Booking Activity varies by Market as Wildfires Continue to burn

August 27, 2020

June to August is considered peak season for wildfires in the United States. Both Napa County, California and Pitkin County, Colorado currently have wildfires burning due to lightning strikes. However, each county is seeing different changes in booking activity. Napa County’s Hennessey Fire broke out on August 17th and since then rentals in the county have received about 72% fewer rentals than over the same period last year. Pitkin County, near the Grizzly Creek Fire that broke out on August 10th, has averaged more guest reservations than last year by about 19%.  

Some of the difference in the response of potential renters between the two markets can be attributed to booking seasons. Pitkin County, being a major winter destination, is about to enter a peak season. The average booking window, or the time between reservation and stay, for December 2020 - February 2021 is about 198 days; meaning people have already started to book their winter vacations. Napa County, a major spring and summer destination, is just coming out of it’s busiest season. 

The locations and sizes of these fires also impacts the public’s reaction. Since the Hennessey Fire broke out in Napa County, roughly 303,000 acres have burned and evacuation orders are still in place. With a population of 137,000, Napa County is more populous than Pitkin County, which has roughly 18,000 residents. Additionally, Pitkin County has not yet been touched by the Grizzly Creek Fire, which has burned roughly 32,000 acres. As of August 26, The Hennessey Fire in California is 33% contained, and the Grizzly Creek fire in Colorado is 61% contained. 

These two counties demonstrate the difficulty of anticipating the impacts of natural disasters on vacation rental activities due to factors such as peak seasons, booking activities, and local population densities. Natural disasters, whether hurricanes, flooding, or wildfires, impact the vacation rental industry every year in ways that are often unpredictable. Our hearts are with our partners who have to face these challenges.

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