The rise in domestic guests in US vacation rentals

We chart the inevitable but sustained rise in domestic guests in US vacation rentals in 2022. Where does your market sit? How should it impact your property management?

Once again, this story starts with the Coronavirus Pandemic. Through tight restrictions through lockdown months, international travellers were almost entirely banned from setting foot on US soil. In some states, domestic travel was still permitted, and their vacation rental markets predictably survived solely on domestic holidaymakers, still keen to exert their freedoms. Now the other side of these restrictions, with even the requirement for testing being dropped for international visitors, what do guest demographics look like?

Markets with most significant rise in domestic guests in US vacation rentals

The United States has always had above average domesticity levels – largely down to sheer size and relative isolation as well as geographical diversity. The pandemic kicked this into overdrive however, with domestic guests making up 98% of US vacation rental guests.

So, now restrictions have calmed, have guest origins returned to pre-pandemic levels? The short answer is no; most markets are experiencing a rise in domestic guests in US vacation rentals. Below, we chart the top 10 increases in domesticity from 2019 to 2022 within the top 50 largest US vacation rental markets.

So, Hawaiian and Floridian markets represent the greatest shifts. Honolulu has experienced a huge 42% increase in domestic guests through 2022. In fact, the overall average change in domesticity for our 50 markets is a 7% increase, and none have experienced an increase in international traffic over 2019. You can see where your market falls in the full 2 page table here.

US markets with highest 2022 domesticity

You may have noticed that some markets – New York, with the greatest increase in domestic traffic outside Hawaii and Florida for example – don’t have particularly high ‘base’ levels of domesticity.

Indeed, when we rank our 50 markets by % of domestic guests rather than the increase seen since 2019, the list looks rather different.

Nine of our top ten have registered 99% domestic guests so far in 2022. 50% of the destinations are based in Tennessee or Alabama. All but Santa Rosa Beach (97%) had 98% or higher domestic visits in 2019.

Therefore, this list is fairly comparable with our least significant rise markets.

Least significant rise in domestic guests in US vacation rentals

As mentioned, there is a lot of crossover between the most domestic markets in our top 50, and those with the least significant rise in domestic guests. Those not crossing over (Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Steamboat Springs and Santa Rosa Beach) all also experienced 1% change. There were 4 different markets amongst the lowest changes: Breckenridge CO, Mammoth Lakes CA, Destin FL and Miramar Beach FL – all with 96% or higher domesticity.

Ultimately, those US vacation rental markets with high ‘base’ domesticity of course saw less shift – any markets with high international guest quotas pre-pandemic have seen a big shift in their guest demographics.

What does domesticity mean for property management?

So, what does this shift in domesticity, or guest demographic, mean for property managers?

The main operational consideration when your guest mix changes is that your distribution should shift accordingly. Even our main OTAs (booking platforms) vary greatly in terms of their domestic vs international booking split and also their supply in different geographies. Why not also try smaller, more domestic booking platforms and aim to attract local guests and get more sustainable at the same time? And repeat guests are always worthwhile, with lower costs associated.

Further than that, it’s also worth thinking about your provision. Do you have the right amenities, furnishings etc for your guest demographics? Are you advertising them? Maybe you are attracting more domestic remote workers now and need to provide and shout about your excellent wifi and comfortable desk set up? It’s worth analysing your guest mix and strategizing accordingly.

Why not explore what else data can shed light on? Explore our solutions below or book a demo to get one step closer to a revenue boost…

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