At Guesty, we hear from short-term rental hosts every day about the struggles they face related to COVID-19. We’ve all seen the numbers: cancellations have dramatically increased while revenue has similarly declined for travel and tourism businesses across the globe.
Every day we are inspired by the resilience of property management companies that are pivoting their businesses, adapting their strategies and finding new ways to help others during this uncertain time. For example, Guesty user D. Alexander recently announced a focus on extended stays for those isolating with their initiative Destination Isolation, while Great Dwellings is offering listings to medical personnel at significantly reduced or free rates in the Washington, D.C. area
Amid these inspirational stories, and despite these challenges, there is a lot of optimism in the short-term rental ecosystem. And just like the property management entrepreneurs and businesses we serve, we also have confidence about the future of the industry.
‘Hostful’ for the future
We’ve already shared how based on our data, we anticipate an unprecedented surge in leisure travel this coming fall and winter (read more here). As people save up their vacation days now after canceling their spring and summer plans, we know they’ll be looking to travel in a safe and socially distant way later in the year - perhaps for a family reunion or to honor a special occasion they couldn’t celebrate as hoped. This is likely one of the reasons why the average length of stay per reservation booked has increased from 4.5 days pre-virus, to 9 days today.
In fact, our data is showing that travelers are booking holiday trips earlier than usual this year, with a 38% increase in Thanksgiving reservations and a 40% increase in reservations for Christmas compared to this time last year. Google Trends data also shows that the popularity of the phrase “when can I travel” has tripled over the past 90 days, and grown exponentially compared to the same time last year, suggesting that individuals are dreaming of future trips.
To see the impact COVID-19 has had on short-term rentals in March and April of this year specifically, take a look at our infographic here.
Positioned for recovery
It’s not far-fetched to assume that the short-term rental community is well-positioned for a quick recovery compared to others in the industry. I predict that travellers will increasingly opt for private rentals rather than a traditional hotel stay to avoid condensed common areas like shared lobbies and elevators in order to achieve less human interaction and more personal space.
In fact, to limit face-to-face interactions, we are seeing hosts using this time to implement technologies that limit human contact. This includes tools that can power keyless check-in like RemoteLock, as well as tapping solutions such as Breezeway that can help hosts manage their cleaning staff remotely.
The path forward
It will be at least a year until things return to normal, but I’m confident that the innovative short-term rental ecosystem will be able to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever before.