Short Term Rental Industry Trends to Watch in 2021

March 1, 2021

In March 2020, Trump declared a National Emergency and a travel ban immediately came into effect. By March 17th, Coronavirus was present in all 50 states, stay-at-home orders began to be enforced and the COVID-19 pandemic changed our world, forever! The negative impacts of the virus were huge but there were some positives to be celebrated. Nature began to reset, air and noise pollution decreased, wildlife roamed the streets, and families reconnected.

The short-term rental industry was hard hit by the pandemic but we too have many positives to celebrate. STRs and vacation rental homes are the popular alternatives to hotels for a safer stay, the industry is seeing record booking levels, new travel trends fall in favor of STRs and innovative tech and software solutions have driven the industry to a higher, more competitive level.

A recent AirDNA Market Review shows that new bookings for US short-term rentals surged to the highest level on record in January 2021 with beach, mountain, and lakeside destinations remaining top of traveler preferences. Further research shows the revenue in the vacation rental industry is expected to show an annual growth rate of 10.55% reaching a projected $13,324m in 2021. Travel is a necessity, even more so after the pandemic!

Here are some of the top positive industry trends to watch (and implement) in 2021:

Technology Leads the Way!

Technology plays a major role in our day-to-day lives, and even more so since the onset of COVID-19. The pandemic has given rise to an accelerated technological revolution, speeding up the adoption of digital technologies by several years. New travel tech start-ups and solutions are emerging daily and in order to meet changing traveler trends and higher guest expectations, property managers are jumping on the bandwagon at an unprecedented pace and implementing change quicker than they thought possible. Vacation rental software solutions and technology tools allow PMs to save valuable time, cut unnecessary costs, boost revenue, meet higher guest demands, and deliver a professional personalized experience to your guests. Streamline your processes from booking to check-out, and beyond! From PMS, property care and operations, channel marketing, and team communications to COVID-19 screening, noise sensors, and smart pricing, technology leads the way!

Contactless & Seamless Stays

Gone are the days of a personal meet and greet and one on one interaction with your guests during their stay. Guests are seeking a safe, secure contactless stay and these innovative tech solutions make it easy to automate and optimize the entire guest experience! From Keyless entry tools, self-check-in, and smart home automation to digital guide books, app-based self-guided tours, and a virtual concierge, ensuring your guests a contactless and seamless stay with limited interaction is the way forward. The benefits of automation in the vacation rental industry are huge and this is a trend that will continue to evolve.

Boutique Style Short Term Rentals

The isolated nature of vacation rentals has put them in first place as the preferred lodging choice for families, corporates, and the majority of travelers seeking a socially distant stay. Travelers are in search of the convenience of a home away from home with high-touch modern amenities, fast connectivity, fun activities for the whole family, and easy social distancing. Hospitality start-ups are entering the market with apartment-hotels and boutique-style vacation rentals boasting modern hotel-standard amenities for short-term and extended stays. Are your properties primed to meet guest expectations and place well in our fast-growing, increasingly competitive market?

Stay at Home, Away From Home

With remote working and homeschooling the new norm in families and households across the globe, we’ve all got used to staying at home. These new norms have blurred the lines between work and travel, business and leisure, peak and off-peak travel, and short-term vs. long-term stays. An increased flexibility allows for travel in off-peak times and gives travelers the freedom to work, school and travel simultaneously, creating a lack of seasonality. Digital nomads, families, and business travelers are choosing to vacation close to home and easy-drive to destinations to stay home, away from home, with the increased potential of an extended stay.

Quality is Key!

Quality and cleanliness are key for most property managers! The Coronavirus shook our industry with not only countless cancellations but new cleaning and sanitizing protocols, improved industry standards, and an enhanced (and expected) level of professionalism. The vacation rental industry had to raise the bar overnight and implement immediate change to ensure their homes were clean, sanitized and a safe stay for guests. Traveler confidence is on the rise, however, a clean and safe stay will remain a top priority for guests for a long time to come.

The future of the vacation rental industry is bright and we are seeing new properties entering the market on a daily basis. The industry trends that have emerged as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic are positive and are likely set to stay,  so embracing new opportunities for growth and remaining competitive is crucial for success in the short-term rental industry.