Expedia CEO Peter Kern predicted that summer 2022 will be the busiest travel season ever, AirDNA reports.
In its latest Market Review, the AirDNA research team highlighted continued signs of short-term rental (STR) growth while also cautioning against the possible influence of inflation and high gas prices.
It also revealed five Airbnb trends hosts need to capitalize on in order to maximize their STR revenue—and their guests’ experiences—during the sunny months ahead as follows:
1. Weekday bookings are more popular than ever.
STR guests aren’t just weekend warriors anymore. Although travelers do still turn up for the weekend, weekday stays are in increasingly high demand. Demand for Tuesday night stays grew 5% from 2019 to 2021; Wednesdays came in a close second, followed by Mondays and Thursdays.
Old STR wisdom may tempt you to drop your rates for mid-week stays—but that could mean leaving money on the table. Now is an ideal time to optimize your Airbnb pricing strategy because your guests are likely comfortable with higher rates than you might expect. (MarketMinder’s Smart Rates pricing tool helps you the price with confidence by shedding light on what your competitors are charging for properties similar to yours.)
2. Guests are interested in large spaces.
In 2022, everything is bigger—and we’re not just talking about gas prices.
In short, travelers are booking larger properties than they used to. The average STR booking included 2.3 rooms in 2021, compared to 2.1 rooms in 2019. But that’s only part of the story.
Only 27.3% of all rentals booked in 2021 had one room, while 24.4% of bookings were for two-room rentals, and a whopping 38.8% of bookings included three bedrooms or more. Whether guests are traveling in groups or want a dedicated office while on the road, managing an Airbnb in 2022 means maximizing space.
If your rentals have multiple bedrooms, you’re already ahead of your one-bedroom competitors. But if you do manage one-bedroom rentals, there’s still a lot you can do to make a small space live large. Thoughtful interior design can increase both occupancy rates and average daily rates (ADRs).
3. Luxury properties are experiencing occupancy growth.
Historically, luxury properties have tallied lower occupancy rates versus other property types, but that appears to be changing.
Luxury properties have been experiencing higher occupancy rates each year since 2018, with a significant spike in 2021. For reference, this time last year, budget properties were tallying just over 15% occupancy growth, while luxury properties were tallying twice as much.
If you manage luxury properties, this is great news. But if you don’t, there’s no need to panic. Unique Airbnbs often outperform standard properties, so it’s worth considering other ways you can separate your listings from the competition.
4. Long-term stays are on the rise.
Culturally, a lot has changed since pre-COVID-19 times, including the popularity of long-term STR stays. In fact, bookings that meet or exceed 28 days is actually the fastest-growing trip length category today.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 28-plus-day stays accounted for between 14% and 17% of gross nights booked. Since then, 28-plus-day stays have comprised as much as 24% (Q1 2021) and 25% (Q2 2020) of gross bookings. As of Q1 2022, they were still accounting for 21%.
With remote work becoming more and more commonplace, there’s good reason to believe travelers will continue living out their “work from anywhere” aspirations in your Airbnb.
It’s worth noting that much of this growth is centered in cities, too, so rebounding metro areas may be an ideal place to invest in new properties if you’re looking to grow your STR business. But no matter where your rentals are, it’s smart to stay ahead of this curve by ensuring your rentals are conducive to remote workers and long-term stays.
5. ADRs are increasing for all property types
The math is straightforward: Guests are paying more for their STRs than they were in 2019. ADRs are on the rise across all price tiers, with rates increasing approximately 30% across the board in April 2022 compared to the same time in 2019.
As a host or manager, this doesn’t mean you should just arbitrarily crank up your prices, though. A dynamic pricing tool can help you smartly capitalize on changes in your market, and future pacing analyses can help you understand when to anticipate further shifts—so that you can be more proactive and less reactive when it comes to your rates.
Although these Airbnb trends provide a great reference for your seasonal STR planning, they’re just a small snapshot compared to the larger trends shaping the vacation rental industry in 2022. Guest preferences can change quickly, so it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of everything that can impact your rentals—such as seasonality, lead times, market health, and more.