Domestic tourism to the rescue of vacation rentals

Spain: In this feature article, vacation rental software and channel manager, Avantio, investigates how domestic travel is likely to play a crucial role in the foreseeable future of the vacation rental industry, as operators seek to gain bookings from the ‘new normal’ tourists. 

Despite the heavy blow to the holiday accommodation sector due to the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions, agencies in the sector are already seeing a surge in last-minute bookings for purely domestic summer holidays again.

According to internal data from Avantio, a gradual recovery in the volume of bookings began in June, with an increase of 260 per cent in our main markets of Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and DACH [Austria, Germany and Switzerland] compared to the previous month.

We also saw a 127 per cent increase in the volume of bookings from June to July in the markets mentioned above.

The increase in bookings is mainly due to an influx of domestic tourists, who after months of confinement are seeking to get out and take a break in a safe place with clean-up protocols in place and the possibility of social distancing.

According to our figures, 65 per cent of bookings in Spain are for domestic travel, in France 76 per cent, Portugal 54 per cent, Italy 69 per cent and DACH 81 per cent.

In addition, the domestic tourist is booking mostly in coastal or mountain areas.

For example, we can observe that in Italy the regions of Veneto [36 per cent of share] and Lombardy [18 per cent of share] have the highest number of reservations and the Spanish are leaning towards the Valencian community [35 per cent of share] and Andalusia [20 per cent].

On the other hand, not all holiday rental agencies have had the same positive impact.

Those with properties in urban centres are still struggling to stay afloat because guests prefer properties away from large cities.

Typical urban tourist cities have taken a bigger hit.

For example, the city of Madrid only increased reservations from May to June by 23 per cent and had a drop of 85 per cent compared to the same period last year. Similarly, Paris fell in bookings by 71 per cent, as well as the city of London by 70 per cent per year.

Regarding international bookings received since 1 March and looking at the following issuing countries, UK, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, the United Kingdom leads in volume with 8,111 bookings, followed by Germany with 6,747 and France with 5,653.

It does seem though that the comeback of Covid-19 cases in several European countries is affecting the occupation for the month of August. Incoming bookings through our system show a decline in several countries: Spain 17 per cent, Italy 18 per cent, France 13 per cent.

Despite this, it remains to be seen how the occupancy status evolves for the last month of the high season. However, the figures for the last three months suggest that domestic travel will play an important role in the development of the vacation rental sector this year.

Avantio CEO Manuel Giner said: “We have started off the high season with positive numbers and the vacation rental industry has gained terrain compared to other hospitality establishments, placing it as the first option for domestic tourists this year.”

One thing that is quite clear is that agencies will need to shift their efforts this year and market their properties to the ‘new normal’ tourist, which has a completely new definition of travel and priority for their holidays.

Avantio’s VRMS property management system provides a complete management suite of all the cornerstones of a vacation rental business: PMS, channel manager, vacation rental websites, CRM, payments. It includes a variety of tools and features designed to save time, money and resources. With a fixed monthly fee for the services used with no commissions or annual fees, it all goes in accordance with a vision of collaboration and long-term partnerships.