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What Does the Future of Travel Look Like?

Saying that COVID-19 has had an effect on the tours and travel industry would be an understatement. Having spread to over 210 countries, it led to travel restrictions and hotel chains shutting down. In fact, the hotel industry is not expected to recover to pre-COVID-19 levels before 2023, according to research across luxury and economy chains conducted by McKinsey. As restrictions ease and business beginning to pick up, what does that future bode for the travel industry? 

Higher guest expectations and longer stays

The competition between hotels and home shares has been kicked into high gear. Travellers are more keen on the quality of the holiday home experience. Before COVID, providing a superb guest experience was majorly focused on the amenities that came with the rental space. Sure, guests will still want the amenities going forward they are placing more emphasis on the quality of the property itself, given that they will be spending more time at the location as opposed to visiting the main attractions in the area.

In fact, the average length of each stay saw a 58% increase during the pandemic. Locations in city outskirts and rural areas are also seeing an uptick, since they are away from urban centres that witness higher COVID cases being reported. Cleaning standards of the property, coupled with the safety measures that have been put in place rank high amongst the guest requirements. They want to be certain that the host has thoroughly sanitised the property before they check in. Short-term rentals are faring better compared to the hotels, with their unique selling points becoming core strengths after the outbreak. For instance, the availability of larger rooms – especially with houses with more than two bedrooms, and cases where guests can book entire homes, coupled with amenities like kitchens and living space, allow for guests to stay for longer periods. These are becoming more popular for families looking for spaces to retreat. 

Despite the decline in March bookings across all short-term rentals, the recovery that followed saw around 2.5 million weekly bookings, according to data by STR and AirDNA, which looked at 27 markets from around the world. Homes near the water actually outdid their 2019 numbers. This was mainly due to guests feeling safer from the virus, especially with all the jitters about interactions in urban settings. 

“People just want to be isolated in a way, want to have a controlled environment, and short-term rentals can offer that, guaranteed, more often” Scott Shatford, CEO of AirDNA, Short-Term Rental Data & Analytics firm.

Reducing in-person engagement

Having to be present in person to walk your guests through the check-in process is being phased out. In fact, it will be quite a few months before socialising gets back to its normal levels, and one of the post-COVID holiday rental trends is reducing the physical engagement between the guests and property owners to protect themselves. Consequently, short-term rentals are increasingly turning to automation services and incorporating them into the property to provide the guests with a contactless experience. These are the likes of smart locks and keyless entry – so all you do is provide your guests with a code and avoid the hassle that comes with having to transfer the keys in person; all through to monitoring technology such as installing noise sensors that enable the host to remotely track the activity levels in the house and ensure that rules are not being broken. 

Having a concierge team to troubleshoot problems, clearing up most of the issues before an in-person handyman needs to be sent to the property, and even providing property In fact, the average length of each stay saw a 58% increase during the pandemic. Locations in city outskirts and rural areas are also seeing an uptick, since they are away from urban centres that witness higher COVID cases being reported.orientation booklets to the guests before they check in to give them a feel of the space – these are increasingly being adopted as part of the short-term rental process. Such attributes and homecare gadgets will become common with future holiday booking trends.

The battle for refunds

The COVID pandemic brought in full light the fine print that travellers and hosts occasionally gloss over: cancellation policies. Many hotels have policies allowing travellers to make no-penalty changes to their reservations as close as 24 – 48 hours to their check-in date. Certainly, there are also non-refundable and prepaid rates – which often tend to have low prices, making them popular – unless you actually find yourself in a position where you have to cancel, and you have no recourse.  

Going forward, short-term rental hosts are opening up to alternatives with policies that they deem friendlier to them. Flexible cancellations have actually enabled short-term rentals to attract guests, with 22% indicating that such policies enabled them to maintain business stability during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

For your extended stays, turn to Open Air Homes

So, you want the comfort and privacy of a home, with the amenities that a hotel provides, right? Perhaps a space where you can relax for a month or two – or even longer, while feeling like a local? Open Air Homes give you the Southern California experience with a personalised touch and a homely feel. We’ll take care of everything, so you can have a stress free stay away from home, in one of our homes.