It’s always been important for vacation rental property managers to keep up with the latest travel industry trends.
These days, though, that’s probably more true than ever.
As the leisure and hospitality industry rolls into summer 2022, there are promising signs that the short-term rental boom that occurred at the height of the pandemic is here to stay. In fact, short-term rentals were so popular during the first few months of 2022 that leading OTAs have actually struggled to keep pace with demand—more on that in a moment.
Recent data supports a sustained surge, too.
According to Expedia’s latest research, search volume around the globe in Q1 increased by 25% quarter-over-quarter led by double-digit growth in North America. And while some metrics still haven’t reached pre-pandemic levels, the post-pandemic forecast is quite sunny for short-term rentals and the vacation industry at large.
Here are a few more summer 2022 travel trends for the vacation rental industry that property managers should keep an eye on.
At a recent earnings call, Expedia Group announced $2.25 billion in total revenue in the first quarter of the year. That number is down 14% compared to Q1 in 2019; however, it’s also an 81% increase from Q1 in 2021. Things are clearly headed in the right direction.
Fizzling pandemic concerns have certainly been a boon for business across the industry. For some time, the staggering popularity of short-term rentals was due in large part to travelers seeking out socially distanced, non-urban getaways. But now that pandemic restrictions have faded, what’s driving such rampant engagement on Expedia and other vacation sites?
According to Skift, a substantial rise in family and group reunions and increased awareness, in general, keep pumping fresh air into the short-term rental balloon. Significant advertising efforts set in motion by Expedia, Vrbo, and other industry leaders have kept vacation rentals planted firmly in the spotlight. For property managers, then, it is absolutely critical to list vacation rentals on multiple sites as audience numbers continue to grow across the major OTAs.
At the end of last year, experts predicted two key travel trends in 2022: a resurgence of big-city travel and lengthier search windows on travel sites. Both predictions, of course, were linked to growing traveler confidence—and both are coming to fruition in a big way leading up to summer 2022.
Searches in the 180+ day search window increased 190% in Q1 of 2022 according to Expedia; the 0- to 21-day search window, meanwhile, decreased 15% quarter over quarter. That is a stark contrast to the last couple of years, which saw spontaneous, last-minute trips dominate the landscape as travelers sought increased flexibility amid pandemic unease.
Along with lengthening search windows on OTAs, cities and urban destinations are benefiting greatly from the waning pandemic concerns. Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago are among Expedia’s top-booked destinations globally, with other major cities such as Los Angeles and Orlando not far behind. Beach vacations stayed hot in Q1, too, as Punta Cana, Honolulu, Miami, and other sandy destinations are dominating the North American travel scene as we head into the summer.
In recent months, major online travel sites have undoubtedly ramped up their marketing efforts in anticipation of the post-pandemic travel wave.
Vrbo, owned by Expedia Group, has led the way.
According to Skift, 50% of Vrbo’s Q1 customers in 2022 were new thanks to all that advertising. Vrbo was also the #1 downloaded app in North America during the first few months of the year, further affirming the company’s large-scale marketing blitz.
Here’s the catch: Vrbo’s sales are so off-the-charts that they are actually running out of vacation rentals.
“We are a little bit supply-constrained,” Peter Kern, Expedia Group vice-chairman and CEO, said during a recent earnings call. “We could certainly move more supply in our most high-demand markets.”
The takeaway here is pretty simple: as summer approaches, Vrbo needs more vacation rental properties to keep up with the ever-growing demand.
Vacation rental property managers who aren’t listing their inventory on Vrbo and other vacation rental distribution channels via a channel manager are missing out on a truly unique opportunity.
VacayHome Connect is proud to be a longstanding distribution partner of Vrbo, Expedia Group, Tripadvisor, and all the other top listing sites. If you’d like to take advantage of the current travel boom, contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your business!