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Barometer Survey Results – Spring 2024

ASSC Barometer Survey was reinstated during the month of April 2024. This is a very important survey that will continue on a bi-annual basis.

Feedback gathered from ASSC members and the wider self-catering community in Scotland is vital towards shaping the future of the sector. It provides significant insights for the ASSC and key stakeholders like The Scottish Tourism Alliance, VisitScotland, and the Scottish Government.

Feedback gathered helps us to understand booking trends, anticipate future developments, and adapt to changing consumer behaviours; thoughts on challenges and future outlook, especially concerning recent changes such as the abolition of the Furnish Holiday Let Regime and Non-Domestic Rates, are highly valuable.

You can find a summary of the results below, and the full survey report PDF at the bottom of the page.


The survey results highlight the significant contribution from the self-catering sector directly to the Scottish economy (survey respondents alone represent over 1800 properties equating to over 7000 bed spaces), particularly in rural and island regions where over 60% of these businesses are situated.

This sector not only provides essential services for tourists but also injects substantial economic value into local communities. By remaining operational year-round (75% operate all year and over 80% operate 11 months), with high occupancy rates during peak seasons, self-catering businesses play a vital role in sustaining and stimulating local economies. The revenue generated from these businesses helps support local businesses 51% of businesses spend more than 75% on operational expenditure locally (within 30 miles), create employment opportunities, and enhance infrastructure in these areas, ultimately supporting economic growth and resilience in Scotland’s rural and island regions.

Areas for support have been identified in the survey and include a need for assistance in marketing their business to attract bookings and reach new audiences, support with legislation and regulation. A significant number of respondents expressed interest in support with sustainability measures and there were a number of comments relating to ongoing challenges with infrastructure such as ferry services and accessibility to their locations.

• 622 respondents (68% ASSC Members).

• 60% are in a rural location or on an island, while 55% represent just 1 property (74% between 1-2 properties).

• This survey represents 7,264 bed spaces and over 1889 properties (units).

• 50% respondents have been operating for 10 years or more.

• 55% of respondents say that their business is their primary source of income.

• 96% have applied for a STL licence.

• 45% are still waiting for their full licence.

• When comparing 2023 visitors to 2022 30% say guest numbers were down and 29% say their turnover was down.

• During Jan – March 2023, 50% say their occupancy was below 25% during 2024 between Jan and March 61% say their occupancy was below 25% this is a drop of 11% on this time last year.

• 47% say their anticipated season for 2024 is looking worse so far against 2023.

• 45% say bookings are down compared to last year.

• Barriers to growth: introduction of the visitor levy, with 55% saying they are very concerned and that this significantly impact on their business; whilst STL licensing, the FHL abolition and general increase to the cost of doing business are also a significant concern.

• 9% (44) of businesses do not intend to stay in business beyond 2024 and a further 30% (148) businesses do not know. A further 7% (33) intend to down scale their business. That’s a potential loss of 192 businesses and 39% with a further 33 businesses downscaling.

• The survey highlights that even during the quietest month, a substantial portion of self-catering accommodation remain open, with only 25% closed and 75% operational. As the year progresses from February onwards, there’s a gradual increase in business activity leading into the summer peak season. This pattern underscores the resilience of the industry and its ability to maintain operational continuity throughout the year.

• The following challenges influencing bookings and in relation to the business have been frequently referenced in the survey: cost of living and economy, more last-minute and short stay bookings, challenges with ferries, bad press about Scotland putting people off visiting, people returning to holidaying abroad, increase in prices and uncertainty. Whilst very few having anything positive to say.

• The main barriers to growth revealed in the survey are: cost of living, increasing regulations, tax, barriers to business development, ferry issues, politics relating to licensing, planning, FHL taxation and impending visitor levy.

• 88% of respondents are concerned about the impact of the cost of living, 84% of respondents are concerned about the impact of The Visitor Levy, 75% are concerned about the impact of FHL Abolition, 73% concerned about STL Licensing. Whilst 55% are significantly concerned about the introduction of The Visitor Levy Bill (Scotland), STL Licensing (45%) and the Abolition of the FHL Regime (45%).

• The survey reveals a notable decline in confidence among respondents regarding the next 24 months, with 47% expressing little optimism about their business performance compared to 34% for the next 3-6 months. This trend signals a genuine apprehension about the future trajectory of self-catering in Scotland, indicating growing concerns within the industry about forthcoming challenges and uncertainties.

• In terms of operation expenditure 51% of businesses spend more than 75% locally (within 30 miles) with a further 24% spending between 50% and 75% within 30 miles of their business. This highlights a significant contribution to local economies / local supply chain.

Read full survey report:

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