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Can UK Properties Still Capitalise on Summer Bookings? 

19th June 2024
Home | Latest News | Can UK Properties Still Capitalise on Summer Bookings? 
 

As we approach the peak of summer 2024, there’s still time to capitalise on remaining booking opportunities. The short-term rental market is always changing, and understanding trends like booking windows, Average Daily Rates (ADR), and occupancy rates can really make a difference. Whether you want to boost your revenue during peak season or fill those tricky shoulder season slots, having a good plan is essential. 

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what our data is telling us about current booking patterns and share some helpful tips on how to maximise your bookings. We’ll explore key topics like booking windows, percentage of nights booked, and effective distribution strategies. Plus, we’ll share insights into the latest trends, like shorter stays and booking behaviour, to help you make sure your property is booked to its full potential. 

In the short-term rental industry, peak season usually aligns with the summer months of July and August, coinciding with school summer holidays. These months experience high demand and often command higher Average Daily Rates (ADR). The ADR is the average revenue earned for each day a property is rented, calculated by dividing the total rental revenue by the number of days rented. Higher ADRs indicate stronger pricing power and increased profitability during high-demand periods. 

On the other hand, the shoulder season encompasses May, June, and September. These months present opportunities to maximise bookings and boost your property’s performance by targeting guests seeking quieter and more affordable breaks. Occupancy rates refer to the percentage of available rental days that are booked. Maintaining high occupancy rates is crucial for consistent revenue, as it reflects how effectively a property is being utilised. 

Having a robust distribution strategy is essential to make the most out of both peak and shoulder seasons. By ensuring your property is visible across various booking platforms and marketing channels, you can attract a steady stream of guests year-round. A well-thought-out strategy helps you reach a wider audience, adjust pricing dynamically, and fill any gaps in your booking calendar. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of high demand during peak season and keep your property busy and profitable during quieter months. 

As we move through summer 2024, staying informed about booking trends is crucial for extending your property’s potential. By understanding these key trends, you can adjust your strategy to ensure a successful season. Let’s explore what you can expect for this summer. 

The table and plot below show the percentage of the total nights still to be booked by the month of stay from 2018-2023 for all UK properties using SuperControl, as of the 11th of June each year. For example, by the 11th of June 2023, 94% of the final total nights booked to stay in June 2023 had already been booked, leaving 6% to be booked after 11th of June. Based on these figures and assuming summer 2024 follows these trends, properties in the UK could expect, on average, to have: 

  • Already booked 77% of the nights which will ultimately be sold for July 2024, with the other 23% still to book
  • Already booked 67% of the nights which will ultimately be sold for August 2024, with the other 33% still to book

Our data shows that booking lead times haven’t changed much. We expect around 20% of booked nights for July and 30% for August to come between June and July. This indicates that there is still a good opportunity to capture last-minute bookings. 

UK travellers are favouring short breaks over longer stays, so flexibility is key.  Adjust your minimum and maximum stays based on seasonality and demand. During slower months, shorter stays can fill gaps, attracting spontaneous bookings. Consider relaxing your minimum stay requirements to capture last-minute reservations and maximise your peak season bookings. 

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb and Booking.com continue to be major booking sources, particularly for last-minute reservations. These platforms typically have shorter booking windows, making them ideal for capturing late summer bookings. If your property isn’t listed on these OTAs, consider doing so to tap into this significant pool of potential guests. 

Attract guests with special discounts or packages for extended stays. Consider offering a percentage off for stays longer than three nights or creating bundled packages that include local tours or dining experiences. These incentives can make your property more attractive to budget-conscious travellers and encourage longer bookings. 

Dynamic pricing is crucial for staying competitive and attracting guests. Adjust your rates based on supply and demand to ensure your property appeals to browsing travellers, especially during peak season. According to Key Data, the average daily rate pacing for 2024 is £177. With occupancy rates remaining steady, it’s important to set your prices correctly now to avoid pressure and potential drops closer to arrival. By implementing dynamic pricing, you can remain competitive and keep your property attractive to potential guests. 

Source: Key Data  

Utilise a variety of channels to maximise your reach. Alongside listing on major OTAs, consider niche platforms that cater to specific types of travellers or direct booking strategies through your own website. A diversified distribution approach increases visibility and the likelihood of capturing those last-minute bookings. 

As summer 2024 progresses, it’s natural to feel concerned about filling your booking calendar. Adapting to current booking trends and considering your distribution strategy is crucial. By staying flexible with stay lengths and perfecting your pricing, you can attract those last-minute bookings and keep your property appealing to potential guests. Emphasising local events and offering special packages can draw in more visitors seeking unique and memorable experiences.

For more insights and tools to support your self-catering journey, explore what SuperControl has to offer. With features like a channel manager, dynamic pricing, and access to the Key Data Dashboard, you can enhance your property’s performance and make the most of your booking strategy.  

Discover how SuperControl can support your efforts in maximising your bookings this summer. 

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