Airbnb Trends Show Boom in Staycations This Memorial Day

April 23, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck
(Courtesy Airbnb website)

A recent “trends” report from Airbnb suggests that the ongoing roll out of the coronavirus vaccine is spurring a renewed interest in travel, particularly when it comes to “open air” or “off-the-grid” locations. 

In fact, the online rental marketplace said it is witnessing something of a “staycations boom” this coming Memorial Day Weekend, with Internet searches for more remote locations jumping nearly 40% this past month. 

An Airbnb spokesperson said this is especially true of older adults. The company saw an over 60% increase in summer trip searches on Airbnb by US guests 60 and over in March, compared to February. 

New figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nearly 75% of US adults aged 65 and over have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than half now fully vaccinated, meaning older adults represent the largest share of Americans who are now able to travel again.  

A list of safer travel ideas from the CDC recommends that those who haven’t been fully vaccinated wait to travel, and for those who are vaccinated to take short road trips to a campsite or house, preferably with family members. 

“People who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic. At the same time, there is still much we don’t know about how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19,” said the CDC in a written statement.  

Consistent with CDC recommendations, 70% of the top searches for Memorial Day weekend were for remote stays in the US between 50-300 miles away. 

Top accommodation searches included tents, yurts, campsites, earth houses, house boats, farm stays, and treehouses.  

The largest increases in remote stays have been seen in guests traveling to rural destinations like the Angel Fire, N.M., Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Sanpete County, Utah, or Forks, Wash.  

Kathy Hoffstatter, an Airbnb host for a small Finnish cabin at the rural foothills of the Catskill Mountains in New York, says that last June she noticed “people were looking for long-term rentals to get out of the city for a while,” but this year the cabin has had a surge in short-term renters “booking every weekend.”  

Rural hosts currently make up a quarter of Airbnb hosts in the U.S., and on average, the typical rural host has earned a total of $8,448 total since the start of the pandemic.  

Some rural hosts in states like Vermont, which have imposed stricter travel mandates, are barring out-of-state guests coming for short stays, unless guests can prove they have been vaccinated through uploading a photo of a vaccination card.  

“We do not require people to be vaccinated, but we do send everyone who has booked an amendment that if they think they or their partner has been exposed, they should feel free to cancel with us for a full refund,” said Hoffstatter.

While Airbnb anticipates most trips will be domestic this summer, the trends also show that guests are starting to feel more comfortable with venturing further from home, as stays between 1,000-3,000 miles away are making up the second largest share of searches for Memorial Day Weekend trips. 

According to Airbnb, reconnecting and traveling safely are leading reasons for wanting to get a vaccine among U.S. consumers, and the company anticipates that as vaccine roll out continues for all ages, that urban areas, like New York City, will return to being popular vacation spots. 

But for now, fully vaccinated travelers are more likely to be seen in rural areas like the Catskills this Memorial Day.  

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