Closer encounters

Families keen to keep a tight rein on holiday costs are driving a surge in bookings for holiday homes in the UK this year, say operators in the sector.

Cottages in demand
Cottages in demand

As demand booms for quality cottages in Devon, Cornwall and Lakeland, there is rising demand at all levels of the market, from mobile homes on holiday parks to luxury tents on farms and log cabins with all mod cons.

Research by Blue Chip Holidays suggest 41 per cent of people intend to take more UK-based holidays in 2013 than in 2012.

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Alan Taylor, the company’s managing director, says the Government’s decision to add another 2.5 per cent to Air Passenger Duty (APD) has put many families off holidays abroad.

“With the possibility of hundreds of pounds added to the cost of overseas holidays, many travellers think twice about the pound in their pocket and the value to be found here in Britain.”

Kate Stinchcombe at holidayslettings says: “So far this year demand for self-catering accommodation has more than doubled, with inquiries for Scotland more than tripling.

“Demand is strongest for seven and 14-night stays, with August 3 the peak week, a shift from 2012 when the Jubilee stole the show.

“Self-catering is hotter than ever in 2013 with the UK benefitting enormously from both the increased choice of accommodation in this sector and the resurgence in popularity of this holiday type, partly because standards have been transformed by savvy owners who know what guests want.”

Global travel companies want a slice of the UK holiday home market too: the giant Wyndham Worldwide has acquired Cumbrian Cottages and more acquisitions are likely as fledgling firms get offers they can’t turn down.

So strong is demand for more expensive homes that Blue Chip Holidays is launching a campaign to attract more than 200 additional high-end holiday homes to its books across Cornwall and Devon, promising to charge no commission on the first month of bookings.

With properties on the company’s books earning up to £3,700 a week in August, the company wants more owners keen to maximise income in 2013.

Prices are much lower at Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks, North Devon, says Kevin Darvill, sales and marketing director.

“Self-catering enables customers to keep a tight control of spending on food,” he says. “This is boosted by the strategy of big supermarkets making it cheaper to eat in.”