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The Barometer Survey Results

Created: December 20, 2016
Posted in: Barometer, Business, Industry News, Marketing, Self-catering Industry

At the end of August we conducted a survey with our members about the season from 31 December 2015 – 31 July 2016.

45.5% of our respondents had properties in a rural location, 16.3% semi-rural and 6.6% urban or semi-urban.  43.7% said that bookings for this period were slightly better or the same, with 6.6% saying they were substantially better.  Only 17.2% said lower or substantially lower.

Most of the respondents (46.9%) said that the majority of their guests come from the UK but there were also lots of comments saying that there has been an increase in the amount of European guests.

You can view a summary of the survey and results in this PDF report, and read some of the comments below.

Bookings compared to last year:

“About the same, but definitely slower to fill up”.

“February was particularly busy, lots of short breaks”.

“A very slow start to the year.  Season did not get off to a start until Easter. Fully booked until end October”.

Bookings for rest of 2016:

“We have lots of people from Europe book a short break in Edinburgh a few months in advance and post-Brexit vote my enquiries from Europe have fallen off the edge of a cliff, with previous German guests actually taking the time to contact me to say why the Brexit vote will affect their choice of where to holiday in the future.  I.e not to the UK, although one did comment that the fact that Scotland had voted to stay may be sufficient for him to decide to return to Scotland on holiday.”

 “I would love more people from England. I have been doing B & B and self-catering since about 1992 and used to get lots of English visitors. I feel the Scottish Referendum knocked those numbers severely. I still get my regular returners, but lack new business from England”.

Has the guest demographic changed over the last year?

“More overseas guests, especially German.  Fewer English and Scottish”.

“Far more Scots, far fewer English”.

“More Europeans since Brexit, more English than last summer following remain in UK vote”.

“Less US etc and more worldwide – China, Scandinavia now through Booking dot com”.

Where do majority of guests come from?

“Scotland 30%
Rest of UK 55%
EU and Europe 12%
Australia USA 3% “.

“So far it’s only a slight majority from the UK, we’ve had a substantial minority of enquiries and guests from Europe”.

“Only just the majority, lots of Europeans, Americans and Australians too”.

Has this changed in recent years?

“Scotland is still our main source of visitors but more Europeans in recent years”.

“More Europeans recently, German and Dutch”.

 “No Australians of Americans this year”.

“No US guests”.

“More Europeans, particularly Germans and also Eastern Europeans”. 

What opportunities or threats do you perceive in the aftermath of Brexit? 

Opportunities to encourage guests from further Asia etc. China us an emerging market which could be targeted.

Opportunity – depressed pound makes it more affordable for non-UK visitors to come and less affordable for UK visitors to go elsewhere.

Threats ….  Anger & frustration from Europeans which has already been expressed from past visitors – German in particular.   Uncertainty in economic climate.

Hopefully Scotland still feels safe and welcoming to visitors and business will carry on as usual, who knows?

Opportunities for more foreign guests with weaker pound.
More stay in UK holiday makers.
More out of season short breaks

Increasing costs of running a business
Reduced numbers of guests due to less disposable income

Has the Living Wage had an impact on your business? If yes, in what way?

All staff now on minimum wage or above and we employ 6-8 housekeeping staff depending on the time of year so staff costs have increased significantly and not able to increase accommodation costs to the same degree.

We subcontract cleaning and rates allowed for are far in excess of the living wage level.
The impact on bottom line is however significant and together with utility prices makes offering winter breaks less of a proposition.

Is there anything that you think the ASSC can do to help your business, other than what we are actively doing at present, or anything else that you think that the ASSC can do to help support self-catering in Scotland?

I think you do a great job keeping us very informed. As a small number one man band I do find it difficult to take breath and read it all. I’m trying to manage my time better and at least I know you are there if I need help.

We have recently had excellent support from the ASSC in respect of a supporting letter to help gain planning permission.

I think you are doing a fantastic job!

More lobbying about VAT please!

“Carry on”! Bring back the conference to Inverness or Aviemore on occasion. Help set up a “Digital Mentor” system for one-2-one advice and help, that is free or subsidised. Seriously look at the impact of VS marketing etc on the carrying capacity for B&B, Self-catering in remote areas: the whole NW coast has to turn away visitors as we are full!

Campaign for non VAT for small tourism related businesses.

Much of our business comes via the ASSC and we are happy with that.

Organise or give information on training courses for digital media marketing. 

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