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Airbnb trend leads to younger people renting a Suffolk cottage for a short break

PUBLISHED: 10:37 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:37 12 March 2019

Sally Owen, brand marketing manager at Suffolk Secrets

Sally Owen, brand marketing manager at Suffolk Secrets

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Holiday cottage provider Suffolk Secrets sees short-break bookings soar 58% year-on-year.

Walkers on the bridge at SouthwoldWalkers on the bridge at Southwold

The popularity of online accommodation rental service Airbnb has had a knock-on effect in increasing the number of younger people renting a Suffolk cottage for a short break, according to the marketing manager at the county’s leading holiday cottage provider.

Sally Owen is brand marketing manager at Suffolk Secrets, an agency which represents over 500 holiday cottage properties throughout the Suffolk coast and countryside.

She reports that bookings so far in 2019 show an increase of 12% compared with the same time last year - the main trend being the rise in the popularity of short breaks, with bookings up an impressive 58% year-on-year.

READ MORE: ‘It changes the way people experience the county’ - tickets for the Suffolk Walking Festival go on sale

Ms Owen said: “This is down to a combination of factors; people are becoming more time pressed and we are seeing an increase in younger people taking short breaks.

Walking Festival participants at Southwold PierWalking Festival participants at Southwold Pier

“Airbnb has helped in this regard as it has helped develop a trend of short breaks where younger people have come out of the cities for a few days.”

Ms Owen was speaking shortly after tickets for the Suffolk Walking Festival 2019 went on sale.

Suffolk Secrets is backing the event for the third year and is the festival’s official accommodation provider - supporting the event financially and promoting it through its various communication channels.

Ms Owen said the arrangement did not result in that many extra holiday bookings for Suffolk Secrets but was a great opportunity to “showcase the county”.

She said: “Our surveys show that a massive 79% of holidaymakers who come to Suffolk like to go on a walk while they are here and the same percentage want to be near a beach. For over 50% of our customers being in close vicinity to nature is important.

“The walking festival promotes the things we know our customers are interested in. From a commercial standpoint, we don’t see tremendous growth {from backing the event] - it’s more that it is a fantastic event to showcase the county.”

Walkers at Hollywells Park in IpswichWalkers at Hollywells Park in Ipswich

READ MORE: AONB using nature’s colours to help buildings blend into Suffolk’s best landscapes

Ms Owen said walking holidays are just the type of low impact tourism that the company is keen to encourage in Suffolk.

Alongside its support of the waking festival, the company also runs a Suffolk Secrets AONB Fund - a pot of money it uses to support conservation and enhancements projects in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). It has operated the fund for a decade and in the past two years has committed £25,000 to local projects including the Beach Bonkers beachcombing walks, the purchase of swift boxes for homeowners in Aldeburgh and support for the Long Shop Museum in Leiston.

“As a company, we want to be involved in the community and want to give back a bit. Tourism has an impact and we have a responsibility to ensure it is as little as possible,” added Ms Owen.

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