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U.S. Short-Term-Rental Bookings Still Soaring Despite Delta

snowboarder mountain waving view vacation rental winter

It’s been a heck of a year for U.S. travel so far. First there were January and February’s post-holidays COVID surges. Then U.S. vaccination distribution turned things around, and led to lifted travel and activity restrictions. But new freedoms led to another uptick in cases…just as the Delta variant reared its highly transmissible head. 

Two recent short-term-rental industry reports show record-high vacation-rental bookings for July 2021, despite the restrictions rollercoaster and the rise of the Delta variant. And that trend looks on track to continue through at least summer 2022.

The Brightest Spots In Late 2021’s Short-Term-Rental Bookings Outlook

Labor Day

  • Nightly prices for Labor Day weekend bookings are higher than July 4th weekend prices.
  • Those rates are also 29% higher than Labor Day 2020, and more than 50% higher than 2019.
  • Labor Day reservations are up a full 89% over last year.

Thanksgiving & Christmas

  • Thanksgiving reservation volume is, perhaps expectedly, up 81% over last year. But it’s also up 26% over 2019.
  • The average nightly rate for Thanksgiving holiday STR stays is a sky-high $436.
  • Christmas short-term-rental reservations are up 81% over 2019.
  • Vacation rentals are commanding an average nightly rate of $602 for Christmas-season stays, compared to $331 in 2019.

Summer 2022

  • Reservation volume is already up 6% over this summer and expected to grow significantly.
  • Booking lead times are increasing steadily, as travelers anticipate better times ahead, and want to have plans secured.
vacation house mountain cabin rental window trees view sunshine

Why Short-Term Rentals Continue To Draw Travelers In Droves, Despite Delta

Short-term rentals offer many advantages over more conventional accommodations. These include privacy, flexibility, regional variety and a true contact-less experience (automated check-ins and check-outs, no intermingling with other guests, no valet parking, etc). As families travel together, and vaccinated or COVID-tested friends gather in groups for much-needed R&R, STR occupancy and rates are expected to remain strong.

But there are still some lurking threats to rental profitability for vacation-rental owners and property managers. Avoid holiday-season in-stay problems and protect your property and profits by taking proactive steps.

young guests dinner party vacation rental

How To Protect Your Vacation-Rental Property And Profits During The Holiday Season

Vet guests thoroughly before accepting bookings. The best way to deal with problem guests is to screen them out before they ever set foot on your property. Start with a good set of “house rules” in your rental listing to deter troublemakers right from the get-go. You should also look at potential renters’ guest reviews (how many and how good). For guest vetting at scale, consider using a service like Autohost, which uses literally hundreds of data points to screen guests, along with a comprehensive pre-check-in verification process.

Keep your space clean and your guests safe. Sanitation, cleanliness and contact-free messaging all top guests’ priority lists for holiday travel this year. To maximize occupancy, and avoid down nights and service callbacks, automate your property services scheduling, QA and messaging. Services automation platform Breezeway does all this through a simple dashboard, and offers inspections and certifications, too, for maximum guest reassurance.

Protect your property against noise complaints and damage. Pre-stay guest vetting is paramount to avoiding problems. But what about once guests are in-stay? Even the best guest groups can get loud and rowdy, especially during the holiday season. Avoid neighbor complaints, law enforcement intervention and costly ordinance-violation fines by managing vacation-rental noise remotely. NoiseAware’s privacy-safe noise measurement solution lets you keep track of decibel levels and notify guests gently and discreetly if things get too loud. In nearly 80% of cases, noise problems are resolved with this one simple notification, preventing potential property damage and avoiding neighbor issues. Which means you, your owners and your properties’ neighbors can enjoy the holiday season in peace…and prosperity.

Natasha Garber covers short-term-rental industry trends, news, regulations and compliance for NoiseAware. Her posts on STR property management technology, privacy-safe noise monitoring, and licensing laws can be found weekly on the NoiseAware blog.