Before reading, check out Part 1 of Key Data’s collaborative article with Breezeway, A look into Fall 2020 Vacation Rental Trends: Part 1.
How have booking windows changed?
The average booking window, or the time between making a reservation and arriving, was much shorter from April through September. As destinations reopened, travelers rushed to book trips that often had arrivals for the very next weekend. This trend continued through the summer, perhaps because travelers were hesitant to plan too far in advance. Many U.S. destinations have had a longer average booking window for October - December stays. In other words, travelers planned fall vacations further in advance. However, if booking activity remains strong, this may even out.
Remote work has soared in popularity as companies continue to promote employee safety. Many students are also attending school remotely. Are you seeing any shift in reservation data that suggests travelers are working or learning from vacation rentals?
It seems that many travelers are taking advantage of these remote work/learning trends and planning fall trips. Many ‘summer’ destinations are experiencing extended peak seasons. A lot of ski destinations are also seeing increased August and September occupancy, which means the gap between their winter and summer peaks will be less extreme.
We’ve also spent a lot of time looking at stay lengths. During April and May, stay lengths rose in most areas. In New England, for example, the average guest stay during April was 27 days longer in 2020 than in 2019, as people looked to escape cities like Boston and New York City. Since then, the average length of stay has been pretty close to last year for most markets. While some families are planning month-long vacations, this is not the norm.
What else would the team at Key Data like to share?
Make sure you have a great data provider. Now more than ever, you need to be in touch with market trends so you can react accordingly. And, as we’ve discussed, those trends vary greatly by destination. As an example, the average daily rate for some destinations has not increased to the same extent as the paid occupancy rate for this fall so you may be leaving money on the table by not responding to higher demand with increased rates. Also, bedroom size and unit type have also been very important to year-over-year performance so be sure to treat different segments of your inventory appropriately. Having insight into your own company and your market’s data makes decision-making easier and better.