As a record number of Brits chose a domestic holiday for this year’s August bank holiday weekend, Britain’s coastal areas have been granted the attention and appreciation they deserve.

Staycations in the UK have also boomed post-pandemic due to the cost of living crisis, offering holidaymakers a cheaper alternative to more extortionately-priced international trips.

GlobalData expects the total number of domestic return trips to rebound to well above pre pandemic levels by 2025.

Despite this positive outlook, Britain’s coastal hotels remain bound to ever-present unpredictable weather patterns and seasonality, making it difficult to maintain profitability year-round.

Hotel Management Network speaks to Liv Waller, general manager of The Whittling House based in Almouth, Northumberland, to understand what it means to manage a British coastal hotel.

What does Northumberland and the Whittling House offer travellers?

Waller: The Whittling House is based in the small village of Alnmouth, situated on a beautiful part of the Northumberland coastline. The hotel offers ten rooms, as well as a restaurant and bar to welcome visitors looking for coastal accommodation.

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The number of visitors to Northumberland year on year is on the rise and it is easy to see why it is becoming the chosen location for a coastal holiday. The Northumberland coastline is famed for its outstanding natural beauty with its coves, castles, and scenic beaches.

What are the opportunities and challenges of managing a coastal hotel in Britain?

Waller: Providing a team of staff that are from and take pride in knowing the local area well is a fantastic opportunity of providing accommodation for coastal holidays to visitors. There are so many activities and experiences on offer along this stretch of coastline to suit a variety of interests whether that be walking or cycling, birdwatching, exploring beaches etc. The importance of being able to pass on local knowledge to our guests, make recommendations and create a positive, memorable experience is crucial.

A challenge of providing accommodation for coastal holidays is managing the level of customer demand based on seasonality. During the peak season of the summer months, the demand for accommodation is always much higher than the low season winter months – especially in Northumberland. During periods where there is less demand, the direct impact this has on profitability and sustainability can be challenging.

How can hoteliers adapt to changing customer needs?

Waller: The hospitality and accommodation industry is already a very competitive market so staying well informed by monitoring and keeping up with developing trends often assists to anticipate customer demands and identify new opportunities.

A key factor we focus on to improve and adapt to changing requirements is to understand who our customers are, and more importantly what they expect and need whilst staying with us. Taking a proactive approach to the customer feedback and reviews we receive is vital in recognising and identifying specific preferences and satisfaction levels. These are continually used to highlight areas for improvement and establish new ideas.

What will be the biggest change in Britain’s hotel industry in five years?

There are promising signs of recovery within the travel, tourism and hospitality sector after what has been a difficult few years. Despite this, there are many ongoing challenges that the industry currently faces such as meeting demand, the cost-of-living crisis, staff shortages etc., which are likely to impact the future changes of Britain’s industry, and coastal hotels in particular.

One of the more noticeable changes in recent years and one that remains at the forefront of consideration is the benefit of environmental changes made within the industry and the implementation of proactive measures. Such progress helps to protect and sustain not only the local but national and global environment for future generations.