Breckenridge, Colorado [Credit: Michael Steinman on Unsplash]

AirDNA: Arctic blast chills demand for US STRs

US: The latest monthly review of the US short-term rental market by data and analytics provider, AirDNA, found that January was a tough month for the industry, as a combination of extreme cold weather and a relatively severe flu, Covid, and RSV season discouraged travel, leading nights stayed to sit at a measly 1.3 per cent higher than January 2023. 

While supply remained up 10.5 per cent compared to last year, the drop off from December to January was much more extreme, with 73,000 fewer listings than in December, according to AirDNA. This was most drastic in mountain and lake resorts, where the extreme weather may have encouraged more owners to shut up shop earlier than usual.

The January blues had an even greater impact on new bookings for future travel, which dipped below last year for the first time in 21 months [-2.7 per cent]. However, January 2023 was a particularly strong month for new bookings, so it makes for a tough comparison.

The cold snap is evident as AirDNA looked at data by state, as areas from the Northern Plains all the way to Maine saw demand down, while the Southern states did not see a dip. Ski destinations such as Big Bear, California [-18 per cent], Lake Tahoe, Nevada [- seven per cent], and Breckenridge, Colorado [- two per cent] also saw drops as snowpack suffered.

Fortunately, future bookings remain strong, with Spring Break bringing a boost of nearly 13 per cent more nights on the books for March than at the same time last year. In coastal resorts, the shift of Easter from April to March has had an even stronger impact, with the last week of March seeing a boost of 35 per cent more nights on the books than at the same point last year, while April is seeing declines of as much as 27 per cent as Spring Break pushes forward.

Meanwhile, the solar eclipse on 8 April is building great anticipation across the United States, with a huge boost in bookings in smaller cities and rural locations across the country.

AirDNA said that these locations are seeing a 150 per cent boost in booked nights compared to the same time last year, as guests look to stay in smaller towns with less light pollution for a better view. The largest city in the path of the eclipse, Dallas, is seeing an even bigger boost, with 941 per cent more nights on the books for 8 April than at the same point last year.

Read the AirDNA report in full at this link.

Earlier this month, AirDNA released its 2024 Best Places to Invest report, a guide that pinpoints the most promising markets for investment this year, identifying US hotspots where investors can maximise returns.

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