Vacation rental companies rush to sign properties ahead of summer

Vacation rental companies are scrambling for accommodation as a surge in pent-up summer demand and a drop in vacation rentals during the pandemic raise fears of a squeeze in supply.

Henrik Kjellberg, managing director of Awaze, which operates across the UK and Europe, said the company was becoming “gangbusters” by recruiting new homes for its brands. “We increased the number of people we focused on [and] we have streamlined processes.

So far this year, Awaze has added 6,000 new vacation rentals to its websites, including Hoseasons and, nearly 40% more than in the same period of 2019.

Expedia-owned vacation rental company Vrbo said summer demand was 15% higher than last year and many “best locations” had already sold out.

Vrbo and Plum Guide, a premium vacation rental company, said consumers are taking advantage of remote working and booking longer stays, which is also putting pressure on supply.

Competition for vacation rentals was increasing before the pandemic due to the success of Airbnb, but travel restrictions and volatile demand during the crisis prompted some owners to abandon the industry.

Stricter regulation of short-term rental accommodation, particularly in cities, has also dampened the growth of available properties.

The number of vacation rentals listed in Europe fell from nearly 6.1 million in August 2019 to 5.8 million in August last year, according to industry data provider Transparent, with the proportion available in cities rising from 62% to 43%.

In popular Mediterranean countries, such as Italy, there were 25% fewer homes available in April 2022 than in April 2019, according to figures from analyst AirDNA. In Portugal, there were 14% less.

To increase supply, Vrbo said it was spending “aggressively” on social media platforms to encourage hosts to sign up. During the first quarter of the year, it also spent more than ever before on US television advertising for hosts.

Meanwhile, Airbnb this month announced a redesign of its platform to push guests to more unusual places. Non-urban registrations rose 15% globally year-on-year in the first quarter, he said.

Doron Meyassed, co-founder and chief executive of Plum Guide, said there was a “big slump” over short-term rental stock in cities like New York, where officials approved plans for a new strict licensing regime last December. But many hosts who rented their properties long-term during the pandemic were starting to return to the vacation market, he added.

Another boost to supply had come from people who had bought homes in rural areas during the pandemic but had now been called back to work in downtown offices more often than they had. foreseen.

“A lot of people who have done this . . . realized that they don’t spend as much time as they thought they would in this place and [are] rent it out, especially as interest rates rise [it] is a good way to monetize it,” Kjellberg said.

Graham Donoghue, managing director of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said holidaymakers who took advantage of domestic holidays during restricted international travel periods last year were now going on holiday in addition to taking overseas trips.

Several operators said bookings were increasingly made at the last minute.

Awaze said holiday bookings in the next 28 days were up 9% from the same period in 2019, while Plum Guide’s Meyassed said occupancy for the next 90 days was “more higher than before Covid almost everywhere we operate”.

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