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UK seaside accommodation prices up by a third

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The price of a UK seaside break could cost a lot more this summer as accommodation providers hike costs.

A snapshot investigation by Which? found some prices have risen by 35% compared with last summer.

With demand for UK holidays expected to soar this summer, Which? tracked the prices of 15 holiday lets in the top 10 most visited UK seaside destinations. It found that in every case, prices had increased from last summer.

The consumer champion’s snapshot investigation looked at prices for 15 properties listed on Airbnb and Vrbo in the past year. Destinations included St Ives, Whitby, Llandudno and Brighton.

Which? first looked at the prices of these listings in May and June 2020, for various dates in July and August 2020.

The research then looked at the prices of the same properties in February 2021 for similar dates in July and August 2021, and found all had increased in price, with an average increase of 35%.

The largest mark-up of the properties Which? looked at was for a one-bedroom maisonette in Brighton on Airbnb. The property costs £53 per night last year – but it’s £127 per night for this summer. This equates to an increase of 140%.

Researchers also found a 70% increase in price for a one-bedroom property in the centre of Eastbourne on Airbnb. Last year, for a one-week holiday in the first week of August, it would have cost £409. This year, the same week costs £696.

On Vrbo, a one-bedroom property in Bournemouth rose from £722 for the first week of August last year to £958 this year – an increase of 33%.

Other price rises were more modest. A one-bedroom cottage on Airbnb in Scarborough increased by 7% for similar August dates this year, while a one-bedroom property on Vrbo in Swanage with views over the Purbeck Hills had gone up by just 2%.

Hosts on Airbnb set the prices and cleaning fees for properties listed on the platform.

Airbnb said the price increases highlighted by Which? were “isolated examples”, while Vrbo also said hosts are in control and individually set the rental price for their properties.

According to the government’s current plans for releasing England from lockdown, self-contained holiday accommodation breaks are set to return from 12 April.

Demand for UK holidays is likely to be even higher this summer than last year, as there is currently less risk involved in taking a UK holiday than a holiday abroad while coronavirus restrictions, such as testing and hotel quarantine for UK arrivals, remain in place.

Which? is encouraging anyone booking a UK holiday to ensure they choose a flexible accommodation provider that has committed to offering full cash refunds or fee-free rebooking if your holiday is unable to go ahead as planned due to coronavirus.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Many holidaymakers are looking forward to finally going to the seaside this summer, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that high demand has seen prices for some destinations shoot up too.

“If people are prepared to pay more for their summer holidays this year, it’s essential that they know their money will be protected or returned to them without hassle in the event they cannot travel as planned. Make sure you choose a provider that offers fair and flexible booking terms, so you won’t be left chasing a refund if something goes wrong.”