Ready for the Rebound? Five New Travel Norms for Short-Term Rentals

“We think this summer is going to be a good summer…” 

-George Ferguson, senior aerospace and airline analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence

The Summer 2021 Travel Season should be one for the books. While pandemic recovery varies from country to country, increasingly successful vaccine rollouts will allow many travelers to get away from it all. And they’re beyond ready for it: a survey revealed that 60% of Americans feel that traveling is more important to them now than it was before the pandemic. The specifics of these trips –destination, accommodation, and transportation– may differ greatly before March of 2020, though. 

One type of accommodation already bouncing back from the lows of 2020 is short-term rentals (STRs.) In April 2021, demand for STRs grew by 5.4% over 2019 levels, and as of May 1st,  June has 25% more demand booked than as of the same time in 2019. Per AirDNA’s VP of Research, Jamie Lane, “the search for new [STR] hosts is heating up” to keep pace with surging demand. While this push for new properties continues, “the combined supply of Airbnb and VRBO…surpass[ed] pre-pandemic peaks” by April 2021. 

Short-term rental owners or managers hoping to ride the summer wave of travel should first address the pandemic’s impact on guest requirements and expectations; travelers want reassurance that their holiday accommodations take their health and safety seriously. How do you show potential guests that your property is well-managed? Properly is designed to do just that by helping our users uphold essential industry protocols for cleaning, disinfection, and maintenance. In preparation for a busy second half of 2021, we’ve identified five of the biggest travel trends to share with our STR guests, hosts, and service providers.

Keep it Flexible

The pandemic sent us down rabbit holes of unknowns and uncertainty, both in our personal and professional lives. With so much up in the air, making set, immovable plans became a thing of the past. HometoGo’s Head of Sales, Rachel Tabellion, encourages owners and managers to instate “flexible booking and cancellation policies” as a way to “put guests at ease during these unpredictable times.” Indeed, HomeToGo found that 45% of those surveyed ranked  ‘Free Cancellation’ higher than price when asked about their booking considerations. 

A Clean Routine

COVID 19’s onset understandably resulted in heightened cleanliness protocols everywhere. “Vacation rental owners will need to continue to emphasize enhanced cleanliness to give travelers peace of mind, this is no longer optional,” notes Alexandra Alvarado, Director of Marketing and Education for the American Apartment Owner’s Association. 

Just because disinfection guidlines and best practices exist doesn’t mean they’re easy to follow, though. Per Properly’s CEO Alex Nigg, “when hosts are provided with long and complex protocols, the result is often low compliance.” 

Properly used the best available advice from the CDC, EPA, and World Health Organization to create several resources, including our COVID-19 Disinfection checklist and our Peace of Mind checklist. Our resources –including the lists and a library of turnover skills– help create “a level playing field for the entire industry” by enabling “individual host[s]…to apply the exact same standards” as a larger management company.

Hosts looking to attract summer guests must adopt (and advertise) rigorous cleaning standards. The next step? Training and supporting their service providers to uphold them.

Prepare for off-season and mid-week guests…

Some employers have urged a return to the office; essential workers have worked in-person  for over a year. However, many of us will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future. Airbnb found that 64% of those surveyed were “interested in traveling during off-peak times of the week or year.” Keeping bookings open throughout the year -even during what may have once been the “off-season”- could be the way to go in 2021

…who book extended visits.

The shift towards remote work has also impacted guests’ lengths of stay. AirDNA found that “longer-term stays now account for twice as many trips as they did in 2019,”  a trend that is unlikely to change any time soon. Similarly, VRBO shared that this summer, not only are travelers “75% more likely to book a stay of at least seven nights,” but they’re also “33% less likely to book a three-night stay.” To avoid hefty fines and fees, review your local short-term rental laws, regulations, and ordinances before accepting extended bookings.

Make them feel like they’re at home AND work. 

Guests may take longer, mid-week/off-season trips as they want to WFABH (work from anywhere but home.) In a survey conducted between April and May 2021, the booking platform LeaveTown learned that 51% of respondents “anticipate being able to enjoy more time traveling over the next 12 months because of the ability to work remotely.” Those looking to attract these “global nomads” may want to revamp their home office setup by investing in more comfortable office furniture, better WiFi, and various office-related amenities (ex. laptop stands, extra monitors, printers, etc.) 


Properly is the best-in-class quality management tool that helps hosts and managers worldwide adopt best practices, maintain standards, automate critical processes, and avoid guest complaints. 

Sign up for a free 30 day trial of our Advanced Plan to see how we can reduce check-in day stress, save you (and those that help you) time, and help you make the most of the upcoming travel boom!