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Over 50 owners and guests attended Dream Cottages’ sold-out information evening back in January based on Dorset holiday letting, which saw a staycation review and predictions.

With an action-packed evening of guest speakers, evening guests also heard holiday let insights from 2023 and predictions for 2024. Last year, Dream Cottages alone brought 30,000 guests to Dorset on holiday (plus some of their pets), with a summer occupancy rate of 88%.

An overview of the holiday letting market

The key achievement for Dorset brands Dream Cottages and Lyme Bay Holidays was an 8% increase in their property portfolio based on the previous year – a collective portfolio of 815 properties.

The brands both saw that last minute bookings were one of the keys to success. Properties who ensured they were opted in for flexible short breaks received more bookings than those who didn’t opt in, statistically. Last year, we saw 80% of bookings were taken within 4 weeks of the holiday start date.

Also in 2023, a huge 39% of bookings were for short breaks, that’s a 2% rise on the previous year and taken mostly out of season.

2023 bookings were made up of 40% couples, 31% families, 27% adult groups and 2% solo travelers.

Most booked locations for staycations in Dorset

The Dream Cottages team revealed the most booked properties from 2023 were in the Burton Bradstock area and properties surrounding Dorchester.

These included:

  1. Deer Leap House in Moreton who achieved 57 bookings in 2023
  2. Cliff Barn who achieved 53 bookings in 2023
  3. Village View who achieved 49 bookings in 2023.

Bookings review and predictions

Wessex View

In the past 12 months, we at Dream Cottages have seen some notable changes in the way that customers book, their intentions and what they desire from their holiday.

Dream Cottages, part of Sykes Cottages, data showed that top three most desirable features when looking to stay in Dorset and Devon were:

  1. A sea view

Although always popular, we received a 6% increase in clicks to pages on our website for properties containing “sea views.” Searches for “luxury sea views” also grew by 140% in 2023.

  1. Parking

Off-road parking is one of the most popular features on our website. The phrase “self-catering in Weymouth with Parking” gets an average of 90 Google searches per month.

  1. Close distance to a beach or town

In our recent study, 34% of people said they consider proximity to a beach when booking a property. Customers also consider proximity to a supermarket or shop (33%) and pub (25%).

Holiday Letting in Dorset

Domestic tourism currently boosts the UK economy by £28 billion each year, with over £7 billion of this spend in the South West – predominately in rural areas which outweighs other regions.

To find out more about Dorset’s leading holiday let agency, download your free owner pack to get your free pricing appraisal and book a no-obligation free property visit.