BARCELONA - Heading into 2021, domestic tourism is surely the safer bet for the vacation rental industry. The virus mutations, slow vaccine rollouts, quarantine restrictions, and the general uncertainty of travel continue to support the increase of domestic travel.
Rentals United has found a 25 percentage point increase in guests travelling within the same country compared to last year. Across different countries, there is a significant increase in January 2021 domestic bookings compared to 2019. The UK, France, Italy and Spain particularly had significant increases per the graph below.
This graph compares by country the percentage of domestic travel from 2019 to 2021. In all these major countries across the globe, the increase in domestic travel is significant compared to two years ago before the pandemic.
Even closer to home
Beyond the challenges of navigating international travel restrictions, concern about COVID-19 and increased interest in feeling comfortable and safe is prompting many travellers to choose destinations that are not just domestic but much closer to home.
Airbnb’s Travel Report 2021 found a strong majority (56%) prefer a domestic or local destination versus just 21% who want to visit someplace international and farther away. And furthermore, one in five Americans say they want their destination to be within driving distance of home. Shifts seen in travel on Airbnb from the second half of 2019, when travel distances over 3,000 miles were our most popular segment, to June 2020, when trips between 50 miles and 500 miles not only recovered despite the pandemic but returned to year-over-year growth.
LOS and booking windows
The beginning of this year is continuing the trend of increasing length of stay. The length of stay per month has increased across each country, some much more than others. This may be due to the lack of opportunity to use holiday days in 2020 and a need to use the time now. If this trend continues, expect to see more requests for apartments too as guests look for a home from
home to work as well as relax.
The key takeaways from the below graph are seen in the few countries where either last minute or 60+ day bookings have risen sharply. In France and Spain guests are looking for quick trips as they work around the week to week changes in their government's measures to tackle the pandemic. In the UK guests are looking farther ahead to the summer, hoping to finally getaway
once the countrywide lockdowns are lifted.
Historically, Australia’s travel recovery has been substantially better than that of many other
countries. Looking at past trends in our internal statistics, we expect to see a quicker recovery
As is consistent with the last few months, marketing to domestic travellers rather than international travellers through these coming months will be the key to maintaining business success and in gaining that competitive edge.
People will continue to explore corners of their own country they never thought of visiting before. With Spring and summer getaways already on the minds of customers, property managers need to rethink how to market their property, concentrating efforts on those who can be at your doorstep within a couple of hours.