Bookings and demand fluctuate for US rentals in February

US: Short-term rental analytics and data provider, AirDNA, has released its latest monthly review, in which it revealed short-term rentals in the United States hit two records in February, seeing both the worst performance for demand and the best month for new bookings ever.

Demand for US short-term rentals fell by 27.5 per cent in February, compared to the same time in 2020. This marked the worst monthly performance since April 2020.

In stark contrast, new US bookings made in February 2021 surpassed last month’s record, which bodes well for performance into 2021’s warmer months.

Jamie Lane, VP of research at AirDNA, said: “Never before have we seen such a large delta between current industry performance and that of new monthly bookings for future travel. It’s the first time since May 2020, we have reported lower demand for all of the location types than the year prior.”

In the 50 largest US cities, demand was down 55 per cent, year-over-year with urban areas realising steeper declines [-60 per cent] than their suburban counterparts [-50 per cent]. The greatest declines in demand were seen in San Jose / Palo Alto, California [-76 per cent], New York, [-75 per cent], and San Francisco [-70 per cent].

The Super Bowl and the beginning of spring break brought limited relief to many Florida markets, which were the least affected US cities, Tampa [-20 per cent], St. Petersburg [-25 per cent], and Jacksonville [-28 per cent].

Optimistic outlook as the short-term rental industry hits another record for new bookings

Based on reservations made as of the beginning of March 2021, March is already 43 per cent occupied and has only nine per cent fewer bookings than as of March 2019 – a significant improvement from January and February. Looking out to the summer, US short-term rentals are pacing at just 11 per cent fewer nights booked for June and July today than they did as of March 2019.

AirDNA CEO Scott Shatford said: “The data highlights the growing optimism around the end of the pandemic and signals to a surge in summer travel now that vaccine distribution is underway and Covid-19 cases are falling.”

As Covid-19 cases rose over the winter months, uncertainty curbed near-term travel plans. Now, with continued stimulus from the U.S. government and recovering employment levels, the short-term rental sector is poised for a strong recovery as expenditure shifts away from goods and back to experiences like travel.