Vacation rental domestic bookings resurge in New Zealand

New Zealand: Data from Airbnb suggests that New Zealand has seen a resurgence in short-term rental bookings this month.

Between 9-16 May, domestic bookings through the site saw a sharp rise on previous weeks as the country moved into the second week of Level 2 restrictions which are starting to permit some domestic travel.

Airbnb figures indicated:

•Domestic bookings on Airbnb increased 15 times compared with the same week last month.
•Domestic bookings on Airbnb have recovered to 85 per cent of pre-Covid levels [compared with the same week in 2019].

Popular tourist destinations such as Queenstown, Taupo and Northland have all recorded an increase in domestic bookings compared to the same week from 2019, although international bookings are still being restricted due to the closure of borders.

In addition, Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington saw month-on-month bookings increase sevenfold on the same period in 2019, while Northland and Hamilton are also proving popular destinations in search terms.

Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington are all also showing strong month-on-month increases, up over seven times on the same week in 2019.

In line with findings in the United States produced by short-term rental data provider AirDNA, New Zealanders are increasingly deciding to book stays in regionalised, drivable destinations, with over 55 per cent of trips booked within a 320km distance and 16 per cent within 80km from guests’ homes.

Furthermore, reservations have surged by over 70 per cent since Level 2 restrictions were implemented a week ago, up to 790,000 total searches.

Airbnb’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Susan Wheeldon, told NZ Herald that the news would be a welcome relief to the country’s 37,000 hosts, whose bookings were instantly decimated by the lockdown.

She said: “This has been an extremely challenging time for everyone across the tourism industry and we’re really keen to help local tourism operators and small businesses get back on their feet.”

“Safety and public health continue to be the top priority for Airbnb. We are keen to work with the government to see how Airbnb can best play a role in helping communities across New Zealand recover,” she added.