From the WNAV Office

The 2022 Booking Season Is Off to a Strong Start

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
2.4/5 - (10 votes)

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. 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.


About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.

1 Comment

  • Hi Joan and WNAV Team–I agree that rentals are in high demand again this year— we are fully booked this summer and everyone is a returnee. I so appreciate your work in getting us “on the map” and so capably organizing your site and service so coherently. My granddaughter, Rebecca Freda, is managing the site for me and I am grateful for her speed and willingness, her ability to be so technically responsible and quite prompt.

    I tried to sign up for your virtual/gathering this coming week and not sure I was successful. Anyway could you please register me to attend the meeting if I did not do the registration correctly.

    I also have a question–we have had a very good house cleaner who has been responsible with cleaning and schedule arrangements. We had problems with her distributing sterile packages which we left for each new renter, the first year ”20″ and some of “21” but I assumed much of this was due to language differences and perhaps lack of clarity from the owners position. During that time she did not ask for an increase in her prices although we did talk about it in the midst of that chaos Summer and she declined at the time. This year she has raised her prices by 34.5%. Her service fees were $300 to do a thorough cleaning at the beginning of the season and at the end. Her change-over fee was $150.00 each week. My questions to you and your team are–is this a reasonable increase, were her past fees reasonable? At the time we began working with her, about 3 years ago, we thought her fees were high, but we liked and trusted her, which was important. We have not looked at any other service at this time. What is important to me is a service that does a good change-over cleaning and reliable.

    I would appreciate your feedback about the above questions as well as do you have some idea about what is a reasonable fee for our house and do you have a list of cleaning services you recommend?

    I look forward to hearing from you and tuning in to the virtual meeting.

    Thank you again for your wonderful service.


    Hilary Hays