Hotels in the UK’s South West holiday hotspots are reporting booking levels averaging 70.7% in July and just 66.5% in August, suggesting there’s still room for late bookers despite the projected ‘staycation’ boom.
Further data for September indicates an average booking level of just 50.2% – meaning hotels in the region will be holding out for a balmy autumn to encourage bookings.
Taken from more than 50 hotels in South West England, and compiled as part of The South West Research Company’s Covid-19 Business Impact Survey, the data looks at booking levels across July, August and September 2021 – with the averages uncovered suggesting hotels are currently almost a third under capacity.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Kirsty Beasley, UK Market Development Manager at Profitroom, said: “A ‘healthy’ booking level depends on individual hotel circumstances, but it usually sits somewhere between 50 and 80%. So, while 70% is certainly good, it’s not as high as we’d be expecting given international travel is so difficult at present and that we’re anticipating so many UK holidaymakers flocking to coastal hotspots and rural hideaways – something the South West is famed for.”
Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, also voiced her thoughts: “The data is somewhat surprising. Of course, ordinarily most hotels would generally be pleased with that level of booking, however given the present circumstances surrounding holidaying abroad, I’d have thought that the South West, a prime location for coastal and rural UK ‘staycations’ would be experiencing even higher levels. Those averages obviously don’t tell the full story, but it does suggest that there’s certainly room for those seeking to get away – as well as opportunity for hotels to improve their margins.”
Kirsty Beasley commented further: “Given the wide scale reporting of the staycation boom, I imagine many people are probably discounting the idea of a holiday in the UK at all fearing that everywhere is already fully booked. This situation is only exacerbated by hotel booking platforms that simply tell guests that they’re ‘fully booked’ or that a rate is ‘unavailable on that date’, as they run the risk of putting off guests from persevering with a booking. Hotels should be looking for a booking engine that presents the next date available. That way, even if their preferred dates aren’t bookable, guests can still see tempting offers, dates and packages but without having to guess availability through trial and error.”
Kirsty added: “At Profitroom we’ve developed our Availability Assistant within our booking platform to counteract just that sort of issue. It helps hotels to maximise bookings at a time when occupancy is running high by letting the guest know that other options for that particular package or rate are available, thereby encouraging them to book an alternative rather than simply head elsewhere.”