The UK Prime Minister’s roadmap is a very welcome sign that good progress has been made in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and for society to start planning a return to a more ‘normal life’.
Whilst we appreciate the need to be careful about when and how the hospitality industry, and specifically the accommodation sector, reopens, we also need to make sure that no business is disadvantaged in the meantime and that we work together to make 2021 a year to make up as much of the lost ground caused by the pandemic as we can.
We have four specific asks of Government:
- That all short term rentals businesses are supported financially - not just until they can fully reopen but until all restrictions are removed (including international travel restrictions). This means they must be eligible for grant funding and not omitted on technicalities as happened last year.
- That it recognises short term rental properties are a very COVID-safe and secure type of accommodation for people to holiday in because they enable easy social distancing and the properties themselves will have been cleaned in accordance with industry-wide cleaning protocols introduced in collaboration with government last year. Short term rentals provide a 'home-from-home experience' that many people are looking for and allow for other COVID-safe behaviours such as home deliveries of groceries or meals and not mixing with people outside of a family bubble. For these reasons, short term rentals should be regarded as one of the first, if not the first, accommodation types to be allowed to take bookings again.
- That the sector gets a good no tice period to be able to prepare properly for accepting guests once more. Our members have indicated that a period of three weeks' notice would be favoured enabling them to prepare their properties, book supplies and give guests adequate time to make their bookings.
- That it provides consumers and business owners with clear and consistent messages about what is and isn't allowed. We want to help our sector to recover strongly and responsibly. To help make this achievable, we need Government communications to be precise and to minimise the opportunity for different interpretations. We would be more than happy to engage with Government representatives to help shape the communications strategy to give all of us the best chance to return the UK to one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world.
The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA)
The UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) was founded in March 2017 to support the development of short-term accommodation in the UK, ensure greater co-operation in tackling common industry challenges and seize shared opportunities. It seeks to work with all stakeholders towards a stable and supportive regulatory environment that promotes the UK as a global leader in the provision of short-term accommodation.