A year ago, the vacation rental news cycle was focused strictly on pandemic-related shutdowns and safety measures.
Thankfully, though, vacation rental news in 2021 has been much more encouraging: the whole industry suffered in 2020, but an epic bounce-back appears to be underway. Check out a quick springtime roundup of vacation rental news below:
New York Times
In late March, the New York Times published an article about the current travel boom in the U.S. According to the research, domestic bookings increased 58% this past March compared to March 2019. Even better: when this article was published, online search and booking activity for summer travel was already breaking records.
The Times also urged prospective travelers to book trips sooner rather than later, since prices are almost certainly going to inflate and lenient booking policies inspired by the pandemic might disappear. On the flipside of that forecast, it seems safe to assume that homeowners who remain savvy about their policies and promotions can rack up bookings while also catching shoppers who fall through the cracks of the initial springtime rush.
Expedia Group has played a key role in the vacation rental industry’s rebound early in 2021. While doing so, the industry juggernaut has closely tracked what’s working and what isn’t so homeowners like you have a reliable compass to follow.
1. OTA travelers: Online travel agencies (OTAs) are more trafficked now than ever before. In 2020, OTAs allowed travel-hungry shoppers stuck in quarantine to dream about their next trip. Now, those same shoppers are clicking the “Book” button with tenacity—but not before they do plenty of research. By browsing multiple sites, travelers can compare literally everything before deciding where to book a stay, including rates, photos, bundles, cleaning protocols, cancellation policies, and reviews.
2. Rental reviews: According to the latest research, travelers will turn to recent online reviews 41% more than before the pandemic. Expedia recommends lodging providers respond to reviews, good or bad, since “being responsive demonstrates guest opinions and suggestions matter.” Not to mention, it builds trust at a time when trust is still so important.
3. Travel audience: Targeting specific demographics was tricky during the pandemic because no one was going anywhere. Now, though, new data reveals valuable shopping tendencies, including who’s traveling and for what reasons.
For instance, 20% of millennials who traveled during the pandemic did so to take advantage of deals and savings, and 15% of Gen-Z travelers hit the road for a workcation. Homeowners who utilize promotions and merchandising opportunities will certainly get a leg up on their competition while effectively targeting the proper travel audience.
VRBO’s recently released annual travel report revealed some telling numbers:
- 82% of families already have travel plans for 2021
- 22% of travelers said a vacation would improve their mental health
Last year, VRBO users created nearly 16 million “Trip Boards” on the website, and now those trip boards are becoming reality. But even as travel returns to some semblance of normal—or even better than normal—many pandemic-driven tenets remain:
- Roughly 60% of families say they are more likely to drive instead of fly on their next trip, with their focus on outdoorsy destinations
- More than 50% of travelers who took a “flexcation” (or “workcation”) this past year found the experience refreshing, and two-thirds of them said they’d do it again.
Perhaps the best part of the VRBO report, and about current vacation rental industry news in general, is that people not only want to travel—they want to go all out.
In fact, 65% of travelers in VRBO’s report plan on traveling more than they did prior to the pandemic. One-third of them are willing to spend more than they traditionally would, and more than half of them say they are more likely to take a bucket list trip.