Be it for hosts, property managers, or platforms, liquidity and survival are some of the most pressing issues for the short-term rentals industry. This has become ever more obvious during the pandemic.
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the short-term rental industry experienced a loss of jobs, a shift in business operations and priorities, a halt in investments, and a shutdown of initiatives. Along with many other businesses, the short-term rental industry saw highs and lows throughout the pandemic. And the crisis is far from over.
There is good news, though. With vaccination efforts growing daily, countries slowly reopening their borders, and travellers itching to get out of town, the light at the end of the tunnel appears to be drawing nearer.
The short-term rental industry is only just beginning its recovery, but what will the future of short-term rentals look like after the pandemic is over?
Even with more than 1.5 billion (at the time of writing) people vaccinated across the globe, the travel industry can’t go back to ‘business as usual’ quite so soon. Many countries will still be coming in, and out of lockdowns, many people will have to wait for more doses of vaccines to be produced before they can get vaccinated; many will even be scared to travel.
But the travel industry must find ways to survive.
With many hotels and borders being shut, business travellers, digital nomads, and students are increasingly driving the demand for longer stays. As a result, online travel agencies like Booking.com, Airbnb, Sonder, and many others have launched extended stays.
Weekly and monthly rate plans are now available through these platforms, depending on the operator and location.
“The reality is, in today’s travel landscape accommodation providers should explore every growing segment possible in order to fill rooms. The rise in long-stay demand offers partners an opportunity to reach and capture new markets – such as domestic vacationers, families, remote workers and expatriates, to name a few – while boosting occupancy and increasing revenue,” explained Booking.com’s commercial director Gianbattista Vespucci.
“Along with helping partners secure revenue for a longer horizon, long-staying guests can defray labour costs associated with constant room turnover and decrease operational hassle. From reservation management and check-ins to cleaning, operations are a big part of guest management. With long-stay guests, that operational pressure is decreased while maintaining occupancy,” he added.
Space and Privacy
Though these concepts aren’t new by any means, the COVID-19 pandemic did highlight their importance. Many travellers are now more than ever prioritizing their privacy, space, and self-service.
Travellers will pick entire apartments versus room sharing, and they will pick homes in rural areas away from any crowds and noise pollution. With the rise of remote workers, an increasing number of people are moving out of expensive urban areas and relocating to quieter and cheaper rural homes. As long as there is an ergonomic chair, a good internet connection, and enough electric outlets, there is a higher chance that a flock of remote workers will want to stay in a rural home.
To Sum Up
One of the long-lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will most likely be remote work. Many companies, including giants like Microsoft, have already launched permanent remote work opportunities.
This trend led to the rise of ‘digital nomads’. Reportedly, in the US alone, the number of digital nomads has grown from 7.3 million in 2019 to 10.9 million in 2020. And who knows how many more have joined the force since then.
Remote workers and digital nomads are good news for short-term rental operators, as they created a new market for the nomadic lifestyle and slow travel.