Vacation rental industry news has been a rollercoaster ride for the past 12 months.
This time last year, travel news updates were focused on shutdowns and ever-evolving safety measures. Now, though, the cycle has a decidedly more encouraging demeanor. Check out a quick springtime roundup of vacation rental industry news below:
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 property managers and rental owners have a reliable compass to follow.
1. OTA travelers: Online travel sites 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 doing 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 of course, reviews. Speaking of 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 certain demographics became extra tricky during the pandemic as the industry collectively wondered, “Who the heck is traveling?” New data not only reveals the answer to that question, but also notable shopping tendencies. 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 to work or study from a different location. Lodging providers who utilize promotions and merchandising opportunities will certainly get a leg up on their competition while effectively targeting the proper travel audience.
In the last week of March, the New York Times published an article about the ongoing travel boom happening around the U.S. According to their research, domestic bookings increased 58% this past March compared to March 2019, and online search and booking activity for summer travel was already breaking records.
The Times also encouraged prospective travelers to book trips sooner rather than later, since prices are bound to elevate and lenient booking policies that became a staple during the pandemic might fall to the wayside. On the flipside of that forecast, it seems like a safe bet that lodging providers who remain savvy about their policies and promotions can rack up bookings while also catching shoppers who fall through the cracks of this initial rush.
VRBO’s recently released annual travel report revealed some telling numbers:
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:
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 money than they traditionally would, and more than half of them say they are more likely to take a bucket list trip—which, by the way, falls directly in line with who’s expected to travel the most in 2021.