New bookings for vacation rentals around the globe on Airbnb and Vrbo numbered 2.08 million on May 17 – the highest level since early March in most markets and up 127% since the lowest levels on April 5.
This latest data from AirDNA found properties in leisure, drive-to destinations such as beaches and ski resorts are seeing the most activity.
Comparing markets, AirDNA says New Zealand had the biggest surge with 465% more bookings last week than in early April. Germany is second with 367% more bookings while the United States, France and Australia are all up around 200%.
With same-state travel resuming across the country, Airbnb’s research shows strong early signs of economic recovery, with intrastate bookings in some regions exceeding those in the same period in 2019.
In just a seven-day period (17 to 23 May), intrastate bookings in NSW jumped 488 per cent month-on-month, following the announcement of easing travel restrictions.
Australia-wide bookings in NSW are already nearing pre-COVID-19 levels, recovering to almost 90 per cent of bookings in the same week last year.
In the United States, rentals near the beaches of Alabama, Georgia, Texas and the Carolinas are seeing the biggest increase in bookings, while in Europe it is cities such as Nice, Marseille and Naples.
In China, Changsha, Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai and Dali are the most popular destinations.
Looking at the dates consumers are booking, AirDNA says summer bookings for short-term rentals are far below their level last year at this time, but by early September the pacing returns close to 2019 levels – and stays there for the final four months of the year.
“The vacation rental industry has been quick to mobilize against the virus, offering mid-term stays, self check-in and stringent cleaning regimens. Guests have clearly returned in kind, confident in the space, safety and comfort that vacation rentals offer over traditional forms of accommodation.”
Despite a nightmarish start to 2020, it seems that the vacation rental industry is poised for a quick turnaround — but it’ll likely emerge looking a bit different than the pre-COVID era.
From longer lengths of stay to shorter booking lead times, the dynamics of demand are now clearly in flux. Plus, given the newfound advantage for leisure destinations and those accessible by car, we’re seeing some dramatic shifts in what’s considered a “good” short-term rental market.
Whatever comes of social distancing protocols, it’s clear that vacation rentals have a leg up on hotels.
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