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The coast is dear as demand for beach destinations pushes prices up

Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent
·2-min read

Seaside accommodation prices have risen by an average of 35% this summer compared with last year, according to analysis.

A study by consumer group Which? indicated that prices have been hiked in 10 of the UK’s most visited beach destinations, including St Ives, Whitby, Llandudno and Brighton.

People in England could be permitted to stay in self-contained accommodation such as holiday lets from April 12 under Boris Johnson’s road map for easing lockdown restrictions.

Foreign holidays – which may be allowed from May 17 – are likely to involve several restrictions and requirements such as coronavirus testing and self-isolation periods.

This has led to many people booking staycations, resulting in them becoming more expensive.

Researchers from Which? looked at prices for a total of 15 properties on accommodation booking platforms Airbnb and Vrbo.

The cost of stays in July and August is typically 35% higher now than if the equivalent dates last summer were booked during May and June 2020.

A one-bedroom maisonette in Brighton has the largest mark-up, increasing in price from £53 per night to £127 per night.

The cost of a one-week stay at a property in Llandudno has risen from £427 to £596, while seven nights in a property in St Ives has gone from £860 to £1,263.

Some price rises were more modest, with a one-bedroom cottage in Scarborough just 7% more expensive this summer.

Airbnb described the analysis as “misleading” and claimed research has shown guests feel the firm is more affordable than other accommodation options.

Vrbo said it “does not set, change or influence the property prices a host chooses”, adding that holidaymakers agree to prices before they book.

Which? is encouraging consumers booking a staycation to choose a flexible accommodation provider that has committed to offering full cash refunds or no-fee rebooking if a trip cannot go ahead due to coronavirus.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Many holidaymakers are looking forward to finally going to the seaside this summer, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that high demand has seen prices for some destinations shoot up too.

“If people are prepared to pay more for their summer holidays this year, it’s essential that they know their money will be protected or returned to them without hassle in the event they cannot travel as planned.

“Make sure you choose a provider that offers fair and flexible booking terms, so you won’t be left chasing a refund if something goes wrong.”