Increases in demand for short breaks in London has led to widening of supply and an increasingly competitive market where agents must be savvy to protect their profit margins.
One of the most significant changes has been the zeal with which private homeowners have entered the tourism market through the use of websites such as One Fine Stay and Airbnb.
Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, announced that under the new Deregulation Bill, residents will no longer be on the wrong side of the law when renting their properties out to short stay visitors.
The unbeatable costs that can be provided on these websites – for example, £39 per night for a room in Islington – are a challenge to all players in the short break sector. More importantly, the challenge for agents is now in truly providing added value to earn their commission when compared with this new competitor and with direct business on the rise.
However, although prices are often hard to compete with, many consumers still have reservations about staying in a complete stranger’s home. Despite being enticed by the use of a kitchen, the homely feel and greater freedom of a house or apartment, unease at staying in someone else’s home allows established brands and agencies to step in.
The growth of the serviced apartments sector over recent years has come from this midway point between hotels and Airbnb-type sites, offering the same level of freedom and homeliness the modern short breaker seeks on Airbnb, but with a little more peace of mind.
Tourists are getting tired of the restrictions and prices hotel rooms can burden a trip with, along with the ever shrinking size of hotel rooms. With the increasing competition in the market from below through new websites, the serviced apartments sector is rising as a ‘best of both worlds’ option that pleases all parties.
Marlin apartment’s offers agents a 10% commission on stays from one night to one year and more. Family packages that sleep up to four in an apartment start from £110 per night in Borough.