Happy New Year indeed! Across the Cape and Islands region, numbers in every category (traffic, inquiries, and bookings) are up dramatically over this time last year. And last year’s start was very strong as well.
A quick look at the numbers
We’ve been receiving very positive feedback from homeowners thus far in the booking season. Here’s one example:
“In the past, I usually didn’t get many inquiries for my small 2-bedroom condo until January. This year was very different, with inquiries coming in September — and I’m nearly fully booked!” – Brewster homeowner
Vacationer traffic: The number of vacationers using our site continues to grow significantly – up as much as 40% over the last 3 months of 2021 vs the same time in 2020.
Inquiries: Inquiries to date (January 3, 2022) have increased 22% over the same point last year. And last year’s booking season started out strong as well.
Part of the credit goes to our excellent marketing team. Their creative and engaging strategies are attracting record numbers of vacationers. And once on our site, they’re sticking: The site is easy to use, provides really helpful information about the region, things to do, etc., and is free to use vs. other rental sites that charge vacationers as much as 14.2% in booking fees.
Bookings: Naturally, with high traffic and inquiry numbers, bookings have risen as well. Overall, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket bookings are up 53% over this time last year. (Again, there was a strong start then, too.)
Summer bookings alone are 51% above last year’s early bookings. Spring bookings are up 52%, and fall’s are up 73%.
Why the continued high demand?
As the pandemic continues, the desire to return to the Cape and Islands only increases. Short-term rentals here provide the ideal antidote: a perfect combination of privacy, comfort, and safety in a beautiful and fun environment not too far from home. And vacationing on the Cape and, to a lesser extent, the Islands, remains an affordable family vacation destination, despite the recent increases in rental rates and the lodging tax.
An industry-wide perspective
What’s happening in the general STR (short-term rental) marketplace? What are some of the current trends, and how does the Cape and Islands market fit into those trends? Traveler behaviors constantly change. Here are some insights from VRMA and other industry experts (read more).
- Flexible cancellations will continue to be the norm. The pandemic continues to cause uncertainty, and vacationers are concerned about long-term and expensive commitments. According to Holidu CEO Johannes Siebers, “Vacation rentals with flexible cancellation policies generate up to five times more bookings.” While we at WNAV don’t necessarily advocate flexible policies, we do think it’s important for you to review your policy in light of the pandemic. Read more of our advice about Cancellation Policy Options.
- Vacation rentals will keep winning market share from hotels. They provide a safer and more private option, particularly for families.
- Rural and outdoor destinations will continue to thrive. The pandemic has had a strong impact on vacationers’ needs, and certain types of properties and locations are now in higher demand than others.
- Sustainability will be top of mind. Even before the pandemic, sustainability has grown in popularity in the vacation industry, and there’s little doubt that the demand for sustainable travel options will continue to grow. The Green Amenities section on your listing allows vacationers to view any green measures you have taken in your home.
- A stronger emphasis will be placed on photos/videos, amenities, and communication. Breezeway CEO Jeremy Gall anticipates that focusing on enhancing the guest experience will accelerate the professionalization of the short-term rental market: “The industry is shifting from a transactional give-and-take to a service-based and experience-oriented relationship.” For some years now, we have promoted the benefits of homeowners providing an enjoyable experience for their guests rather than simply a place for them to stay. Read more about “Managing your Guests’ Experience” near the end of our post Adapting to the VR’s New Normal and in our post Optimizing Your Listing .)
- Domestic and relatively nearby vacation destinations will continue to thrive due to Omicron and the continuance of the COVID pandemic. Fortunately, the Cape and Islands are ideally situated within an easy drive of the most highly populated region of the country.
Safely.com CEO Andrew Bate contends that “the blurring of work and leisure travel, coupled with continued concern over safety and privacy, will mean demand for vacation rentals as the preferred accommodation option will remain high, heightening the growing appetite for rural and coastal resort destinations.”
Thus, we remain very optimistic that this year will, once again, be a very strong year for Cape and Islands rentals, which are well positioned to take advantage of the current vacationer demand.