WILMINGTON, MASS. – The spread of COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the travel industry and as travel slowly starts to resume, new trends are developing. According to Villas of Distinction, there is an increased demand for U.S. domestic villas, an uptick in long-term rentals and a shift in the time from booking to traveling.
“Those who aren’t quite comfortable coming into contact with large groups of people are opting to take a staycation or a road trip, and stay in a private villa which is an accommodation type that provides a socially-distanced experience,” said Willie Fernandez, general manager and vice president for Villas of Distinction.
The most notable trend for people booking 2021 vacations is the increased demand for domestic villas. Since people may be nervous about traveling out of the country and some aren’t comfortable flying, there is heightened interest in road trips and staycations. As a result of this, in the last nine months Villas of Distinction has added more than 300 villas in the U.S. including California, Colorado, Connecticut, the Florida Panhandle, Georgia, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. In addition, Villas of Distinction will add more villas in Canada for the Canadian market as they are also required to stay within their country.
Now that many children are doing school virtually and parents are working remotely, they can complete their work from anywhere. Villas of Distinction is seeing many family’s traveling and staying in a villa even when not using “vacation” time. These workcations have led to an increase in long-term rentals and is very popular in the Caribbean islands such as Barbados and Grand Cayman, which have both devised programs specifically geared toward this type of traveler.
Villas of Distinction has also seen a shift in book-to-travel windows. In 2020, there was a seven percent increase in people wanting to get away within 0-60 days, creating more close-in bookings than its seen in years’ past. There was also a five percent increase in people booking more than a year in advance even into late 2022 and 2023.
People are looking for travel options where they can adhere to the safety guidelines set by their country. Villas of Distinction’s villa properties have agreed to follow the Vacation Rental Management Association for safety and cleaning protocols.