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New airline routes and searches grow with short-term rental demand

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In 2021, travelers are still mostly opting for seaside houses, mountain cabins, and lakeside retreats. And airlines are keen to capitalize on traveler’s pent-up demand for these new vacation and remote work hotspots with new routes to get them there with no connections.

While short-term rentals as a whole took a hit in 2020 (especially in the early days of COVID), many markets saw significant spikes in occupancy and Average Daily Rates (ADR). Cities suffered, but rural and destination markets came out on top. 

Now, as domestic travel returns, new airline routes will deliver travelers directly to smaller airports with easier and cheaper access to some of the country’s hottest destination markets and smaller cities. And airlines are betting big on recovering from a dismal 2020.

The airline industry’s total revenue nosedived in 2020, pulling in only about 40% of 2019’s figures. It’s also projected that airline traffic won’t hit 2019 levels again until 2024. Still, every major U.S. carrier is aiming high to capitalize on and help facilitate the boom in leisure travel with new airline routes in 2021 and beyond. 

Short-term rental (STR) hosts, property owners, and investors in and around these markets are sure to welcome these new routes; some of the United States’ most popular destination markets are pacing well above or around 2019 levels. 

In 2021, travelers are still mostly opting for seaside houses, mountain cabins, and lakeside retreats. And airlines are keen to capitalize on traveler’s pent-up demand for these new vacation and remote work hotspots with new routes to get them there with no connections.

Here are some of the key findings of short-term rental data provider AirDNA report:

  • Airlines have seen revenue shift from business to leisure travel
  • Change in routes, to target markets that have been doing well in STR, particularly Southern coastal and Mountain West destination markets – Florida above all
  • Low-cost carriers Allegiant and JetBlue invested in new routes to Jacksonville and Sarasota, while Southwest resumed its summer route to Sarasota, which had the highest occupancy in April of the top 50 largest STR markets.
  • 3Victors data shows searches between densely-populated East and West Coast cities to popular rural destinations have increased significantly since 2019, and from New York and Boston to Myrtle Beach, SC - which achieved an incredible 81.3% occupancy in June 2021.
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