Furnished apartments rental specialist HomeLike has reported increased demand for mid-term property rental as travel restrictions are lifted and temporary accommodation is sought for relocation and work purposes.
Brits make up the largest share of all bookings (60%) across the German-based mid-term global rental platform, where users can book accommodation for more than 30-days, followed by USA (20%), and Germany (8%).
HomeLike has seen UK-demand for mid-term rental vary compared to European counterparts, where UK bookings have been bolstered by demand for temporary accommodation as more people relocate and move house to be closer to relatives bringing a more even split between work (39%) and alternative (35%) commitments. However European sales are almost entirely driven by those travelling for work purposes (approximately 61%).
While business travel continued throughout 2020, cross-border demand dropped drastically from a peak of 69% in January 2020, to as low as 29% in May 2020. However, cross-border demand has grown exponentially in the last quarter with current April 2021 levels at 55% of all bookings, marking a return of the overseas traveller.
The pandemic has driven digital adoption in mid-term property rentals which has experienced a six-fold increase compared to pre-pandemic booking levels. 52% of all bookings for stays of over 30 days are now booked instantly. The new demand for instantly bookable accommodation not only reflects a change in consumer behaviour with temporary home searchers being more comfortable making bigger ticket transactions online, but a significant shift towards digitisation in the mid-term accommodation rental space.
Commenting on the uptick Cherry Wang, country manager UK & Ireland said: “It’s interesting to see how the UK market differs from our other regions in terms of bookings. It’s much more balanced across all areas, rather than being solely driven by business travellers. I believe this will be beneficial to our long term growth as the business is not relying on one form of customer.”
While the growth for HomeLike has been overall positive as has the UK revenue, which was up 25% in March 2021, vs the same period in 2019, there have been changes in the length of stay and average rent.
“In 2020 in the UK, length of stay actually grew by 5% to 82 days, vs 2019. This was perhaps driven by the need for people to stay in one place as much as possible, so once our clients had found accommodation, whether for work or relocation, they stayed put for safety and Covid reasons. As we move into 2021, this dropped right back by 10% to lower than pre-pandemic. In turn, average monthly rent has also fallen by 7% vs 2020, to £2,500. I think we need to be mindful of this going forward and ensure that our properties remain attractive and affordable to future customers. Budgets are clearly going to be tight as schemes like furlough and government grants wind down and this will ultimately affect how our clients behave.”
HomeLike is a platform for long-term furnished apartment rentals with over 75,000 properties across 400 cities in 9 European countries. In the UK, they are focused around the primary and secondary cities including the likes of London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Oxford, Liverpool, Bristol and Cambridge.
Apartments range from small studio lets right through to large houses which can accommodate upwards of eight to 10 people. All HomeLike apartments offer a mix of work and living space, making them ideal for business travellers. As more and more people work from home, the option to travel for work and take the whole family, combining work and leisure is something HomeLike hopes to capitalise on. The company has a number of family and pet friendly properties ideally suited to these needs.