As the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out across the country, pandemic travel and vacation rental restrictions were loosened and the industry braced for Spring Break. However, even with pent-up demand and looser regulations, there was no guarantee that the spring break season would return to, or exceed, past performance. We compared 2021 to 2019 data for a few popular vacation destinations spanning the United States to see just how these markets performed - a little over a year after the pandemic began.
Adjusted Paid Occupancy is the percentage of guest nights booked out of the total number of guest nights available. From March 13th through April 16th 2021, the United States as a whole saw roughly an 18% increase in APO over the same date range in 2019. Of the markets we analyzed here, beach locations such as Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; St. Augustine, Florida; and the Texas Gulf Coast all out-performed 2019 by 26%. Mountain getaways like the North Georgia Mountains; Sevier County, Tennessee; and Western North Carolina saw increases over 2019 as well, by 32%, 22% and 22%, respectively. Ski destinations such as Breckenridge, Colorado; Lake Tahoe, California; and Park City, Utah also performed admirably - increasing their APO by an average of 23%. The lowest increases over 2019 figures were those in condo-heavy markets - like Park City and Breckenridge. Over the past six months, bookings for houses have increased 40% over 2019, where condo bookings have increased about 30% over 2019. This could indicate that although people may feel safe enough to travel, they still are weary of sharing spaces with other guests.
Average Daily Rate (ADR) is the average rate at which properties are booked during the period. From mid-March through mid-April, the ADR for all of the markets above increased over 2019. Factoring in increased demand, it is no surprise that rates increased and ADR reflects that. The markets with some of the lowest rates in 2019 - North Georgia Mountains, Sevier County, TN and Lake Tahoe, CA - all experienced the greatest year-over-year growth.
RevPAR takes into account both ADR and Occupancy, making it arguably one of the most critical KPIs for performance. And, with increased paid occupancy and rates for these markets, revenue followed suit. Of the markets we reviewed, the Ski Markets saw the highest increase in RevPAR over 2019; averaging a 108% increase for the Spring Break period - equating roughly a $2,600 increase in revenue. Other notable increases include the North Georgia Mountains (+149%) and the Texas Gulf Coast (+141%).
Overall, Spring Break 2021 was a welcome rush for most property management companies who saw a decline in occupancy and revenue in 2020. With the goal of maximizing revenue, lots of Property Managers were able to take advantage of the high demand in early 2021 with increased rates and revenue.