Couples choosing UK based wedding venues
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the wedding industry. According to predictions made by wedding insurance firm HelloSafe, the industry was expected to lose 5.3 billion pounds in 2020, with over 132,000 couples postponing weddings. According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), there were 2,400 cancellation and refund complaints about weddings in the year to March 2021 – with an average of £6,500 at stake.
Foreign destinations for weddings suffered loss because of the Coronavirus pandemic
From Tuscany in Italy to Paris in France, Europe has a plethora of romantic destinations that were once popular with couples wanting to get married. When the Coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, all weddings were postponed both in the UK and abroad, and travel restrictions were imposed. Although weddings are now allowed to go ahead, travel restrictions are still in place which has meant that many couples have chosen to hold their wedding in the UK rather than abroad.
Although travel restrictions have relaxed slightly over the last few months, travel from some countries still requires a quarantine period. The quarantine period and associated accommodation charges can be costly, and with weddings already being very expensive, this additional outlay dissuades many from planning weddings abroad. Also, for those who cannot work from home, a period of quarantine would mean that they’d have to use holiday or take unpaid leave.
The UK operates a traffic light system in terms of countries that require quarantine, with red countries being those UK residents should not travel to, countries under the amber list require a quarantine period and countries under the green list are free to travel to. Although this does open various options for weddings abroad, the lists are constantly being updated so there is no certainty the same restrictions will be in place once the wedding goes ahead.
For those planning a domestic wedding, the UK has no shortage of beauty spots and listed buildings that are hired out for ceremonies. In London - the Gherkin can be hired out for £5,000 + VAT and guests are treated to a 360-degree view of London’s skyline. If they’re willing to chance it on British weather, they can get married in Hawkstone Park Follies in Shropshire, a Grade I listed woodland. For a true fairytale wedding, Achnagairn Castle in Inverness, Scotland can be rented out for £5,000 + VAT, it even comes with its own ballroom. Couples can even choose to marry in Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Winston Churchill – if they so wish.
These venues are usually rented out at a fixed cost, but for those looking for something more intimate it may work out more cost effective to choose something priced on a per-guest basis. A Hitched survey found the average number of guests at a UK wedding is 82 day guests and 103 evening guests, but up until recently coronavirus restrictions meant that weddings could have only up to 30 guests.
Many UK venues booked up until the end of 2023
London-based wedding planner Rebecca Brennan-Brown claims that most London based venues are fully booked until 2022 and many have hiked their prices by 15% as many engaged couples have had to rearrange their wedding dates. It’s not just wedding venues in London that are packed with bookings throughout the year. In Scotland’s West Dunbartonshire, the local authority-run wedding suite at the Clydebank Town Hall cannot be secured for functions until at least December. Oxfordshire are also not taking any bookings for their registration offices until November 1st 2021, and all their small office ceremonies for a couple and two witnesses are fully booked until April 2022.
Habrough Hotel – a unique affordable alternative in rural North East Lincolnshire
One option is Habrough Hotel in Lincolnshire. The hotel comprises 32-rooms and three function rooms that can accommodate up to 150 seated guests with a further 250 seated guests in a marquee. 500 + people can be accommodated for evening events, allowing organisers flexibility in terms of the number of guests. The hotel is currently undergoing refurbishment that is due to complete in September 2021 but prior to that it was fully operational and was East Lincolnshire’s premier boutique hotel and wedding venue.
Since the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s not just staycations that are proving more popular, but domestic weddings too. This increase in demand should be sustained for the foreseeable future as travelling to other countries remains uncertain. In that time, the developer intends to expand the hotel to not only include log cabins, but 30 extra bedrooms, a luxury spa and swimming pool facility, a golf course, and a larger outdoor space to hold a wider range of events. This will allow the hotel to cater for different types of guests and therefore diversify income streams resulting in steady returns for investors.
The hotel occupies a strategic location in a rural village sharing the same name in North East Lincolnshire. It is just 3 miles from the River Humber and just to the west of Immingham. Close by are the UK’s busiest trading estuary and the UK’s largest port by tonnage. Its rural location combined with its proximity to industrial sites and transport networks means it’s uniquely positioned to accommodate business and leisure guests.
As previously mentioned, the hotel was operational before the Coronavirus pandemic and was priced favourably compared to surrounding competition. The average cost to stay a night in the hotel was £95 and hotel packages were around the £3,500 - £7,000 mark.
Habrough Hotel as an investment option
Experienced and high net worth investors can joint venture with a property developer and invest from £50,000 in this 18-month hotel refurbishment with 14% projected annualised returns. Like any property development, capital is at risk for the inflation beating returns. Most of the refurbishment has already been completed and the project is expected to be finalised by September 2021. If this joint venture in Habrough Hotel is of interest, talk to one of the experienced One Touch Investment consultants about the opportunity or sign up to discover other joint ventures of UK developments.
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