COSTS for private holiday accommodation during Scotland’s great pandemic staycation have increased by an average of 41% since 2019.
New research has found that holidays to some of the UK staycation destinations favoured by Scots are currently costing hundreds of pounds more than trips to equivalent European destinations, even when the air fare is factored in.
Analysis in Scotland shows that the average nightly price of private accommodation on Airbnb and Vrbo in West Dunbartonshire, an area that covers Loch Lomond, was £114.75 in the week commencing August 23, 2021. That’s 49.4% more than the same week in 2019, when the average nightly price was £76.81.
Data from rental analysts AirDNA shows that across the UK, self-catering accommodation in August 2021 cost 41% more on average than it did in 2019. The average week is now estimated to cost over £1000, roughly an extra £300.
The research commissioned by the consumer organisation Which? looked at the average cost of private holiday rentals, hotels and of taking a holiday in various popular UK destinations with comparable locations overseas, and found that in almost every case, taking a holiday at home was more expensive.
When Which? looked at the cost of seven nights this August in a highly rated hotel in Lake Garda, Italy, it was nearly a quarter of the price of a comparable holiday in the Lake District.
Seven nights accommodation alone in Lake Garda cost £631, while the seven nights accommodation for two people in Lake Windermere would cost £2,381.
When taking transport costs into account the consumer organisation the total cost of a holiday in Lake Windermere was still more than £1,600 more expensive than Lake Garda.
The consumer organisation advised that anyone looking to book a UK holiday should be flexible with dates and destinations if possible, as popular destinations during peak holiday seasons “cost significantly more” in the UK.
Experts say that saving can also be made by avoiding booking sites and instead making a reservation directly with the hotel or accommodation owner.
Previous research found that in eight out of 10 instances, hotels were able to offer a better price or an incentive like a room upgrade when contacted directly.
Further AirDNA research found that on the Isle of Skye – the average nightly price of private accommodation on Airbnb and Vrbo was £144.90 in the week commencing August 23, 2021. That was 18.4% more than the same week in 2019, when the average nightly price was £122.41.
Hikes in prices were found in some of the staycation holiday destinations popular with Scots.
Booking private accommodation in Brighton, on the English south coast, would have typically cost an average of £109 per night, but in August this year that cost rose by 89 per cent to £206 per night. Meanwhile, prices have increased by 42% in St Ives in Cornwall, 63% in Sidmouth in Devon and 74 per cent in Lyme Regis in Dorset.
Increased demand for private accommodation in other countries has also seen prices rise, but not as dramatically as in the UK, said the study.
Between August 2019 and 2021, the cost of private accommodation in Marmaris, Turkey, increased by just seven per cent, while in Corfu, Greece, prices only increased by 13%.
In popular Portuguese and Spanish resorts, such as Alvor in the Algarve and Costa Adeje in Tenerife, the price of private accommodation increased by 22 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.
Rory Boland, Which travel editor, said: “Holidaying at home has always been expensive, but the situation has become far worse during the pandemic and it’s no wonder many people have felt priced out of a holiday this year.
“The reasons for these higher prices are complex, but it is hard to avoid the conclusion that some unscrupulous accommodation providers are charging over the odds.
“The good news is that there are ways to save on UK holidays. By looking just a few miles down the road from the most popular destinations or travelling out of peak holiday season, holidaymakers can significantly reduce the cost of their trip.”
While the consumer organisation said that the pandemic was partly responsible for driving the cost of UK holidays up, it found that even before Covid the UK was already among the most expensive holiday destinations in Europe.
According to data from Kayak, the average nightly rate of three-star and four-star hotels in the UK in 2019 was £109 – 21 per cent more expensive than Spain, 35 per cent more than Portugal and 79 per cent more than Malta, on average.
Even though hotel prices in the UK dropped by an average of 13 per cent last year due to the pandemic, prices in many other European countries dropped as much or more.
For example, in Greece, prices dipped by 20 per cent in 2020, and a hotel room would have cost £71 on average.