and the British people’s desire to have a holiday despite the Covid-19 restrictions has meant that since reopening, the short-term accommodation sector has enjoyed a really uplifting reopening with the biggest staycation year on record. Despite it being a great time to visit cities without all the international tourists, there is still scope for more growth as capacity in cities is so much greater.
“As we approach the end of the school holidays, we can expect demand to soften and greater pressure exerted on businesses who weren’t able to generate revenues from mid-March through to early July – more than three months of lost income.
“We need a commitment from the government that it will continue to provide sector specific support so that our industry can continue to contribute to the UK economy directly and indirectly through the local businesses that benefit from our guests, while providing consumers with a great deal of choice. Without foreign visitors or business travellers, and with regional lockdowns in some places once schools go back, there will be an inevitable reduction in demand.
“This combined with the impacts of the furlough scheme ending in the autumn could further jeopardise the future of many businesses in the sector,” she added.
The STAA has come up with a list of five holiday tips to help people make the most of their disrupted holiday plans this year:
- Instead of a week-long holiday take a series of city breaks:
There is a unique opportunity for people to visit towns and cities across the country without the crowds and queues because of the absence of international tourists. Cities such as London, Edinburgh and Cardiff have introduced European-style outdoor café and restaurant sitting to make it a much more engaging experience.
- Stay Covid-19 safe and look for the ‘Good to go’ accreditation:
Under the current Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, short-term accommodation is perhaps the safest and most convenient type of holiday accommodation to enable people to do this. All of the STAA’s members have implemented the new industry-wide cleaning protocols*1 to ensure that properties are clean and safe. Properties that display the official ‘Good to Go’ accreditation from Visit England indicate that the property is following government and industry Covid-19 guidelines.
- Go wild in the country:
Now is a great opportunity to explore some of the places in the UK you have put off visiting in favour of a trip abroad. By renting a whole property in rural settings not so well-catered for by hotels, you will be able to stay in exactly the location you will want, whether that is the Brecon Beacons, the Lake District or the Lochs of Scotland.
- Work away from home:
With people not needing to go into the office, with a good broadband connection, more workers are upping sticks and spending up to four weeks relocating to a holiday destination combining their work with a more flexible modus operandi.
- Spend like you would on a holiday abroad:
Feedback from people who have taken their holidays in the UK this summer suggests that you should spend money as you would on a foreign holiday to maximise your enjoyment of it. Do not treat it as a compromise or as a second choice, make the most of the opportunity and everything your chosen destination has to offer to make it a memorable trip.
*1 The protocols are supported by the Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Tourism Alliance and the Welsh Association of Self-Catering Operators and are based on guidance provided by organisations such as the HSE [Health and Safety Executive], WHO [World Health Organisation], European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control [ECDC], Global Biorisk Advisory Council [GBAC], Centres for Disease Control [CDC], NIH [National Institutes of Health] and NHS [National Health Service].