Booking site Hoo predicts hotel cancellations will reach 40 per cent this summer due to Covid uncertainty and intentional double-booking by holidaymakers. Olivia Palamountain reports

While the end is in sight for the full UK national lockdown, there is still no confirmation as to when Brits will be able to travel abroad again on vacation.

If you’re thinking that the silver lining to this state of play is that British hotels and B&B’s are going to have a bumper summer, however, think again.

Hotel booking platform Hoo has crunched the data on hotel cancellations between January and March, 2021, across both the UK and Europe, to compare how the current holiday landscape looks versus this time last year.

A year ago, the UK had just entered into its first lockdown. Nobody knew what to expect and most of us were optimistic about getting away on holiday.

As a result, across the UK, hotel cancellations sat at 20 per cent, while across Europe, Covid had gained a far stronger foothold resulting in cancellations climbing to a high of 65.5 per cent.

Fast forward to today, despite fears of a third wave, cancellations across Europe have actually reduced to 40.5 per cent (probably because there are fewer bookings).

Meanwhile, in the UK, domestic hotel cancellations climbed 19 per cent between January and March year-on-year, with 39 per cent of all hotel bookings now being cancelled.

Why? Continued restrictions around travel and on-going Covid uncertainty plus the burgeoning trend for double-bookings (the promise of free cancellations are encouraging this behaviour) as holidaymakers look to hedge their bets are the likely culprits.

Hoo co-founder, Adrian Murdock, believes it is likely we will see these cancellations intensify further over the coming months.

He says: “We’ve all been keeping our fingers firmly crossed that a holiday of some shape or form will be on the cards this year. Unfortunately, we still find ourselves unable to travel for even a weekend away, and so many are finding that their plans are once again having to be cancelled.

“This has caused a sharp uplift in the percentage of hotel booking cancellations so far this year and we expect this to climb further still over the course of the summer.

“However, it’s not just Covid that will drive this figure skywards. Hoteliers have already spoken about what they see as a growing trend whereby holidaymakers are booking multiple venues, both here and abroad, with the intention of cancelling the least desirable at the last minute.

“This behaviour has the potential to cause havoc for the hotel industry and will see many hardworking hoteliers lose out on vital income in these tough times. Not to mention the fact that it leaves others high and dry for a place to stay.

“Our advice for those who can’t find a hotel at present is to keep the faith. With last minute cancellations likely to be rife, you may be able to secure a good deal by booking just before you plan to go away.”

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE