Compared to other sectors of the travel industry, the short-term rental market has prospered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with the United States officially recovering demand above 2019 levels as of April 2021.
Many major alternative accommodations platforms are preparing for what they view as a record travel rebound on the horizon and are pushing new initiatives to bring more hosts to their respective services.
While the summer months are expected to be among the best on record, questions are arising around if the short-term rental industry can continue on this trajectory as people head back to offices and schools.
According to a new report from AirDNA, the next major performance milestone for U.S. short-term rentals is whether the industry recovers demand back to the level it would have achieved if the sector had maintained its 2019 growth rate.
AirDNA data points to another two-plus years to achieve it, though it could be reached sooner if certain scenarios play out.
Jesse DePinto, co-founder and chief product officer of Frontdesk, says recovering demand back to 2019 growth rate levels is the milestone that the serviced apartment rental company is aiming for internally. “Our total revenue has already exceeded pre-pandemic levels, but even our RevPAR has fully recovered, adjusting for our unit growth,” DePinto says.
“On top of it, we are seeing continued demand growth, and we expect our RevPAR to continue climbing due to the limited supply in our geographies.”
Though overall, the short-term rental market varies widely by market and inventory type, DePinto expects that Frontdesk, which offers suite accommodations in multifamily apartments in urban locations, will cross this next milestone sooner than the two-plus years AirDNA predicts.
Mateo Bradford, strategic partnership and business development at At Ease Rentals Corporation, believes demand levels are only going to keep increasing: “I think that demand will surpass those demand levels [predicted by AirDNA] because remote work and lifestyle will continue to drive that demand. I think we will see a slight dip when the service sector goes back to work but that will not stop leisure, vacation and nomads from getting out of the house.”
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