Guesty: Vaccine effectiveness raises consumer travel confidence

Worldwide: The latest data from property management software platform Guesty has highlighted how Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness news is resulting in consumer travel confidence and a boost in short-term rental bookings around the world.

It comes just as the first Covid vaccines are starting to be delivered to hospitals across the UK, as the country prepares for the first round of mass vaccination before the holiday season.

In the week following Moderna’s vaccine news [16-23 November], Guesty saw:

  • An uplift of seven per cent in short-term rental reservations across the globe, compared to the average weekly volume of reservations created pre-Covid.

  • A nine per cent uplift in reservation volume created within one week, globally, compared to the week prior.

In the last couple of weeks [10 November – 3 December], following Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness news:

  • Short-term rental reservation volume is slowly increasing. In the last three weeks compared to the same time period last year, Guesty saw a nine per cent uptick in new reservations made worldwide.

  • This is unique as at this time last year, and during previous years, the opposite typically happens: usually the number of reservations made at this time declines.

  • Reservation volume is likely steadily increasing due to the promise of more than one effective vaccine, coupled with travellers increasingly booking stays closer to their check-in dates.

Holidays

Holiday travel is out-performing expectations. Case in point: even amid a pandemic, Thanksgiving 2020 outperformed 2019 in short-term rental bookings. The same happened for Labor Day.

  • Though at the end of summer, Thanksgiving reservation volume in the USA was low compared to 2019, in the end reservation volume was 14 per cent over what Guesty saw last year. The average nightly stay also increased by 25 per cent [up to 4.5 nights/stay], signalling that consumers booked longer stays, likely due to unused vacation days that must be capitalised on before the end of year, as well as the largely common work remote climate.

  • We saw this same trend happen for Labor Day – the holiday this year ended up garnering 27 per cent more short-term rental bookings than it did in 2019.

Last-minute bookings will result in a more profitable than expected Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

In November, the trend of consumers booking last-minute short-term rental stays continued with 15 per cent of bookings being made the same day as the reservation itself, and 35 per cent of bookings being made within a week of check-in. This means we can expect more Christmas and New Year’s Eve bookings to roll in as we get closer to each holiday. Consumers will travel for these two holidays, staying longer and shelling out more per booking on average.

Christmas: compared to last month, reservation volume slightly decreased, likely due to fluctuating restrictions and flu season.

  • In the US, Christmas reservation volume is 21 per cent lower today compared to this time last year. The average nightly rate has increased by 14 per cent and the average nightly stay has increased by nine, to five nights/stay per cent.
  • Globally, Christmas reservation volume is still significantly lower now than it was at this time last year, specifically 47 per cent lower. The average nightly rate has increased by 17 per cent and the average nightly stay has increased by 17 per cent, sitting at 5.5 nights/stay on average per booking.

New Year’s Eve:

  • In the US, New Year’s Eve reservation volume is 14 per cent lower today compared to this time last year. The average nightly rate is four per cent higher and the average nightly stay is 25 per cent longer, up to 7.5 nights/stay on average.
  • Globally, New Year’s Eve reservation volume is 47 per cent lower today compared to this time last year. The average nightly rate has increased by six per cent and the average nightly stay has gone up by 42 per cent, resulting in bookings of seven nights/stay on average.

Consumer holiday travel tips:

  • Capitalise on flexible cancellation policies: Guesty advises travellers to book their first choice of stay now [if still available] and take advantage of flexible policies that enable them to cancel up to a couple days in advance of the booking itself for circumstances outside of their control – such as a second or third wave, lockdowns, etc.

  • Book private rentals when staying near family: Consider private rentals rather than crowded hotels when booking trips to stay near family. With kitchens and large backyard spaces, private homes are more ideal to host festive gatherings in where higher risk parties can enjoy at a distance. Many hotel-goers will become short-term rental converts during this time in order to avoid the common areas associated with hotels – such as lobbies, elevators and dining rooms. Short-term rental properties have lower guest turnover, which already reduces the risk of exposure between guests significantly; and, by nature, private homes have less “high-touch” than busy hotels.