Short term rental trends: Why STR is dominating the travel industry (and why it’s going to stay that way)

Touch Stay lend their expertise on the short term rental trends fuelling the industry in 2021.

The pandemic has changed everything… but most of all, it has changed travel. After a long period of non-movement, the world is slowly opening up again, and tourists are getting excited about booking that long-awaited vacation. 

Yet what tourists want from their vacations has changed.

Now tourists want something authentic, special and memorable. After nearly two years of staying in the same place, people want a holiday that marks a new beginning – something that refreshes the palette. 

And, let’s face it – authentic, real and memorable aren’t words used to describe the average hotel or motel accommodations. Enter: short term rentals

In this article, we’re exploring how short term rental trends are changing, and why.

Short term rental trends: More bookings growth than hotels in 2021

Hotel bookings have taken a hit. 2021 data shows that booked occupancy favours short-term rentals, which average 15% occupancy for the latter part of 2021. This compared with 5% for hotels. 

It’s also clear that short term rental trends have been impacted by the pandemic. Short-term rental summer bookings are currently outperforming Pre-COVID numbers – both in the US and the UK. Many of these stays are even longer than before the pandemic, too. 

Nothing underlines this confidence better than a look at the evolution of ADR in short term rentals globally:

There are plenty of reasons why tourists are choosing to avoid hotels, and as the tourism industry continues to bounce back, this trend leaves the short term rental market in an extremely exciting position. 

Authentic, special and memorable stays

In a pandemic world, tourists want more than just a bed and a nice view. They’re looking for places to stay that form a more crucial part of the whole trip itself. And because domestic travel continues to dominate the tourism sector, destinations are limited. This means the accommodation type is more important than ever. 

Tourists want to stay somewhere that makes their trip feel more wholesome and special - and it’s the 'special’ part of the trip that makes it memorable! To one person that could be an RV van with incredible interior, while to someone else it could be a sleepy cottage with a firepit on the outskirts of a forest. 

What isn't special are magnolia painted walls, generic art prints, and a mini fridge. 

Safety & hygiene in times of Covid 

Safety and hygiene is also a bigger concern than ever in 2021. Covid hasn’t just changed the experiences tourists want from their holidays - it’s also forced everyone to think about hygiene and containment.

Compared with hotels, staying in private accommodation such as short term rental properties limits contact points with other guests and staff; especially if the vacation rental property offers contactless check-ins. 

For nervous tourists who are desperate to get back to travel, yet want to decrease their contact risk, non-hotel accommodation is likely to remain attractive well into the future. 

Making guests feel looked after and special

Over the last decade or so, short term rental hosts have learned to offer something that generic hotels simply can’t, and tourists are hooked on it!

That thing is: personalisation. Adding to what makes a trip “memorable”. This includes everything from welcome notes and gift baskets, to sending personalised text message check-ins. Guests love to feel special. 

At Touch Stay, we know that adding the personal touch is something that keeps guests returning to vacation rentals over and over again, making the holiday process more enjoyable for everyone involved. 

Automated messages from hotels don’t quite have that same feeling. 

Flexibility and great guest communication

Lastly, guests now expect flexibility and flawless guest communication. Luckily for the short term rental market, flexibility is where hotels aren’t able to compete. This means that alternative accommodations are better placed to meet guests’ needs in terms of price, cancellation policies and length of stay.

Guests also want to feel safe and looked after when they travel - now more than ever before. They want to know that any questions and concerns will be answered quickly and efficiently. After all, hosts being responsive and effective with communication makes guests more comfortable, relaxed and altogether happier.

And the short term rental sector is thriving when it comes to investing in good guest communication. 

More and more short term rentals are investing in technology like Touch Stay digital guidebooks - the online guide books that tell guests everything they need to know before, during and after their stay. Since the pandemic started, Touch Stay has more than doubled its user base, showing that short term rental providers understand the importance of guest communication.

What the future holds for short term rental trends 

Covid has changed so much of travel for good, and while hotels will always have their place in travel and tourism, trends suggest that private accommodation is making big leaps forward in terms of guest preference, making it an exciting time to be a vacation rental host. 

We will continue to track short term rental performance on the recovery data tracker to monitor trends and optimize for demand.


About Touch Stay

Touch Stay digital guidebooks are designed to help hospitality professionals better communicate with their guests.

They allow guests to easily access all the information they need - without the clutter of leaflets, print outs and binders. The ROI? Better reviews, fewer guest questions, and more time to run your business. 

About Transparent

In addition to our free global data tracker, you can also try our free Smart Rental dashboard below, or find out if the LITE or PRO dashboards would better optimize your business.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *