Mid-term Airbnb and Vrbo remain 62% more expensive than before the pandemic

Mid-fall vacation rentals are 62% more expensive than they were before the pandemic, according to new research from Which? Travel found.

The average price for bookings through Airbnb and rival platform Vrbo is £140 per night this year, up from £87 in 2019.

Who? Travel used data from short-term rental analyst AirDNA to compare the cost of accommodation midway through October in 2019 and 2022, and found prices rose across the UK – and more than doubled in some areas.

The most expensive place to book a mid-term break this year is Suffolk, with holidaymakers shelling out an average of £215 per night, up £47 from October 2019.

Accommodation in much of Wales, the Lake District, Devon and on the Scarborough coast was also considerably more expensive than elsewhere. Rates per night in Devon and West Wales have risen by 73%: the average holidaymaker paid over £170 for a mid-term break in 2022, compared to just over £100 per night in 2019.

See our table of best and worst gite providers

October Semi-Annual Rate Comparison

The popularity of holidays – and the price of accommodation in the UK – soared during the pandemic when travel bans and restrictions made holidaying abroad more complicated. Although most countries have now relaxed their Covid entry requirements, UK holidays are still in demand.

A total of 110,000 additional nights were booked on Airbnb and Vrbo sites this half of October compared to last year, an increase of 25%.

Prices also remained high. You’ll pay an average of £35 more this year for a mid-term rental than in 2021. And overnight rates have risen almost everywhere, jumping at least 20% in more than half the country.

Airbnb states: “This data is inaccurate and exaggerates price changes on Airbnb. As travel habits have changed and demand for local and national stays has increased, there’s something for every taste and budget on Airbnb. Nearly half of guests say booking on Airbnb saved them money, and a quarter said they specifically chose Airbnb over other accommodation types to save money.

Vrbo did not respond to a request for comment.

Where is the cheapest for a last minute break?

If you’re planning a mid-term trip but haven’t booked yet, a city break could cut accommodation costs.

Even though prices have risen across the board, Airbnbs and Vrbos in and around Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Glasgow still average below £110 per night. Cheapest of all is Birmingham, where the average cost is £88 – the only place in the UK under £100 a night.

Holidaymakers looking for a last-minute rural retreat could also look to Surrey and Buckinghamshire, which were also among the top 10 cheapest places to stay on Airbnb or Vrbo (see chart below). Holiday rentals in Northern Ireland, including Belfast, are also good value.

The cheapest holiday rentals in the UK in 2022

Where is popular for a mid-term break in the UK?

Cornwall, Devon, the Lake District and the Highlands have long been popular with UK and overseas visitors and remain hotspots. Holidaymakers have booked more than 32,000 nights in Cornwall this semester, nearly 12,000 more than in the fall 2019 semester.

The biggest increase in demand, compared to 2019, is around Hull and the east coast of Yorkshire, the Scarborough coast and the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales.

City breaks have fallen out of favor during the pandemic, and demand (measured in number of nights booked) remains lower than it was in 2019 in many countries: Glasgow, Cambridge, Manchester, Belfast, Bristol, Bath and Edinburgh. The number of nights booked in London remains 38% below 2019 levels, but the capital is regaining popularity – demand this semester is almost double that of last year.

Our research

Analyst AirDNA gave us the average daily rate (ADR) for Airbnb and Vrbo rentals in the UK in 2019, 2021 and 2022, broken down by area. The average daily rate was calculated from all reservations made for the fall semester as of October 11 of the corresponding year. We have only included small/medium properties (up to three bedrooms).

AirDNA’s database is in US Dollars, so we’ve converted it to British Pounds using the historic GBP/USD exchange rate for each year as of October 11. AirDNA has also provided figures on the number of nights booked at each location, so we can compare the level of demand each year. Daily rates do not include cleaning or service charges.

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