History of the boom in holiday letting

The recent boom of the holiday letting industry has sparked a surge in property purchasing. Learn the history and what this means for the industry going forward.

Self-catered holidays, usually meaning, renting a holiday cottage, has increased in popularity over the past 40 years. Originally it was a cheaper way to go on holiday and often cottages that had been left vacant by the death of an old relative, were given a quick lick of paint and marketed as a holiday let. In the days before the internet, this was usually done through publications like The Lady or Classified Ads in National papers, and of course rental agencies dominated the market. However, since the rise of the internet and the increase in “staycation” holidays, people in tourist areas like the South West have seen the potential in turning that old barn into a cottage and renting it as a holiday let. In the 1970/80’s when supply struggled to meet demand it was not unusual to get 40+ weeks a year but in recent years, particularly the last two Covid years, people have been forced to stay in the UK for their holidays and every, barn or field has been converted or turned into a camping/glamping site. Because of Covid consumers had little or no choice on where to go or what cottage they could book, this meant prices rocketed and many people profited from the staycation boom. This boom was never going to last and 2022 has seen a marked decline in staycations as naturally people are rushing to go abroad, if they can. However, the number of holiday cottages in most tourist areas has increased by as much as 40% in the past two years, so combine that rise, with a massively reduced market and naturally bookings are down and some cottages are struggling. This will naturally level out, and demand will come back, prices will be forced down to a sensible level and some cottages will be forced to give up as demand is not there to fill all the cottages now on the market.