Vacation rentals had an up-and-down trend last year. Bookings slowed down considerably during the pandemic, no thanks to travel restrictions and lockdown.
Countless industries, especially the vacation rental industry, severely suffered the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While they later picked up towards the end of the year, bookings haven’t returned to normal.
Travel bans and restrictions on international flights meant that stakeholders had to look for an alternative solution.
Interest in remote and rural properties increased. Travelers sought places where they could isolate and apply social distancing rather than party.
You can read up on what we wrote about best short term rental markets here.
While some of these trends continued to 2021, the vacation rental industry is set to witness new trends with the vaccine being distributed and normalcy returning to most countries.
Continue reading to discover the latest Current Trends in the Best Vacation Rental Markets
2021 Trends to Expect
Once vaccine distribution has been successful, people will indeed resume traveling. However, that isn’t a guarantee that things will go back to normal.
Here are what we predict will happen in the hottest short-term rental markets this year.
More Spacious Bookings
People are opting for pod travel this year. Families would pick one or two households to travel with, isolate and lean on each other for socialization, support, and schooling while maintaining social distance from the rest of the community.
They might probably travel together, requiring bigger properties, which means that this new occurrence favors single-family rental properties.
This trend is projected to remain till the end of this year, and according to experts, these single-family properties will outperform other segments this year.
If you’re considering a new investment, remember this when choosing a property.
Increase in Domestic Travel
There was an increase in domestic travel towards the end of 2020, which has continued to date. Therefore, ensure that your short-term rental appeals to domestic travelers this year.
Consider making your vacation rental pet-friendly and family-friendly, including providing a comfortable workspace.
Domestic travelers often book longer stays and prefer entertainment and streaming services, so ensure to update your amenities.
With this, you’ll stand out from your competitors, and your rental property will be suitable for any family, including ones with members that work from home.
People learned to work from home in 2020, and to date, employers have become comfortable with this development, causing the digital nomad trend to happen very fast.
This trend has continued to this year, and many workers are giving up their urban homes to stay in short-term rentals in small cities for close to three months at a time.
These travelers are always looking for neat vacation homes with comfortable workspaces, fast internet, and a strong Wi-Fi connection.
Preference for Rural and Coastal Destinations
While the world is still undergoing vaccination and things are starting to return to normal, it might take a while before people can comfortably go on international trips like before.
Therefore, the demand for drive-to, local best vacation rental markets in 2021 is still high. Those countries that had banned international flights will witness a rise in their local destinations.
According to a report by Vrbo, 61 percent of families in the US said they’d love to visit an outdoorsy location rather than a vacation in the city.
Travelers will still prefer lesser-known destinations while the vaccination process is ongoing to avoid crowds.
Online searches for vacation destinations in coastal areas increased considerably in the last months of 2020. As such, beach vacations will become more prevalent in 2021.
More Flexibility, More Bookings
Reservations at vacation rentals are still on a -60 percent deficit in the EU and -40 percent deficit in the US.
This trend is likely to continue unless airline demand increases. The lockdown as a result of the pandemic weakened international flight demand and made the local market unstable.
As a result, leisure markets and urban hubs with major international demand are still feeling its impact.
The solution is to embrace forward-looking data insights and get ahead of the volatile demand curve.
Self check-in, instant book, and a flexible cancellation policy will increase your bookings.
With the current development, showing flexibility isn’t mistaken for a sign of weakness. It means you’re proactive.
While last-minute bookings might have made you suspicious in the past, more travelers are increasingly using that option.
Lack of Seasonality
Before the pandemic, you can easily predict when bookings would slow down or pick up.
But now that some kids are schooling from home and people are also mainly working from home, seasonality has disappeared.
As a result, most people opt to travel during off-peak days of the week and times of the year.
A study by AirBnB disclosed that 25 percent of travelers are going for off-peak seasons due to remote schooling and work.
The best vacation rental markets 2021 trends have become less tied to seasons. For instance, ski towns are often popular during winters.
However, bookings have shown that travelers plan to visit these areas until spring this year, especially in Lake Tahoe and Big Bear, California.
Increase in the Use of Operational Tech
One of the best short-term rental markets 2021 trends is the increase in using operational tech.
Any vacation rental that seeks to stand out this year must increase its use of operational technology.
Several SaaS products and technologies are available to help your property management company with booking and marketing.
While the channel marketing solutions and PMS is widely known and adopted by professional property managers, you’ll also need a technology that supports property management operations.
There’s a need to reduce costs, increase efficiency while meeting increasing customer demand for a professional experience.
There are operational technologies like Operto and PointCentral that support safety checks, property automation, cleaning protocols, keyless entry, service optimization, managing team communications, property care, and occupancy monitoring.
While vacation rentals will witness more growth in 2021 than what they experienced last year, note that it won’t be like what you’re used to during pre-pandemic years.
So be flexible, adjust your existing properties to suit new travel trends, such as adding new amenities like strong Wi-Fi connection and entertainment.
Also, be extra careful about where you buy new properties while expanding your portfolio.
The future of the vacation rental industry is looking brighter, with new sectors continuing to mature and new opportunities for business growth opening up in the coming years.
So far, the year 2021 is shaping up to be transformative and interesting as we continue to watch the industry evolve.
Consider checking the best short-term rental websites like The Short Term Shop to stay updated on current industry news.