The Definition of Self Catering
In accordance with the UK Tourist Survey, self catering accommodation includes apartments, flats, chalets, bungalows, cottages, chalets and houses where no food is provided; holiday villages and camps, campsites, static and towed caravans. Other inclusions consist of timeshares, second homes, owned static caravans, hostels, schools and universities.
The Self Catering Market Size
Self catering holidays account to approximately 15% of domestic holidays, 22% of nights spent away and 17% of the holiday expenditure. The United Kingdom Tourism Survey of 2003 stated that this approximately equated to 15.8 million trips, 80.9 million nights and over 3.2 billion pounds in spending.
When broken down into categories the spending and trips equate to the following:
Houses, Apartments and Chalets 7% of trips 10% of expenditure
Camping 4% of trips 3% of expenditure
Towed Caravans 2% of trips 2% of expenditure
Self catering holidays are becoming less frequently than staying at a friends or relatives house, or using a serviced accommodation. However, self catering holidays tend to be longer and above the average for holiday expenditure.
Self catering accommodation is of a much higher importance in rural areas. The expenditure in rural areas is over double for self catering than for serviced accommodation. This trend is even more noticeable when we look at longer holidays where self catering accommodation equates to almost 64% of expenditure. In the year 2000, over 70% of holiday camps and parks and 57% of all self catering accommodation was located in rural areas. Accommodation at working farms equated to over 16% of rural self catering accommodation.
Self Catering Holiday Cottages
The term "Holiday Cottage" is used to describe a range of self catering accommodation. Included in this term are cottages, farms, bungalows, apartments, flats and houses. Although they are predominant at seaside and rural locations they can also be found in city centres and other urban areas. Less than 50% of all holiday cottages in the UK are let by agents. The others are let directly by the owner.
Self catering holiday cottages represent a small proportion of domestic holidays. According to the United Kingdom Tourism Survey of 1999, holiday cottage trips equated to 8% of all holidays which was approximately 6.1 million holidays, 38.5 million nights and over 1.6 billion in expenditure. An additional 1 million trips were made to self catering holiday cottages by business and visiting friends and relatives.
Self catering cottage holidays tend to be around 50% longer than other trips and the expenditure per trip is almost double than the UK average holiday. Short breaks of less than three nights are on the rise faster than longer trips. Short breaks, according to the UKTS of 1999 accounted for almost 25% of all cottage holidays.
In the years leading up to 1999 there was a relatively stable demand for self catering holiday cottages. Over the same period however, spending on self catering holidays did increase. Some reasons for this stability included discounted holiday packages abroad, colder summers in the UK and the pound was strong amongst world currencies. The international demand, although representing only a small percentage of users, appears to be on the increase.
Users of self catering holiday cottages tend to be younger families with children as it works out a cheaper holiday with more entertainment for the children. However, pensioners, couples without children and those who want to relax and enjoy their hobbies are also looking to self catering holidays.
Seasonality is a problem for holiday cottage owners as most rentals take place between Easter and the end of October. The internet is starting to change that with Christmas family breaks becoming increasingly popular. On average self catering cottage owners reported that almost 60% of new business and almost a quarter of all their business came from the internet.
Self Catering Conclusion
Although only counting for a small amount of domestic holidays and there are threats from overseas holidays becoming cheaper, the industry in general has made a lot of changes in the past ten years to attract a new generation of self catering holidaymakers. Most self catering accommodation has adapted to the demand of short breaks and are now offering stays from one night as well as the long holidays. Self catering accommodation is the best choice for those concerned with expenditure and wanting the freedom of not organising their holiday around set meal times.
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