September was an exciting month for the Abode Worldwide team as we attended our first industry events since the pandemic, kicking off with the inaugural Short Stay Summit.
It was fantastic to hear industry veterans and emerging startups – our clients among them – discuss the current state of play and the future of the short-term rental sector. The quality of the conversations and debate really showed the energy of the industry and how it has gone from strength to strength in recent years.
Across the Summit and months of virtual events and webinars, several themes continue to be revisited again and again. Here we take stock of the questions the short term rental industry is asking of itself right now and what the Abode Worldwide team most want to know:
1. Is there going to be another record-breaking summer?
It seems universally agreed that the summer of 2021 was the busiest ever for short-term rental operators, especially in desirable holiday destinations worldwide. A whole new pool of customers experienced short term rentals for the first time, drawn in from marketing campaigns launched by major OTAs and the promise of a private, covid-secure guest experience.
Now we are all looking forward to whether 2022 will surpass this record or not. Much depends on whether crossing international borders will become easier. It also rests to some extent on the ability of the workforce to continue ‘working from anywhere’ as offices now open up, as this was a key driver in the popularity of short-term rental accommodation when lockdowns were the status quo.
We want to know how many new customers have converted to travelling in short-term rentals and whether repeat guests will be booking even earlier for next year after learning from the surge in demand in 2020 and 2021. Perhaps the most challenging question is whether lack of inventory will be the biggest obstacle to the sector growing too.
2. How big will the direct booking trend be?
Direct booking has long been discussed in the sector and even has its own dedicated conference, the Book Direct Show, which also took place last month. Recently, there has been a huge leap in this trend – recent data from our client Hostaway shows that direct bookings accounted for 4% of transactions through their software in July 2019, increasing to 11% in 2020 and now 18% in 2021.
Will the confidence of the sector over the past two years empower more property managers and owners to market their inventory directly to consumers? Will the tools and software currently at their disposal mature and further enable this trend?
At the heart of the conversation around direct booking is also how the ever-evolving dynamic between Airbnb, Booking.com and Vrbo, and the rise of new platforms, such as Homes & Villas by Marriott International, and small, niche OTAs, will play out in the near future. Their offering will no doubt have an important impact on how attractive direct booking is to property operators in future.
3. Will regulations be the biggest threat facing the industry?
Regulations have long been a dark cloud on the horizon for the short-term rental market. Only earlier this month, the EU announced that it was consulting on regulating the sector across the bloc, after Paris introduced restrictions on the use of properties in February to combat housing shortages.
With the increased exposure the industry has had these past two years, it seems likely that it will be under much tighter scrutiny in future. Will new regulations diminish inventory levels globally or locally? And if so, how much will this be counterbalanced by new properties becoming short-term rentals as a result of that greater awareness we mentioned earlier?
About Laura Bolton
Laura is a PR Account Manager at Abode Worldwide, a B2B public relations agency and consultancy. Laura works with clients who create technology solutions operating within the short-term rental, hotel and real estate ecosystems, bringing her consumer PR experience in the travel industry to the team at Abode.
About Abode Worldwide
Abode Worldwide, is an award-winning B2B public relations consultancy and agency focused on raising the profile of transformative technology solutions operating within the global short-term rental, hotel and real estate ecosystems. The agency sits at the heart of the developing intersection between work, life and play in the property and hospitality markets and partners with technology solutions playing a lead role in this transformation.