Hard to believe that it’s already been almost three years since the restrictions that changed everyone’s world forever. But despite the short-term pain for many vacation rentals, changes happened that have presented more options for short term rental owners to prosper and gain revenue since that time. Let’s look at the changes that have come since Covid first hit.
Remote Worker Bonanza
One of the unexpected side effects of the pandemic was the major worldwide normalization of what used to be more rare: remote work. Once workers were no longer required to physically live where their companies were headquartered, many headed for the places they had always wanted to live or simply less expensive markets.
Secondary Markets are Booming
So, instead of the usual suspects like Miami, NYC, or Los Angeles hogging the vacation rental spotlight, hosts in secondary markets that didn’t get as much attention before Covid are seeing a surge of bookings since that time.
Workcations are Trending
Those secondary markets are booming in part because of workcations. Those workcations are primarily work-oriented: the guests are there to wake up and work each day. But they are also vacations: those guests venture out when they are not working to take in the sights and visit the surrounding areas.
Those remote workers do have increased demands, however. The two most important are:
- Reliable high speed internet
- A solid workspace
Hosts who have seen this trend have upgraded their internet speeds and introduced better working spaces into their listings, sometimes even including a more enclosed and private space for video calls so that spouses or children can continue to move around the property while the remote worker is on a call.
Even those who are not remote workers are opting for longer stays, in part because of the suppression of travel and mobility for a period of time, leading to a pent-up demand to get away. Hosts have started to factor those longer bookings into their revenue mix and have even leaned into it, finding that longer-term bookings at a certain rate is worth the trade-off against more turnovers at a slightly higher rate.
While the wide-open “cancel for any reason” policies that flourished in the earliest days of the pandemic are often not still in place, many vacation rentals have created more flexibility to address the current expectations of the marketplace. Those look to be in place for the foreseeable future.
With the emphasis on contactless checkin and checkout during the earliest parts of the pandemic, many hosts adjusted and introduced contactless check ins and implemented technology like smart locks or doorbell camera monitors. Many of these hosts have kept those new provisions in place even as restrictions have eased and people are more comfortable meeting for a key exchange.
While guests have always factored cleanliness as perhaps the most important aspect of a vacation rental listing, the additional requirements for many during Covid, including certain disinfecting measures, were very important for a period of time. But that has dropped off dramatically since restrictions have largely been lifted worldwide. Guests still want cleanliness, but more hotel-cleanliness instead of hospital-cleanliness.
This content originally appeared in our twice-monthly Guest Book Newsletter.