As the winter travel season approaches, the uncertainty of vacation rental performance has returned. Around the United States and Europe, COVID-19 cases are spiking and social distancing regulations are being revived or strengthened. Consumer confidence seems to be falling again, as booking activity has declined in many U.S. states and European countries over the last two weeks.
The charts include weekly data from the week of September 26th to the week of October 17th. The orange bars show the average number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day for that week. The blue line shows the year over year percent change in guest reservations made per active unit.
California, Colorado, and Florida, some of the country’s largest travel states, have had increasing COVID-19 case numbers over the past few weeks. Booking activity slowed last week in those states, and in North Carolina, although it remains higher than last year.
European vacation rental markets, for the most part, never saw the rebound in performance that United States markets did over the summer. Booking activity has remained lower than last year across the continent. Over the past two weeks, booking activity declined even further in France, Italy, and Spain. The United Kingdom was the only country to see a slight increase in booking activity. In each of these countries, more new COVID-19 cases were reported last week than in previous weeks.
The relationship between coronavirus cases and booking activity is complicated. The slowdown in reservations could be connected to the changing weather and the end of the summer travel season. However, decreased booking activity was one of the first signs of the impact of the pandemic on vacation rentals this year. Booking activity was and continues to be very reactive to national announcements and increasing cases. The full impact of the recent surge of the pandemic is yet to be determined, but we will continue to monitor it closely.