AirDNA: US short-term rental industry thrived in record year in 2021

US: The December review released by short-term rental data and analytics provider, AirDNA, shows that 2021 was the best ever year for short-term rentals in the United States, ending well despite a slight dip in the demand growth from 2019 in December [+12.9 per cent vs. +14.3 per cent in November], as the Omicron variant made headlines.

After a slow start to the year, new bookings surged in March to reach record occupancy for the rest of the year. In 2021, short-term rental nights jumped to 22.5 per cent over 2020 levels, with occupancy rates reaching an all-time high of 60.8 per cent, though AirDNA expects this to reduce in 2022 as more supply enters the market and booking patterns begin to normalise towards pre-pandemic seasonality patterns, alongside the re-emergence of overseas travel.

AirDNA CEO Scott Shatford said: “Although the industry has had a blockbuster year, new investment is still lagging behind demand. There has been high investment in small- and mid-size cities, following the increased demand, but available listing counts overall are still 9.4 per cent below 2019.”

December ends strongly despite Omicron threat 

With the breaking news of a new variant disrupting travel plans, the week of Christmas ended with eight per cent less demand than in 2019, despite pacing four per cent higher as of the end of November; though the final week of the year brought in solid demand, 36 per cent higher than in 2019.

Small cities and destination markets maintained high demand levels [30-60 per cent above 2019], and unlike in 2020, guests took to the skies for their holiday trips this year, with four Hawaiian islands taking the top spots in terms of occupancy.

Outlook promising for another record year

Booked nights for the first quarter are pacing 72 per cent higher than a year ago and 17 per cent above the same point in 2019. Ski resorts are the big winners: Aspen and Vail, Colorado, and Park City, Utah, all have more than double the number of bookings they had at the same point last year.

AirDNA VP of research, Jamie Lane, said: “All eyes are on the industry to see if 2022 can keep up the momentum, but as of January, the signs are good for a strong year, backed by continued economic growth and consumer confidence.”