Three trade associations in the holiday rentals sector have come together to the first summit and trade show in Europe since the first nationwide UK lockdown in March last year.
The Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA), the European Holiday Home Association and the Vacation Rental Management Association hosted delegates in London this week at the Short Stay Summit.
The last time the event was held was in March 2020, the last event held in the Excel exhibition centre in east London before it closed down and became a temporary COVID-19 hospital.
Merilee Karr, chairwoman of the STAA said the plan is to make the summit the annual event for the sector in Europe. Next year is will revery to its usual Spring timing in May.
“Last time the industry was together was the day before everything shut down and we really wanted to be the first back top host a European conference.
“A lot has happened in the mean time, but one of the really exciting things is that three associations came together and we said there are lots of different commercial conferences popping up but we want a conference that for the industry by the industry.”
Karr said the sector has been “pretty hard hit” by the pandemic, but that the Short Stay Summit will offer insights and discussions that will be valuable for the whole of the industry.
Industry data provided by STR has shown that rentals are bouncing back from the pandemic quicker than hotels with a return to 68% occupancy compared to under 50% for traditional accommodations.
Average daily rates for the alternative accommodation sector are running at around £150 per night, ahead of the just under £100 being achieved by hotels.
“Despite the fact that everyone in the travel sector has had a really challenging 18 months, the short term sector is recovering quickly and leading in that recovery.
“I hope that this conference is one way of supporting that. If we cannot show it’s okay to travel how can we expect other punters to do so?”
The recovery of domestic travel and demand for more exclusive and secluded properties has been fuelling the fight back for short term rental suppliers while city centre urban accommodation providers continue to suffer from supressed international and corporate traffic.