A performance data study held by STR and the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA) shows that the short term rental sector in the UK has been more resilient than most accommodation sectors during the COVID crisis, and may perform better once hospitality reopens.
The study compares how short term rentals in London have performed against other accommodation sectors including hotels, hostels and serviced apartments in the 12-month period between December 2019 and December 2020. It shows that occupancy in short term rentals proved to be more resilient after the March lockdown was implemented, was quicker to recover when the market reopened in late Spring and reached higher levels of occupancy during last year’s peak in October. Average daily rates (ADR) saw a steep decline from April but were maintained from August till the end of the year.
Merilee Karr, Chair of the STAA and CEO of UnderTheDoormat, said “Whilst we all know how tough a year 2020 was for the whole of the hospitality and tourism industries, we now have to focus on making the most of the opportunities to recover this year. The encouraging signs are that customer confidence in booking short term rentals is positive and, with staycations likely to be the focus for 2021, we hope to welcome them to a variety of beautiful homes when they venture out for their much-needed holidays later in the year”.
Patrick Mayock, STR’s VP of research & development, said, “It’s no surprise that 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for all accommodation providers. Our pilot study in London did, however, reveal somewhat of a bright spot for the year – the resilience of short-term rentals. The London findings mirror results from other pilot markets where STR tracks data for the sector, in which short-term rentals experienced less severe dips and faster rebounds than comparable hotels”.
The positive outlook on short term rentals was also echoed in Expedia’s quarterly results announced last week, during which CEO Peter Kern said alternative accommodation and Vrbo - the group's holiday rental online marketplace, continue to be very strong. In Q3 2020, Vrbo had been described as a star performer for the whole Expedia Group, especially as hotel activity in cities had dropped.