Airbnb reveals summer travel trends for 2021 and beyond
A new report from Airbnb suggests that more of us than ever are escaping the countryside this summer, especially families. Olivia Palamountain reports
Airbnb is ready to face the new era of travel thanks to the research of its Travel and Life Report, a comprehensive analysis of Airbnb reservation data and consumer analytics that reveals who is traveling, where they’re going and for how long this summer. (For 2019 and 2021, the “summer” activity on the Airbnb platform is defined from June 1 to August 31).
One of more than 100 upgrades and initiatives to refine and improve Airbnb’s service in anticipation of the travel rebound, there are plenty of great takeaways for hosts and travelers alike.
As Globetender predicted in his report on Traveling in the age of Covid-19, the search for wild nature (or “the great escape to the countryside” as defined by Airbnb) is a big trend for the summer of 2021, observed in all groups and locations.
In 2015, rural travel represented less than 10% of nights booked worldwide on Airbnb. In 2021, it represents more than double – and sometimes triple – in countries like Canada (43%), France (45%), the United Kingdom (48%), Australia (42%) and the United States. (28 percent).
This data is supported by a study by QYResearch, which found that nature tourism (also known as agro-ecotourism) is worth around US $ 13 billion worldwide – and that was before the pandemic, this which will undoubtedly stimulate the demand for spending time outdoors. Internationally, the top destinations are typically cities, but locations beyond the world’s favorite cities are now taking the top spots this summer. These include:
- France: From Paris to Var
- Italy: From Rome to Sardinia
- Korea: From Seoul to Jeju
- Spain: From Barcelona to the Costa Blanca
- United Kingdom: From London to Cornwall
Based on bookings from US guests, rural stays near national and state parks, the Great Lakes, and white sand beaches are exploding from summer 2019. The most popular are:
- Whitefish Mountain, MT (near Glacier National Park)
- South County, RI
- Bancroft-Madawaska, Canada (near Algonquin Provincial Park)
- Panama City Beach, Florida
- West Yellowstone, MT (near Yellowstone)
- Florida panhandle
- Northern Wisconsin (near Lake Superior and the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest)
- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- Black Hills, SD (near Black Hills National Forest and Mount Rushmore)
- Miramar Beach, Florida
- Park County, MT
- Upper Michigan Peninsula (Great Lakes, Hiawatha National Forest)
- Acadia National Park
Previously, summer trips on Airbnb were mostly smaller groups visiting big cities. But this season, the most popular type of trip is for families who flock to distant destinations from their homes in the city.
Family travel * fell from 27% of total nights booked in summer 2019 to 33% in summer 2021 worldwide and to 31% in the United States.
42% of these booked family nights are in rural destinations, up from 32% in summer 2019.
We’re not all heading for the hills. However, travelers still keen on urban exploration are changing their attitude and staying for a long time: the top three long-stay destinations on Airbnb are all cities.
In New York City, 62% of summer nights booked in the city are for long-term stays, and in Seattle and Los Angeles, long-term stays are 40% and 43% respectively this summer ***. This is true around the world, with other major cities topping their respective country’s lists of most popular destinations for long-term stays:
- Melbourne, Australia)
- São Paulo, Brazil)
- Montreal Canada)
- Paris, France)
- Berlin, Germany)
- Rome, Italy)
- Seoul, South Korea)
- Mexico City, Mexico)
- Barcelona, Spain)
- London, UK)
* “Family travel” on Airbnb is defined as any reservation that includes a baby or a child. Therefore, the true extent of family travel described in this article and in the Airbnb Travel & Life Report can be underestimated.
** Based on internal Airbnb data comparing bookings from June-August 2021 to June-August 2019.
*** As of April 30, 2021, 40%, 43% and 62% of nights booked for Seattle, Los Angeles and New York, respectively, are before cancellations and changes.