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May 20, 2020

Short Term Rentals are the answer to post-pandemic travel

Hear me out, vacation rentals are the answer to post-pandemic travel. As states and counties reopen, positivity is in the air and people want to be free! Free of the same 4 walls from two months of quarantine. Industry experts foresee domestic travelers will lift Short Term Rental occupancy throughout summer.

“Approximately 2 out of 3 travelers said they were willing to book and stay in a vacation rental in 2020,” revealed VRBO’s recent research. The same study shows that “24% plan to travel more closely to home than they would have in the past and 29% expect to take more domestic trips — both for convenience and to save on costs.”

This data and the booking increase in some markets make the summer season highly promising. Nevertheless, Short Term Rental hosts should prepare for some changes in the way they host tourists.

Short Term Rentals are the answer - Stratton Hospitality

Guests Visiting Within Driving Distance

The pandemic is shifting the way people are traveling. Tourists are showing a preference for domestic destinations, especially those within a driving distance. The fear of contracting coronavirus during a congested air commute is the main trigger behind this behavior. Whether conscious or subconscious common response from Stratton Hospitality guests is “we just want to get away.”

An example of this is in the State of Tennessee. Short Term Rentals in the Smoky Mountains report bookings compared to last year have increased an average of 75%. Business Intelligence company, Key Data reveals that 17% of guests are state locals while 50% come from nearby states.

A shorter booking window

Unlike previous years, guests have a common tendency to make their reservation closer to their planned travel dates. As stated in VRBO’s survey, at least “45% of guests surveyed reported they lost or they will lose a portion of the price they paid for a vacation”  they had planned when the outbreak occurred. As a result, this is making travelers more reluctant to book in advance. 

Even more so, the reluctance to book in advance is up in the air as they fear they might lose their money since there is always the question that the second wave of coronavirus may rebound.

At the same time, this conservative attitude is a logical response to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic which has reduced American’s expense to levels unseen since the 1980s. When Ronald Reagan in office.

Might interest you – How to get bookings during the reopening

New norms: Flexible cancellation policies and cleanliness

It is well known that cleanliness will be a key feature for travelers in the new normal. At the moment, the best way to fight the virus is by adopting strict cleanliness and hygiene habits, such as handwashing and disinfection of high-touch surfaces.

High-performing listings on cleanliness will be more likely to get more bookings than those who don’t. As a result of COVID-19, 51% of travelers say they will pay more attention to the cleanliness standards of their accommodations prior to booking.

On the other hand, flexible cancellation policies will be the next trend when it comes to Vacation Rentals. According to VRBO “77% of travelers surveyed said they will be more likely to choose accommodations with flexible cancellation policies.”

But WHY are Short Term Rentals the Answer?

Because they are sanitary. That’s it I said it. Let me give you an example: contrary to hotels, Short Term Rentals doesn’t have hundreds of people passing through a shared space like a lobby, a restaurant, or a pool.

On the other hand, Vacation Rentals are most often single occupancy where social distancing is easier and cross-contamination of germs less likely. Another reason why Short Term Rentals are the answer in the post-pandemic travel.

The challenge for the Florida Vacation Rental market

As business reopens and society moves towards the new normality, the forecast for the hospitality industry is positive. Cleanliness and flexible cancellations will be the cornerstone of this new era, and domestic travelers the lifesavers of many local businesses.

Both guests and hosts must prepare for a new scenario where crowded spaces and human interactions will shift to intimate and private experiences. For these and many other reasons, single-family homes are the way to go because of the much more private space, no restrictions on amenities, and plenty of open outdoor activities.


Sebastian Giraldo

Head of Sales and Marketing at Stratton Hospitality

Category: Hospitality
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