STAA survey outlines returning short-term rental confidence

UK: The latest monthly tracking study conducted with members of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association [ STAA ] shows that there was an improvement in bookings and revenue in April both on a month-on-month and year-on-year basis.

It also found that members had an 80 per cent confidence rating about the prospects for the short term rentals sector for the remainder of this year.

In April, members representing tens of thousands of short-term rental properties across the UK, were surveyed to find out how their businesses have fared in the last month.

The key findings were:

1. April bookings and revenues up on March and on April 2020 and members more confident of a return to 2019 levels

  • For 80 per cent of operators, bookings in April were higher when compared to March, and 75 per cent said they were “much higher” than April last year
  • When it came to revenue, 60 per cent of operators said they were higher than in March with 20 per cent seeing revenue stay the same. Compared to April 2020, all said revenue was “much higher”.
  • 60 per cent of member companies are confident that bookings will reach 2019 levels again this year
  • For the majority of operators, overall occupancy levels were between 25-75 per cent

2. Improved optimism for longer term prospects for the sector

  • 80 per cent expect to operate profitably this year
  • 80 per cent confidence rating about the outlook for the sector for 2021
  • 83 per cent confidence rating about the outlook for the sector for 2022
  • 60 per cent believed the sector is likely to see an increased demand due to changing customer preferences
  • 80 per cent believe that they will get early repeat bookings for next year

3. Recruitment of part-time staff increases

  • 60 per cent of member companies have recruited staff this year with the majority being part-time staff

4. Positive about prospects for a strong performance from UK staycations

  • All member companies believe that UK staycations will perform “very strongly” or “quite strongly” again this year
  • The most important issues for this year’s guests reported by member companies were:
    • Cleaning standards in the accommodation
    • Ability to get grocery and other deliveries plus take-aways delivered to the property
    • Ability to social distance during their stay
    • Being in locations where there are no crowds

Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA and CEO of UnderTheDoormat, said: “The data paints a much more encouraging picture for our sector. Bookings, revenues, occupancy levels and the prospect of repeat bookings are all going in the right direction.

“The boom in UK staycations has given more people the opportunity to experience the high standards of accommodation that are now on offer across the country which bodes well for repeat bookings and for short-term rentals to be regarded as a more mainstream option for holiday accommodation.

“With the prospect of us having to live with Covid-19 for a while yet, our members have worked hard to provide their customers with accommodation that offers them the best chance to stay Covid-safe. The popularity of short-term and holiday rentals has grown because customers are reassured by the high level of cleaning standards and can practise social distancing effectively.

“This bodes well for the future when all restrictions are finally lifted, including those on international travel,” she added.