“Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” -Conrad Hilton
The vacation rental (VR) market is a powerful driving force in the tourism industry and is growing fast. Sadly, COVID-19 has impacted many VR businesses and professionals, and this controversial, global pandemic has been a game-changer in the vacation rental industry. It’s been a long, hard journey for many, but if you’re a VRM thinking of throwing in the towel, please don’t go!
Although the dynamics of the travel industry are changing, we’re seeing a huge shift and demand toward vacation rentals as the preferred lodging option, globally. Being able to offer a homestay at a time when many are concerned with self-isolation is a huge bonus—for both the homeowner and the guest. Trending predictions show short-term rentals (STRs) could be the fastest-growing sector in the hospitality industry and could finally have the upper hand and attention they deserve.
COVID-19 and the subsequent border closures and travel restrictions have wreaked havoc on the travel and hospitality industry, bringing it to a grinding halt and changing the face of travel forever. With the tremendous strain the economic fallout has put on the industry, it’s not easy to say “please don’t go,” when for many it may seem the only logical option.
As VRMs you’ve survived hurricanes, floods, fires, and so much more. With passion and purpose, the vacation rental industry rises stronger every time. There is good news and inspiring signs of healthy recovery for our industry. The following statistics show that the impact of COVID-19 has ultimately fallen in favor of the vacation rental and STR industry.
Technavio’s latest market research report, “Global Vacation Rental Market 2020–2024,” forecasts that the vacation rental market will accelerate at a CAGR of almost 7 percent through 2020–2024, with predicted growth of USD 62.97 billion.
Booking trends show that travel is up 127 percent from early April, with the number of bookings on Airbnb and VRBO booming from 916,000 to 2.08 million in only two weeks (AirDNA).
Since the COVID-19 low, global vacation rental occupancy has increased 60 percent, and the average daily rate (ADR) has increased by 23.2 percent.
North America is seeing the fastest rebound in the STR industry worldwide, with leisure destinations seeing a rebound in rates of 322 percent.
So, please don’t go!
While initial predictions were bleak, our industry is resilient and adaptable. With a change in consumer behavior and travel trends, and a “new normal” evolving, the recovery rate is faster in the vacation rental space than in the hotel industry, which is encouraging. There has been a surge in demand as travelers, work-from-home executives; and a new generation of digital nomads opts for destinations with more privacy and less risk, choosing staycations and drive-to destinations, avoiding crowded hotel lobbies, and opting to socially distance from the comfort of a vacation rental home.
STR Global and AirDNA compared the impact of the coronavirus crisis on hotels and short-term rentals from January 2019 through June 27, 2020, concluding that short-term rentals weathered the pandemic better than hotels, and ADRs were higher in July 2020 than in July 2019.
Are you prepared for change?
In an industry based on relationships, hospitality, and creating lifelong memories, it’s imperative to keep up with the shifting market, stay innovative and anticipate higher guest expectations. Smart technology, promotional strategies, and staffing play a huge role in these positive industry predictions. As a successful property manager, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse, which right now is beating fast.
Now is a time of great opportunity for VRMs: a time to determine a game plan, monitor your data with solid data-driven decision-making, and plan for the future through strategic forecasting.
This is a time to build your brand, grow your inventory, add new homeowners, and find the right talent to build a strong team.
In this time of uncertainty, with industry rollups, small businesses shutting their doors, and staff layoffs, the need for experienced and passionate VR professionals is now greater than ever, and the available talent pool is overflowing. In the vacation rental industry, the best teams win, and it’s vital you’re all rowing in the right direction.
Although things may never be the same again, our well-loved industry will make a strong return, and a strong band of vacation rental managers will have weathered another storm successfully and triumphantly.
Although there will no doubt be a return to the office for some, the work-from-anywhere trend has been accelerated by this pandemic. Vacation rentals make for the perfect remote work environment. The extension of the summer season into the fall that we are seeing across the industry may not be a one-year anomaly. This could in fact be an inflection point for the industry we know and love.
If you are in leadership in the vacation rental industry, this is the time to acquire the talent to take advantage of perhaps the greatest growth period in our history. Take this opportunity to see who is available in the talent pool. It’s the deepest it’s ever been.
Alternatively, if you have been laid off or furloughed, or you’re just considering an industry change . . . we kindly ask you to reconsider, as a time of unprecedented growth is just around the corner.
Please don’t go!