Short-term rental bookings boom in the U.K. after roadmap announcement

Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement last week that the United Kingdom would begin easing lockdown plans – with all restrictions lifted starting June 21 – short-term rental bookings for the summer months have boomed.

According to data from short-term rental software provider Guesty, reservation volume jumped 88% over reservation volume the week prior. From February 22 to 28, booking volume was 160% more than the average weekly reservation volume seen in the U.K. throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the summer months of June, July and August, short-term rental bookings in the U.K. are 36% higher in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

The data shows that the uptick is directly tied to the U.K.’s roadmap announcement: Earlier in February, summer reservation volume was actually 35% lower than summer reservation volume in 2020.

Currently, June 2021 reservation volume is 20% less compared to June 2020, while July 2021 shows 14% more reservation volume compared to the same month last year. August 2021 shows 53% more reservation volume compared to August 2020.

Guesty, which analyzed booking patterns across platforms including Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo and Tripadvisor, also shows that average nightly rates will increase throughout the summer months. For June 2021, average nightly rates sit at £184 per night, up 58% from June 2020.

July sees an average nightly rate at £222 per night, up 53% from July 2020, and August 2021 average nightly rates are the highest of the three months – at £229 per night, up 34% from August of last year.

Earlier on in the pandemic, cancellation policies in vacation rentals became a particularly hot-button issue as platforms like Airbnb attempted to assuage both its guests and hosts amid fluctuating travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, in a recent earnings call, Booking Holdings executive vice president and CFO David Goulden noted that while bookings for the summer months in Western Europe, particularly in the U.K. and Germany, are up 25% compared to the same period in 2019, the “significant majority” of those bookings are cancellable.

U.S. trends

Bookings for the summer months are also up in the United States, with reservation volumes for June, July and August 2021 up 110% compared to 2020.

Compared to the same time last year, 2021 Memorial Day weekend reservation volume is up 71%. Stays during the holiday weekend are for an average of four days, or 28% longer compared to 2020. They are also 26% more expensive, averaging $327 per night.

Reservation volume for the July 4th weekend is 50% higher today compared to last year. The average length of stay is on par with 2020 – at five days – but bookings cost 41% more at $403 per night on average.

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