All news

Leeds Council Seeks to Limit Serviced Accommodation Due to Hotel Sector Pressure

Hotels in Leeds have raised concerns with local officials about declining occupancy rates, which they attribute to guests opting instead for serviced apartment accommodations. While new hotels continue to be developed in Leeds, hotel owners report that occupancy rates remain on the decline. The increase of serviced apartments and short-term rental options like Airbnb are being directly blamed for draining away potential hotel guests. In response to pressure from the hotel industry, Leeds City Council has proposed restrictions on serviced accommodations aimed at providing relief to hotel sector stakeholders. However, clamping down on serviced apartment availability poses questions about impacts on the visitor economy in Leeds.

The Rise of Serviced Accommodation in Leeds City Centre

In recent years, you may have noticed a rise in the number of serviced accommodation options available in the Leeds city centre area. Serviced apartments and apartment hotels have become a popular alternative to traditional hotels, providing travelers with more spacious and self-catered accommodations suitable for both short and extended stays. For business and leisure visitors alike, the additional amenities and competitive rates offered by serviced accommodations are appealing.

Growth of Supply and Demand

According to recent data analysis, the supply of serviced accommodations in Leeds grew over 50% from 2019 to 2023. This expansion was fueled by robust demand as Leeds saw record numbers of visitors in 2023. However, the swift growth of serviced accommodations in Leeds has also heightened competition for Leeds’ hotel industry.

Pressure from Hotels and Regulation

Major hotel brands operating in Leeds have lobbied the city council to limit the development of serviced accommodations, claiming it threatens their business. In response, the council has proposed tighter restrictions on short-term rentals and a potential levy on serviced accommodations to level the playing field. However, curbing serviced accommodations may also slow down the city’s growing visitor numbers and revenue.

An Uncertain Future

While the rise of serviced accommodations in Leeds has benefited visitors and property owners, it remains unclear how regulation and competition from hotels may impact the sector going forward. Achieving the proper balance between hotels, serviced accommodations, and traditional residential housing will be crucial for the city’s sustainable growth as a leading tourism and business hub in Northern England. Overall, serviced accommodations have brought both opportunities and challenges as Leeds’ visitor economy continues to thrive.

The Growth of Short-Term Rentals in Leeds: Balancing Competition and Opportunity

The rise of short-term rental options like serviced apartments in Leeds over the past decade has impacted the traditional hotel sector. As more visitors opt for these alternatives over hotels, hotel revenue and occupancy rates have declined. In response, hoteliers in Leeds have urged the city council to regulate short-term rentals.

Hotel representatives argue that unchecked growth of short-term rentals diverts business away from hotels. They claim short-term rentals do not generate the same local economic benefits in jobs and taxes. Some also worry about reduced long-term housing availability.

However, restricting short-term rentals could undermine Leeds’ tourism appeal. Options like serviced apartments and home-shares have made Leeds affordable and attractive for both business and leisure travelers on a budget. Banning or heavily limiting them risks compromising Leeds’ reputation.

The city council faces a complex challenge in balancing these perspectives. An outright ban on short-term rentals may decrease visitor spending that supports local businesses, while ignoring hotel challenges offers unfair competition. The council should pursue fair, judicious policies that enable innovation while addressing hotel concerns. Compromise and moderation, not extremes, will yield the optimal outcome supporting a thriving tourism industry.