AVERAGE daily rates for Airbnb and Vrbo holiday lets in Scotland have rocketed by 41% since before the pandemic, the Sunday National can reveal.
The average price per day is now £186.28, compared with £131.81 in 2019. The figures from AirDNA show an 8% rise in prices since last year alone.
Despite the high prices, demand has been surpassing pre-pandemic levels since the beginning of the year. In July 2022, there were 8% more nights booked than in July 2019.
The price rises in Scotland reflect those in the market worldwide, with demand high for short-term rentals.
A spokeswoman for AirDNA said the rise in prices was due to increased cleaning protocols as the result of the Covid pandemic, inflation and higher labour costs.
“The rise in average daily rates (ADR) nationally has also, in part, been driven by the move from small, city-centre apartments to larger, more rural houses and villas, which traditionally charge more,” she said.
As well as larger properties being booked to accommodate larger parties travelling together, people had also been indulging in so-called “revenge travel” and were prepared to pay more for a holiday after so many months without vacations during the Covid pandemic, said the spokeswoman.
The figures come as Scottish local authorities prepare to set up short-term lets licensing schemes, following concerns raised about the impact of short-term let properties on local communities, including noise, antisocial behaviour and the impact on the supply of housing.
Legislation has been passed by the Scottish Government that means local authorities have until October 1 this year to set up licensing schemes. Existing hosts and operators will have until April 1 next year to apply for a licence.
Edinburgh, which has one third of all short-term lets in Scotland, is also to pioneer a crackdown on short-term lets such as Airbnb after the entire city was officially designated as a control zone.
The Scottish Government this month signed off on plans put forward by City of Edinburgh Council for the authority to become Scotland’s first Short-Term Let Control Area.
It means the change of use of an entire dwelling, that is, not someone’s principal home, to a short-term let will require planning permission. It does not apply to home sharing or home letting.
The move follows a unanimous decision by the council’s planning committee, backed by 85% of respondents to a consultation.
Landlords have warned the change is “wholly disproportionate” and would damage the tourism industry.
The Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) said that coupled with the Government’s “onerous” licensing scheme, it had the potential to be “absolutely devastating” for the sector in Edinburgh.
“Our members in the capital, who help to generate more than £70m each year, will be rightly concerned about what this means for their livelihood in what is already a challenging regulatory and economic environment,” said a spokeswoman.
Airbnb, one of the world’s leading short-term let platforms, said stricter regulations could hit the Scottish economy hard. Research by the firm, which would likely be among the worst impacted by the new rules, suggested that it could cost the economy as much as £133 million and 7000 jobs.
Meanwhile prices at holiday centres, camping sites, youth hostels and similar accommodation services across the UK are up 23.8%, according to the Office for National Statistics.
HOWEVER, Hostelling Scotland told the Sunday National that youth hostels had been “lumped into” the same category and prices had actually been held to 2019 rates in an attempt to kick start the market after the pandemic.
“This is our first year in being able to trade properly after two years where we were effectively closed, so we had no idea how market was going to go and what confidence was going to be,” said Graham Sheach of Hostelling Scotland.
While the hostels have been “really busy”, he said there was worry over whether people would still visit, given the high price of fuel, rising inflation and huge increases in the cost of living generally.
“We have concerns about it, especially in a year of recovery which we are at the moment,” he said.
“Staff recruitment is also very hard but we are not alone – you can see it in every hospitality business. We are all struggling. The core people we have are excellent and are doing a good job but we need to be able to support them and the teams are lighter than they would normally be.
“On the plus side, we have had a positive couple of months, so we just need to hope people still come.”