Search

Hoseasons base ‘should remain in region’ if Airbnb takeover goes ahead

The new Woods social area where staff can also work, at Hoseasons in Lowestoft. Airbnb is rumoured to have an interest in buying the company, along with others owned by Wyndham Worldwide Corporation. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The new Woods social area where staff can also work, at Hoseasons in Lowestoft. Airbnb is rumoured to have an interest in buying the company, along with others owned by Wyndham Worldwide Corporation. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

Sector leaders say efforts must be made to ensure East Anglia’s tourism industry doesn’t lose out should Airbnb be successful in buying one of the region’s top holiday companies.

Larking Gowen tourism and leisure partner, Chris Scargill. Picture: Sonya Duncan Larking Gowen tourism and leisure partner, Chris Scargill. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Rumours are circulating that Lowestoft-based Hoseasons could be sold to the online lettings giant – along with other holiday businesses owned by parent company Wyndham Worldwide Corporation – in a $1bn deal.

But the group has so far refused to be drawn on the issue, saying it would not comment on “industry speculation”.

A tourism expert has said that while welcoming a global force like Airbnb more intimately could turbocharge the “overnight stay” sector in Norfolk and Suffolk, any such benefit would be contingent on Hoseasons’ operations remaining in the region.

Chris Scargill, tourism partner at accountancy firm Larking Gowen, said the fall in the value of the pound had made the UK a more attractive location for investment for large tourism companies – who bring credibility for customers with them.

Tom Ellis, director of Norfolk Country Cottages in Holt.

 Picture: MARK BULLIMORE Tom Ellis, director of Norfolk Country Cottages in Holt. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

“Airbnb may have a better worldwide appeal and a greater worldwide brand which might bring in more visitors to the UK from overseas,” he said.

“VisitBritain’s last volume and value survey indicated that £93m is generated in Norfolk alone on ‘stay nights’ – approximately 12% of the overnight stay market – but that could clearly be increased if there is wider appeal.

“Airbnb is not just about filling spare rooms and empty city dwellings, they are a competitor in the staying market and I am aware of a number of businesses that use their model rather than local cottage letting companies.”

He added: “I think this is going to be the start of an investment programme and let’s hope Norfolk gets its fair share. The UK base for Hoseasons could still be focused within our region.”

Director of Norfolk Country Cottages Tom Ellis believes the traditional lettings model will be safe in East Anglia should Airbnb take over Hoseasons. Mr Ellis, who oversees other lettings firms including Suffolk Secrets, said the firm was diversifying to improve customer service with projects such as its new maintenance arm Norfolk Country Cottages Care.

“Airbnb has done well with shaking up the market with new technology, but we service holiday makers and home owners in a way Airbnb cannot. I don’t think it will change our strategy,” he said.

Other news

13:40

Residents and councillors have vowed to fight a decision which will see historic archives from Lowestoft and the surrounding area stripped from the town.

11:28

People are being encouraged to find out more about a possible career in the Fire and Rescue Service as taster day sessions are held across Suffolk.

09:43

As Potters celebrates the 20th anniversary of hosting the World Indoor Bowls Championships, chief reporter AMY SMITH went along to meet world number one Greg Harlow for a lesson on the rink.

09:24

A Lowestoft-area primary school has closed for the day due to a heating failure.

Most Read

Great Yarmouth is set for a tourism spending boost after it was confirmed cruise ships will be docking with hundreds of passengers at the town’s port throughout the year.

Read more
Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Yesterday, 12:48

Police are appealing for witnesses following a burglary and an attempted burglary at two high street business premises.

Read more
09:24

A Lowestoft-area primary school has closed for the day due to a heating failure.

Read more
Suffolk County
Tue, 12:25

A 40-year-old man has been charged with two counts of engaging in sexual communication with a child.

Read more
Lowestoft
Wed, 17:32

This breathtaking shot of a sail boat gliding across the water as it is silhouetted against a gorgeous sunset at Oulton Broad’s North Bay was taken by 71-year-old Peter Waller.

Read more

Later in Life

cover

Click here to view
the Later in Life
supplement

View

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 1°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Lowestoft Journal
e-edition today

Subscribe

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter