Riding The Rollercoaster: Part 2

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

I’m writing this on 18th September 2020 which is likely to be important for context as things are changing rapidly. We are frantically planning for both the winter and 2021 yet it seems that we are going to have to rethink things on a weekly basis.  I’m not sure whether to be frightened or excited as we face both the possibility of being shut down again and a huge increase in demand.

Bookings continue to roll in
All of our data points are off the scale- bookings for September, half term, Christmas & new year are substantially up on previous years and advance bookings for 2021 are almost double what we would expect to see at this point in the year.  Traffic to the site is almost twice what we saw last year at only a slightly reduced conversion rate which is down to the simple fact that we have a finite amount of capacity.

You can’t sell a week twice!
This is true and you could draw the conclusion that all we are doing is reducing the bookings to come next year however the other bit of good news is that we are inundated with enquiries from people who want to buy a second home in Sandbanks so we are increasing capacity to cope with demand.  This is being driven by a number of factors:

The home working revolution will allow city professionals and many others to go to their second home whenever they like.

Yield from holiday letting once seemed low but when gilts are nearly negative, deposit rates almost zero and equities volatile a nice home by the sea in Sandbanks looks like a very stable investment.

The pandemic has also changed people’s mindset- what’s the point in having money in the bank and just working to get more?

Rule of Six 666
I’m holding off on ordering the Sunseeker for a while though!  This week saw the introduction of the rule of six which will affect our larger properties and once again we are having to deal with cancellations and refunds.  As we found earlier in the year, giving money back to our customers is a very poor business model and I’m getting flashbacks to a time when I felt I was watching my business drain away and like Richard Gere in An Officer & A Gentleman ‘I got nowhere else to go!’.

This particular measure is quite manageable- some guests are coming with fewer people and some are postponing their visit but as we watch the graphs climb on the news every night you have to think that this is just the start and it’s only going to get worse.  Whatever happens we are in a much better position than many businesses as opening through the summer has given the reserves to survive a nuclear winter.

One thing we need to sound the warning sirens for is Rishi’s Autumn budget expected late November.  At some point the government will have to raise taxes and second home owners, landlords and higher rate taxpayers will be in the firing line.



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