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South West Holiday let Market Insight Report 2024 | A translucent blue background and grpah icon over an image of the shepherds' hut at Orchard Retreat, Witheridge

At Helpful Holidays, 2023 was another fabulous year, despite the current economic climate. We saw an average occupancy of 85% throughout the peak summer season, and with booking occupancy now back to pre-Covid levels, it’s a positive picture for holiday homeowners in the South West. 

In the past 12 months, we have seen some notable changes in the way customers are booking, their intentions, and what they desire from their holiday. We are delighted to have created this insightful guide using our own data and statistics from our parent company Sykes Holiday Cottages. We hope it will provide useful information on booking trends from both a local and national perspective. 

For a full physical copy of the report please contact us on, call 01647 403014 or visit the Let Your Cottage page on our website.

Use the quick links below to learn more about a specific area of the holiday letting market, or read on for an overall summary of our Market Insights Report:

A summary of the holiday let market with Helpful Holidays

South West Holiday Let Market Insights Report 2024 | The Helpful Holidays logo

Here is an overview of how Helpful Holidays performed and the agency’s key achievements for 2023:

  • We now have 554 properties across the South West. This is a 3% increase compared to the same point last year.
  • We have seen bookings return to pre-COVID levels with an average occupancy throughout the peak summer period of 85%.
  • Last-minute bookings were key. 29% of bookings taken were made within four weeks of the holiday start date.
  • 20% of our bookings were for short breaks.
  • Bookings were made up of 40% couples, 31% families, 27% adult groups and 2% solo travellers.
  • We are now part of a B Corp certified organisation.

Helpful Holidays’ top performing properties

Here are some of Helpful Holidays’ top performing properties for 2023. Figures are correct as of 30/01/2024.

1 The Quay
Lympstone, Devon
48 bookings in 2023, 28 already for 2024

Buster Barn
Sampford Spiney, near Tavistock, Devon
47 bookings in 2023, 27 already for 2024

Porlock, Somerset
47 bookings in 2023, 19 already for 2024

Tilly’s Cottage
Edington, Wiltshire
47 bookings in 2023, 21 already for 2024

Crablake Farmhouse
Exminster, Devon
46 bookings in 2023, 23 already for 2024

Optimising your property’s booking and earning potential

Optimise your pricing

In addition to excellent marketing exposure, Helpful Holidays offers dynamic pricing tools which give owners the ability to maximise their income and booking numbers. We automatically adjust prices in line with demand by analysing searches, booking trends, and individual property performance.

In 2023, owners who took our advice and utilised dynamic pricing tools saw an average of 5 additional bookings and 20% more revenue compared to owners who did not.

Similarly, owners who took our advice on where their base price should sit earned on average 13 more bookings and 34% more revenue compared to owners who set their own pricing.

Accept short breaks

Demand for short stays consistently grows each year. 20% of our bookings in 2023 were for short breaks. Our annual survey revealed that 53% of Brits plan to go on multiple UK holidays and short breaks in 2024.

Did you know?

By accepting multiple bookings in a week, you could achieve on average 6 more bookings than those that restrict their properties to just one booking a week. Being flexible with the duration of a customer’s stay and accepting bookings right up to the departure date will ensure more bookings in the long run.

Be flexible with last minute bookings

Last-minute bookings are now the rule, not the exception. 

At Helpful Holidays, 29% of our bookings taken in 2023 were made within four weeks of the holiday start date.

Google searches for ‘last minute holidays’ have experienced year-on-year growth of 130%. Searches for ‘last minute holidays Devon’ have remained high, with over 1,000 searches per month. Popular locations such as North Devon, Dawlish, Woolacombe, and Torquay are featured frequently. 

Be sure to accept last-minute bookings, and enlist the help of an agency, like us, or a caretaker to support with facilitating last-minute changeovers.

Accept pets

South West Holiday Let Market Insights Report 2024 | A dog running on a beach

At Helpful Holidays, we’ve seen a 60% increase in searches for ‘pet-friendly holidays’. Properties that accept pets are on average receiving 3 more bookings and 17% more revenue than properties that don’t.

We have also seen an increase in more specific property searches, such as ‘dog friendly cottages in Devon by the sea’, ‘dog friendly cottages in Devon with enclosed garden’, and ‘dog friendly cottages north devon’.

Value-adding property features

Here are our most popular search and booking features in 2023:

Garden and outdoor space

32% of guests consider a property’s garden or outdoor space when booking a holiday. So, it’s a good idea to have some outdoor seating for guests to dine al fresco in the South West sunshine.

Wi-Fi and technology

27% of guests consider good wifi or technology when booking a property. Having Wi-Fi can earn owners an average of 26% more per year.

Hot Tubs

Luxury amenities continue to be popular with holidaymakers. Properties with hot tubs had on average 104% more bookings compared to 2022 and around 167% compared to 2019. As a result, having a hot tub at your property could earn you an average of 37% more per year.

Consider sustainability

As well as reducing your running costs and future-proofing your business, considering your environmental impact can be a great way to accelerate bookings. 

74% of the UK public say they want travel companies to offer more sustainable choices. 65% would prefer to stay in accommodation they knew had a sustainable certification and 43% would be willing to pay more for sustainable options.

We have also seen an increased demand for properties with EV charge points. Holiday properties with EV charging facilities receive around 170 google searches per month. With only 5% of our properties currently having EV charging facilities, this is a great chance for owners to make their accommodation stand out.

Marketing your holiday home

Domestic tourism boosts the UK economy by an estimated £28 billion each year, with over £7 billion of this spend in the South West, predominantly in rural areas, which hugely outweighs other regions. In 2021, short-term letting tourism supported over 124,000 jobs in the South West.

Whilst tourism is clearly fundamental to the region and consumer demand is high, how do you ensure your holiday home stands out in a competitive landscape?

As part of the Sykes Holiday Cottages family, our brands have access to national, industry-leading marketing exposure. 

Here are some of our marketing insights for 2023, and ways we have secured bookings for our owners:

  • We spent £24 million on marketing in 2023.
  • We dominate Google searches, with a 43.7% market share amongst the four largest competitors.
  • We had over 46 million website visitors to our Sykes Holiday Cottages website, which lists all Helpful Holidays properties, in 2023.
  • The Sykes brand is growing, with over 3.3 million searches in the last 12 months.
  • We’ve run several successful booking initiatives in the last year, including our low deposit payment and flexible cancellation schemes.
  • We’re always expanding our wide network of partner sites, like Airbnb and, giving owners more opportunities to be seen.

Do you own a holiday home in the South West, or are you thinking of letting your second home?

Our 2024 Market Insights Report is an essential resource, filled with useful statistics and pointers for letting your holiday property, whether you’re an experienced owner or just thinking of buying. For a full copy of the report please contact us on, call 01647 403014 or visit the Let Your Cottage page on our website.

If you’d like to find out more about whether we’re a good fit for you and your holiday home, one of our New Property Consultants would love to visit your property and give an honest appraisal of its rental potential. Or, if you are thinking of investing in a property and would like some free advice, we can help with that too!

If you’re looking for more useful owner blogs, read our Holiday Letting Advice guide for everything you need to know about holiday letting with Helpful Holidays. Unsure of where to start with holiday property management? Read our blog on South West Holiday Property Management.