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Understanding London's short let occupancy trends.
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Understanding London's short let occupancy trends.

Hello, dear property owners! As the festive lights begin to twinkle in December 2023, you might have noticed a slight dip in the occupancy rates of your London properties. It's natural to feel a bit concerned, but don't worry – we're here to unpack the reasons behind this trend and, more importantly, to reassure you that brighter days are just around the corner!

We invite you to dive deep into this blog, where we explore the various factors contributing to this trend. From the recent rise in COVID-19 cases to an increase in short let options, and the usual pre-holiday season quiet, we’ve analyzed it all. Our blog offers not just insights but also optimism. We discuss why this dip is a temporary phase and how the festive season is likely to bring a surge in occupancy rates.

Remember, every season has its rhythms, and the dynamic world of short lets in London is no exception. So, grab a cup of your favorite winter beverage, and let’s explore together how the unique charm of London continues to make it a sought-after destination, regardless of the season's shifts.


Why the sudden quiet?

1. The impact of COVID-19 cases:

The recent rise in COVID-19 cases has understandably led to a cautious approach among travelers. According to Public Health England, there's been a noticeable increase in cases, influencing travel decisions. However, this is likely to be a transient phase as health measures take effect.

With the rise in cases, travel advisories are constantly being updated, which often include recommendations against non-essential travel, especially to areas with high infection rates. These advisories play a significant role in shaping public perception and decision-making about travel.

At Smarthost, we get how important flexibility is for travellers right now. That's why we've updated our cancellation policy to 'Flexible'. This change is designed to give our guests peace of mind when booking. Should health concerns or travel advisories impact their plans, they have the option to cancel and receive a partial refund. We believe this adjustment will help our guests feel more secure and confident while booking their holiday home.

2. More choices for short lets:

London's property market is thriving, and the growing number of holiday properties, as highlighted by Zoopla, offers travelers a wider range of choices. This abundance of options can sometimes lead to hesitation as guests seek their ideal stay, temporarily affecting booking rates. However, this diversity in accommodations ultimately enriches London's charm as a welcoming and varied destination.

At Smarthost, we see great opportunity in this variety. By deeply understanding market trends and thoughtfully positioning your property, we aim to harness this diversity to your benefit. Customizing your property to align with specific guest preferences and needs can help it stand out in this vibrant market, turning a potential challenge into a distinct advantage.

3. The pre-holiday slowdown:

The first two weeks of December have historically been quieter in London's tourism sector. This period is often when people are busy with holiday preparations, from decorating homes to shopping for gifts, making it less about traveling and more about getting ready for the festivities.

While this period might initially feel like a downturn, it's a valuable pause – think of it as a collective deep breath before London transforms into a vibrant holiday hub. This quieter phase presents a golden opportunity for homeowners and property management companies, like Smarthost, to fine-tune their marketing strategies and customer engagement plans. It's the perfect time to ensure everything is in place to welcome holiday travelers. As we move into the second half of the month, we typically witness a significant uprise in bookings. Guests are attracted to the festive allure of London, excited to experience the city's charming holiday ambiance.

It Gets Better!

As we navigate through the quieter early weeks of December, it's important to remember that this phase is just a brief pause before a rewarding upswing. There are plenty of reasons for property owners, especially those in the holiday let market, to stay optimistic:

1. The festive surge awaits:

After the initial quiet of early December, we often witness a significant increase in occupancy rates. The charm of the holiday season transforms London into a magnet for tourists, drawing them in to experience the city's festive allure. 

2.  A fleeting moment:

It's crucial to recognize the current slowdown as a temporary phase. Historical trends, including data from sources like Statista, show that London's tourism sector is resilient. The market generally makes a strong comeback, setting a hopeful scene for 2024. This period is typically marked by growth and renewed enthusiasm, pointing to a positive future for those with short-term rentals.

3. Smarthost is your strategic partner:

Here at Smarthost, we're proactive about the market trends. Our team is dedicated to keeping your property competitive, even during slower periods. We're constantly refining our strategies, from pricing optimisation to enhancing our marketing campaigns, ensuring your property stands out. We are currently expanding our reach by listing your property on more booking platforms, including short and mid-term sites like Expedia and Homelike. Our multi-platform listing service is a big reason why our clients' properties stay booked throughout the year. 

With our deep understanding of London's short let market and a commitment to innovative strategies, we ensure your property not only attracts guests but also secures the best possible returns. It's all part of how we help you make the most out of your investment, no matter the season.

4. Looking towards a bright future:

With London’s enduring appeal as a global destination, the future of short lets remains bright. The city's ability to attract a diverse array of visitors all year round, especially during holidays, positions your property for success. 

Staying optimistic and prepared.

As property owners, it's essential to ride through these ebbs and flows with a sense of optimism. The beauty of the short let market, especially in a vibrant city like London, is its dynamic nature. Yes, there will be quieter times, but the bustle is never too far away.

As the holiday excitement builds and continues, don't forget that your path in the holiday rental market is filled with possibilities and opportunities for growth. With Smarthost by your side, you’re set to confidently navigate this season, awaiting the guests keen to immerse themselves in the festive allure of London.

Stay connected with us for more insights and strategies, and let’s make the most of London’s vibrant short rentals market together!

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