2021 Vacation Rentals & Flights – What’s on the books?

ForwardKeys joined forces with the team at Transparent to jointly share the current booking trends each data provider is noticing. And guess what? Many similarities were emphasising how intertwined and dependent the hospitality sector is on government travel restrictions and the rights to fly. Read on for ForwardKeys’ highlights from our review of the current state of 2021 vacation rentals and flights.

2021 Vacation Rentals Bask in the Sun

Despite restrictions stop-start flights, vacation rentals demonstrated resilience in 2020, with supply evolving upwardly since 2018.

“To date, there has been a growth of 3.4 million rooms in the past three years,” says Pierre Becerril, Transparent CEO.  “This is actually equal to the total number of hotel rooms currently available in all of Italy, Germany, France, and Spain – just to put things into perspective about this fast-growing sector of hospitality.” adds Becerril.

Holiday rental providers based in urban centres such as Paris and Madrid, however, have suffered the most. Indeed, the trend in 2020 and now into 2021 is leaning towards leisure destinations. Similarly, ForwardKeys Air Ticketing Data for Q3 and Q4 of 2020 demonstrates this trend towards sunnier, remote destinations such as Heraklion in Crete or Catania, Italy.

Last-minute bookings are the New Normal for Vacation Rentals and Flights in 2021

Further to ForwardKeys reporting, demand does exist but seasonality and forward planning have been ousted by fickle travel announcements. 

“Throughout 2020, we witnessed dramatic spikes of flight searches and instantaneous bookings upon governments re-opening borders or flight corridors. This occurred from the UK to Portugal over the summer and now in China, travellers are booking in less than 4 days for domestic flights.” says Juan Gomez, Analyst at ForwardKeys. 

“We are seeing the same trend in vacation rental reservations, with people booking up to 5 days beforehand,” agrees Becerril. “This makes it harder to prepare, excepting if you are B&B or destination organisation.”

Trends to Watch

With vacation rental bookings so dependent on international flight rulings, there has been a switch of focus geared towards local, regional travel and domestic tourism. 

“Since mid-2020, Mexico has been faring well considering the world status on travel by attracting US travellers over the border,” says Gomez.

 Looking at the most recent Air Ticketing Data for 2021 between January and April, Cancun tops the chart in terms of traveller volumes from the US. 

Adds Becerril: “Indeed, we have also seen an increase in vacation rental guests from the US to Mexico.”

Another trend to keep in mind as the pandemic prolongs is the move towards remote working abroad. Many destinations are trying to tap into this market. For example, markets such as Dubai are offering Digital Nomad Visas. 

“As a consequence of the pandemic we have noticed an increase in mid-term rentals; stays over 30 days,” says Becerril.

So, in short, travel demand is still strong beneath the restrictions. When people can book, it’s typically last-minute to a non-urban destination but for a longer stay. Destinations offering smart initiatives such as free health insurance (Dominican Republic) or Digital Nomad Visas are inviting this demand. Happy days if you are able to tick all those boxes!

Learn more about ForwardKeys Nexus here. Or why not learn how to build your data dashboard for destination marketing with Transparent Intelligence?

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