Homelike sees major boost in bookings post-Easter

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 29 April 2020

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Europe: Apartment rental platform for business Homelike has reported a significant boost in medium and long-term bookings over the last two weeks.

The company, which offers a minimum stay of 30 nights, hosted a webinar for providers today, which included some interesting statistics regarding the return of business travel bookings during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Cherry Wang, Homelike country manager for the UK and Ireland, said: "Bookings reached their lowest over the Easter weekend but since then we have seen a huge recovery."

The average length of stay hasn't fluctuated greatly, she added, with bookings made so far in April averaging 80 nights.

In terms of converting enquiries in to bookings, the company has noticed some clear trends and advises operators and providers to make their inventory instantly bookable - instant bookings made up 40 per cent of the April total - and offer flexible cancellation terms - the percentage of bookings with flexible cancellation policies has gone up from five per cent to more than 45 per cent in just six weeks. Homelike sees a significantly higher conversion rate for apartments with flexible cancellation policies.

The average price of UK apartments bookings has dropped from £2,900 per month to £2,300, and while search traffic has dropped off by 50 per cent, people are still searching and booking with a positive upward trend since mid-April, the company said.

The main reasons for booking are extensions on existing bookings due to restricted mobility; house under construction/property purchase; self isolation/caring for elderly or at risk family members/health workers; and project work starting up again.

On the corporate demand side, senior key account manager Cecilia Oliveira said the main sources of bookings are the public sector and the construction and engineering industries.

Looking forward, Homelike predicted that corporates will only travel when necessary, with the mid- to long-stay market still seeing good traction compared to short stay; that moves will be national rather than international (driven by country travel restrictions) and will either be very short term or very long term; that last minute changes are likely so providers must be flexible over booking terms; and that enquiries are picking up for the second half of the year.

Homelike offers more than 50,000 apartments across Europe, in more than 400 cities.

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