Vacation rental companies such as Airbnb and HomeToGo have providing people with the alternative to virtually work from anywhere and travel for a long time. Unlike hotels, their business was faster to recover as people, taking advantage of rapid spread of work from home culture began booking apartments for longer stays or workations at idyllic spots around the world.
With progress of vaccination, this trend has gathered pace further since July have as Airbnb reports that more than 20 pc of the bookings were for a month or more. It says that in more than 200 locations over the world, more than 100,000 people have been living for the past three months or more. With the United States lifting travel restrictions from November 8, bookings on Airbnb spiked by 44 pc.
The extended periods of lockdowns have also kept people away from their loved ones. And holidays are the one part of the year when everyone wants to stay with their families and share a laugh or two. For the Thanksgiving week a surge of 40 pc was reported over bookings than the previous year.
The demand for outbound travel is also expected to rise sharply, and soon. Vacation rental portal, HomeToGo, says it registered a rise of 88 pc for international travel, bringing the number of searches in level with that of 2019. Most people have a bucket list, and travelling to an exotic location can be found on majority of them, it says, adding that the people who are planning to travel in 2022 are making their routine pre-travel arrangements. Tuscany, Bora Bora, Maldives, Croatia, Southern France and Croatia are the hot searches for destination holidays among US travelers as per HomeToGo.
Price is one of the key factors which determines the destination and duration of stay. But forced prolonged stays within four walls and a constant company of mask over mouth and nose has rendered this key factor insignificant, say the vacation rental firms. Travellers are seeking quiet and private getaways for 2022 with a guarantee of privacy. An increase in average searches for luxury holidays was also reported by HomeToGo.
Though the pandemic may have abated in some parts of the world, the vacation rental companies say they are not letting their guard down in terms of safety of the hosts as well as guests. Airbnb says that people acting as hosts for these vacation rentals are very much concerned about their health. To incentivise them, Airbnb has launched ‘Aircover’ that comes with liability insurance of USD 1 million on behalf of the host in case of an injury to the guest, additional USD 1 million for damages caused by guests to their property. It also reimburses them for unexpected cleaning costs and provides a support line with priority routing for them.
Airbnb says that it is already seeing the fruits of its efforts and growing consumer confidence. The company declared a record revenue of USD 2.2 billion in the third quarter of 2021, 36 pc higher than the revenue in same period in 2019, showing a healthy growth over the pre-pandemic levels. Its profits, too, shot to record levels as it posted USD 834 million in the third quarter, nearly quadruple of the corresponding period in 2020. Analysts predict that the compounded annual growth in vacation rentals would be sustained at 3.4 pc from 2020-2027.