Airbnb, Vrbo Booming In Beach Communities

By Jim Perskie

The short-term rental market is bouncing back quickly, with travelers taking advantage of lockdowns ending just as the summer tourism season starts across the country, according to a report released Wednesday by AirDNA.

There was a 202 percent increase in rental bookings on Airbnb and Vrbo in the United States between April 5 and May 18.

“After weathering a flood of cancellations and scrambling to market themselves as immaculate, virus-free stays, it seems like the suffering may be somewhat short-lived,” AirDNA concludes in the report.

The report also found, “After the multi-month lockdown brought global travel to a standstill, it now seems that — whether or not we’re ready — the road to economic recovery is clearly taking shape. Despite a lack of consensus on health and safety protocols, countries and cities around the world have begun nudging their industries back to normalcy.”

In the United States, markets that double as leisure destinations are leading the recovery – especially rentals near beaches in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and the Carolinas. Average growth in new bookings in these areas is up 968 percent.

City4/6 Bookings5/18 Bookings% Change
Big Bear Lake1333,1472266%
South Padre Island2493,3401241%
Carolina Beach1071,1781001%
Ocean City (MD)1901,977941%
Myrtle Beach4984,735851%
New Braunfels1291,116765%
Lake Havasu City1861,501707%
Corpus Christi3942,622565%
Gulf Shores7724,922538%
Source: AirDNA

The markets seeing the smallest growth in North America are centered in larger cities:

City4/6 Bookings5/18 Bookings% Change
San Francisco60790248.6%
New York2,8123,93539.9%

“Despite a nightmarish start to 2020, it seems that the vacation rental industry is poised for a quick turnaround — but it’ll likely emerge looking a bit different than the pre-COVID era,” the report concluded. “From longer lengths of stay to shorter booking lead times, the dynamics of demand are now clearly in flux.”