Japan [Unsplash]

Asian vacation rental bookings surge 84 per cent in a year

Asia: Asian vacation rental bookings have shot up by 84 per cent on 2022 pacing levels, according to global travel media startup Trip101, which curates the best recommendations for short-term rentals and a host of other lodging verticals.

At the same time, Trip101 revealed that bookings in Asian countries were experiencing lengthening stays, with the average length of stay rising by a sizeable 20 per cent compared to figures seen pre-pandemic in 2019. Collected over the past four years, the data highlights not only the surge in popularity for vacation rentals in Asia, but also the scope for further growth as predicted.

Discussing this surge in popularity, Trip101 wrote: “Unlike traditional hotels, vacation rentals offer a unique blend of comfort, privacy, and local experiences. Travellers are increasingly seeking immersive experiences, and vacation rentals seem to address that demand. They allow guests to live like locals, explore hidden gems, and savour the authentic culture of their destination.”

This length of stay phenomenon is not unique to Asian countries, with markets such as the United States witnessing similar trends as travellers increasingly combine work and leisure and embrace a flexible, digitally nomadic lifestyle.

In sync with the changing preferences of travellers, Asia, along with the United States, has witnessed a significant uptick in the average number of nights guests’ book for their vacation rentals. This trend is indicative of a shift towards more extended stays, with the average length of stay growing by 20% since the pre-pandemic era.

Trip101 highlighted the importance of unique experiences for growing the popularity of short-term rentals as a mainstream lodging segment in Asia: “The changing landscape of travel isn’t just about spending more time in a destination; it’s also about investing more in the experience. The average booking value in Asia has also surged by 20 per cent from pre-pandemic years to the present. This increase shows that travellers are willing to allocate more resources to enhance their travel experiences.

“Whether it’s booking a beachfront villa or a charming countryside cottage, travellers are prioritising the quality of their stay. This trend is a boon for the travel industry, as it suggests a growing appetite for premium accommodation and personalised experiences,” it added.

Countries across the Asian continent experienced some of the strictest Covid-19 countermeasures [including lockdowns] with the likes of Japan and South Korea lifting quarantine requirements and reopening their borders last summer. China, meanwhile, eased its restrictions in December 2022, including tight border controls, snap lockdowns and mandatory quarantines, despite its own economy being impacted heavily.

In Japan, the Japanese government has been relaxing the requirements for property management businesses operating ‘minpaku’ vacation rentals [i.e. private lodgings on platforms such as Airbnb] in a bid to galvanise regional tourism in the country. Meanwhile, the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, originally scheduled for 2020, were delayed a year and held largely behind closed doors, depriving Japan of a much-needed tourism boost.

However, in China, Airbnb shuttered its domestic tourism business and experience listings last July, due to the effects of the country’s stringent lockdowns and restrictions.

Now, as supply and demand return to pre-pandemic levels, travellers’ preferences are evolving, leading to more interest in private vacation rentals and longer stays.

Trip101 wrote: “The surge in vacation rentals and the shift towards longer stays in Asia underscore the evolving preferences of modern travellers. As the travel industry adapts to these changing dynamics, it opens up new opportunities for both travellers and accommodation providers.

“The post-pandemic era has ushered in a transformative period in travel, where flexibility, experiences, and a blend of work and leisure take centre stage. The surge in Asian vacation rentals is not merely a statistic; it’s a testament to the evolving nature of travel itself,” it added.

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