Post-Covid Travel Trends: Traveler Behavior Has Changed—Here’s How Vacation Rental Property Managers Can Stay Competitive.

As traveler behavior evolves in the post-pandemic world, adapting to the changes is essential to the long-term success of vacation rental property managers. Here are five key trends to watch, along with ways to leverage them to capture more bookings.

Post-Covid travel trends are still evolving


Post-Covid Travel Trend #1: More Travelers Are Opting for Vacation Rentals

After flying below the radar for decades, the vacation rental sector has finally hit mainstream. As more travelers opt for the value and convenience of short-term rentals, major travel platforms like Expedia,, and Google are giving private rentals equal billing with hotels in search results. By the end of April this year, Airbnb already had 30% more nights booked for the summer season compared to the same period in 2019. 


And yet continued growth is far from guaranteed. With Covid-19 concerns easing, traveler preferences are shifting back to hotels. Inflation is driving up the costs of travel, and a recession could cause a sharp pullback in spending. Meanwhile, new competitors are snapping at our heels. 


What Can Vacation Rental Property Managers Do? 

In any market conditions, the key to growth is to diversify distribution. That means maximizing your reach by balancing a direct booking strategy with a multi-channel distribution strategy. This includes listing not only on the top OTAs but also on their affiliates, regional OTAs, private membership and loyalty clubs, and dedicated vacation rental sites like Vrbo, Airbnb, and FlipKey.



Post-Covid Travel Trend #2: Travelers Are Spending More and Staying Longer

Having banked holiday time and savings during the pandemic, people are ready to splurge. This year, 86% of travelers anticipate spending more or the same amount of money on travel compared to before the pandemic, according to a global survey from American Express Travel. They are staying longer too. So far this year, the average length of stay in vacation rentals is up 12% compared to 2019. 


What Can Property Managers Do? 

A dynamic pricing strategy will help you capture those lucrative long-stay bookings and ensure you are optimally priced for any length of stay at any time of year. This means paying close attention to market demand, booking pace, and competitor activity and regularly adjusting pricing and stay restrictions to reflect market conditions. 


post-covid travel trends

Source: Transparent Intelligence



Post-Covid Travel Trend #3: More International Travelers Are Coming 

Until now, domestic travel has led the recovery, but with our borders reopened and Covid-19 testing mandates lifted, international travelers are flooding back into the US. International tourism increased by 182% in the first quarter of 2022 over Q1 2021, according to the UNWTO


Many of these travelers are families. The Amex survey found that this year 70% of parents are planning to take their first international trip with their children since prior to the pandemic.


What Can Property Managers Do? 

After primarily hosting Americans during the pandemic, property managers must once again pivot to international travelers. Many of these travelers prefer to book on the OTAs they know and trust and will often book packages. This provides further support for a multi-channel strategy, in addition to optimizing listings to appeal to foreign travelers and participating in OTA promotions that bundle flights, car rentals, and accommodation.


International family travel is on the rise


Post-Covid Travel TrendTrend #4: More Business Travelers Are Booking Vacation Rentals

The remote working trend presents an enormous opportunity for vacation rentals. As more companies offer flexible work policies, more workers are relocating to sunnier climes and urban settings to check in to short-term rentals for extended workcations. 


And it’s not just remote workers. A recent survey from Phocuswright found that more than half of US companies now allow short-term rentals in their travel policy—double the share in 2017.


What Can Property Managers Do? 

Business travelers have different needs and expectations from leisure travelers. At the top of the list are fast, reliable Wi-Fi and quiet, comfortable workspaces. Extra space and leisure activities are important too, as many remote workers travel with families and pets. 


Corporate travelers have different stay patterns too, ramping up travel in the fall just as leisure travel is slowing down. They also are 50% less likely to cancel and 60% more likely to become repeat customers, according to To take advantage of the sharp rebound expected this year, property managers should distribute inventory on popular business travel channels like Egencia and American Express Travel and optimize listings to highlight business-friendly amenities. 



post-covid travel trends

Source: STR

Post-Covid Travel Trend #5: More Travelers Are Booking Last-minute—and They Still Want Flexibility 

Covid-19 and staffing shortages continue to disrupt travel, and many travelers insist on flexibility to change dates or cancel bookings if plans change. If

not, they will book elsewhere or wait until the last minute. According to STR, “A preference for flexibility may be an enduring outcome of the pandemic as consumers, some who were perhaps short-changed due to travel disruption and cancellations during the pandemic, seek an extra layer of protection.”


What Can Property Managers Do?

While cancellation policies and stay restrictions are designed to protect you, they may do more harm than good if they scare high-value customers away. More flexibility may be in order—after all, you can always charge a premium. In a recent STR survey, about 60% of respondents said they would be willing to pay for flexibility with their accommodation booking. Besides, with so much last-minute travel these days, it’s much easier to replace cancelled reservations.




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Fast-tracking Growth with Technology

In such a complex, dynamic marketplace, it’s impossible for property managers to do everything efficiently without the help of technology and automation. This is especially true in this time of labor shortages. A full-service channel management platform will enable you to list on multiple distribution channels and manage listings, pricing, and availability from one centralized platform, all the while providing 24/7 customer support.

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