While many of us in the short-term vacation rental industry are riding high off the wave of recent strong domestic travel, it was only 12 short (well, that actually felt really long) months ago that we were in the depths of the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic in the US. There’s no need to go back and rehash all the details of that painful time, but it’s important to put context and data on how far we’ve come.

In the chart below, we took a look at bookings made per listing by market for the past 21 days this year as well as the same time last year:

Source: Beyond Data

As the chart clearly demonstrates, 2021 is performing by orders of magnitude higher than anything we’ve ever seen before. The Florida Panhandle, for example, is getting 7.7 times more bookings per listing than last year!

Each of these markets saw short term rental demand skyrocket throughout Summer 2020 as domestic travelers in the US looked towards escaping quarantine restrictions and driving to remote locations with lots of rental property supply.

Back to “Normal”

Most short-term rental markets are expected to see year-over-year increases in demand and overall revenue this year since the entire travel industry was disrupted in 2020. While that historical 2020 data provides interesting context, using 2019 data can help provide insight into how 2021 is shaping up compared to a “normal” year.

The below chart represents bookings made per listing by market for the past 21 days this year compared to the same time period in 2019:

Source: Beyond Data

This data clearly shows that 2021 booking pace is ahead of 2019 bookings pace for these 4 markets, a sign of continued pent-up demand in these markets compared to a normal year.

While the year-over-year growth is nowhere near what each market is seeing compared to 2020, property managers should still expect an increase in demand throughout the year. 2020 data can still provide a lot of great context for short-term rental property managers, and pulling in 2019 data really helps illustrate the bigger picture.

Make sure you have the proper access to your data and can continue to take action on your latest market trends.

No Matter Where You Look, Bookings Are Up

While year-over-year is obviously drastic, we can put the recent bookings pace into context, looking at bookings per listing per week weekly over the past two years.

In every case the booking pace in 2021 has been way above historical, with the North Carolina Mountains, for example, seeing an almost unbelievable booking blitz during the first week of the year.

Source: Beyond Data

We noted earlier this year that we were expecting 2021 to be a banner year for the short-term rental industry. As we move solidly into the summer months, our forecast is looking to be pretty accurate.

Even though booking pace has rebounded and exceeded pre-pandemic levels, it's still important to get the right rates for those bookings you are getting. Be sure to also set the right expectations with all stakeholders for the upcoming Summer high season and the rest of 2021.

Check out Beyond's free Insights tool to see how your own booking pace has changed over the past year.