So far this year, the weather has been a major factor in holiday home lettings all around the UK.
After one of the wettest, coldest and most miserable spring and early summer periods on record, the picture was looking decidedly gloomy. Significant numbers of UK holiday makers apparently decided to either go abroad or simply not to go on holiday at all.
This wasn’t obviously a good start to the year for those with holiday let mortgages.
However, the two-week heat wave in mid-July has made a difference and has led to an increasingly mixed picture in terms of the probable forecast for the whole of summer this year. Nowhere is this picture more mixed than it is in Wales, where different parts of the country and different owners are saying fundamentally different things about tourism in Wales this year to date.
As some reports seem to indicate, all the signs are that 2013 will be a very poor year for holiday home owners in what might be termed inland Wales – i.e. those areas that are not directly adjacent to an area of coastline. There appears to be a suspicion that the July heat wave simply resulted in a sudden rush of people trying to get to the coast but as a result, they may have simply ignored many inland tourist destinations and close-by holiday homes.
Some holiday home owners are describing the year as one of the worst they have ever experienced and there appears to be considerable talk of some owners now choosing to rent out their properties on a longer-term basis rather than try to concentrate on non-existent holiday traffic.
However, it’s probably also fair to say that those people owning property on or very close to the coastal areas may have picked up a significant income bounce as a result of that good two weeks.
Some are actually indicating that overall they are anticipating good summer figures though it will be necessary to understand whether or not a relatively short-term burst of good weather will translate into on-going benefit through what’s left of summer and into early autumn.
For some owners at least, there must be at least a partial fear that if the unseasonal cold and wet weather returns for the last few weeks of summer and into autumn, then once again the customers will simply stay at home or head south into Europe on last-minute bargain type deals.
Summarising the position
The weather in the United Kingdom has never been predictable and it is extremely unlikely that it will ever be so.
It would clearly be risky to try and build an entire industry around the hope that extended heat waves arise and thereby persuade people to head to the beaches. Although 2012 and 2013 have had particularly poor summers, when considering the totality of the period starting from say June onwards, this may prove to be relatively commonplace going forward.
There is, therefore, a challenge for the UK holiday home industry to develop new marketing approaches that will, as far as possible, de-emphasize the focus currently on the hope for good weather.