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Short-Term Rentals May See a Strong Holiday Season -- Should You Start Prepping Now?


[Updated: Apr 27, 2020 ] Apr 27, 2020 by Aly J. Yale
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The short-term rental market isn't looking so hot right now. In fact, with all the layoffs and cutbacks going on, it's more like downright dreary.

Still, it's not a time for vacation rental owners to rest on their laurels. According to new data, a busy back-end of the year is in the cards, and it's probably a good time to start gearing up if you want to capitalize on it.

Winter is coming

Here's the gist of it: Booking data from short-term rental management platform Guesty is showing "early signs of recovery over the fall/winter holidays," according to a rep.

In fact, Guesty is seeing a year-over-year 40% uptick in Christmas bookings across Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com, and more. There are 38% more Thanksgiving bookings than this time last year, too, and even New Year's Eve has seen a jump, with a 23% increase over the year.

Overall, in the first four months of 2020, there's been a 53% increase in reservations for September to December compared to the same period last year.

"These numbers point to positive signs that travel will strongly pick back up this year," Guesty's report reads.

Throw in that recent Google data shows a huge spike in "when can I travel" searches, and that's even more room for optimism.

Looking ahead

As if that's not good news enough, there's yet another cause for celebration: Guesty's experts actually predict the short-term rental (STR) market will recover faster than other travel options after the current health crisis subsides.

"The STR ecosystem is well-positioned to recover more quickly than hotels as travelers seek private, personalized accommodation rather than traditional hotel stays where several guests are all in one building," the report reads.

But property owners will need to be prepared.

Many are already cleaning their properties according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) instructions, and down the line, travelers may demand some sort of guarantee that rentals are COVID-19-free. You also may need to adjust your property's capacity or even limit bookings to allow more time for sanitizing and cleaning.

The bottom line

While the latest headlines around short-term rentals have been less than ideal, it's not all doom and gloom if you own an STR yourself. Use this time to improve your property, brush up on your marketing chops, or leverage your property in one of these alternative ways. A few months down the road, things might look very different.

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