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4 travel trends to prepare for in 2021

This is a guest post from Guesty OTA partner Vrbo.

For the past 25 years, Vrbo has helped countless families create lasting vacation memories all over the world. And for the past several years, we have released an annual Trend Report using travel demand data to find trends shaping travel for the upcoming year.

In addition to analyzing data from its own global vacation rental marketplace, Vrbo invited family travelers from around the world to take part in a first-of-its-kind consumer survey to help uncover what to expect for family travel in 2021. Four of the top themes from the Vrbo 2021 Travel Trends Report* are included below, along with suggestions to help vacation rental property managers prepare for the new year. 

Travel Slowed Down, But Travel Planning Didn’t

Even though most families had to cancel a trip due to COVID-19 last year, travel is still top of mind and they are are making plans for 2021. 

  • 82% of families already have travel plans for 2021.
  • Vrbo users created 15.7M Trip Boards this past spring and summer to plan future trips.
  • 22% of travelers said a vacation would improve mental health and act as self-care.

Get Prepared: Get attention from families planning their dream vacation by updating your Vrbo listings with fresh photos and making sure amenities are correct.

Pandemic Travel Habits May Be Hard To Break

With ongoing travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines still in place, we expect many of the top travel habits of 2020 to continue. On Vrbo, families will continue to take road trips, visit the great outdoors, and take Flexcations – longer stays mixing work and play.

  • 59% of families say they are more likely to drive instead of fly on their next trip.
  • 61% of families said they are more likely to visit an outdoorsy destination than an urban one.
  • 67% of travelers who took a Flexcation this year said they would do it again.

Get Prepared: Highlight features in and around your property to accommodate families planning a Flexcation — Internet/Wi-Fi, pets allowed, and well-equipped kitchens are a great start. 

Cozy Accommodations At River And Lake Destinations Rise To The Top

Vrbo demand data shows that travel to lakes and rivers is increasing in popularity. With travelers looking for destinations with outdoor activities, it seems natural that the coziest Vrbo accommodations – cabins and chalets – are the most in-demand properties for families looking for a unique place to get away from it all.

  • Vrbo demand for cabins increased nearly 25% and chalets were up almost 20% year-over-year.
  • Four of the top five emerging US  destinations are near rivers or lakes with fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. 

Get Prepared: Entice families looking for an outdoor escape by mentioning outdoor activities in the area on your property description. 

Families Want A Vacation Redo

Travel plans often had to change in 2020. Rather than scrapping a canceled trip completely, families want to make up for lost time in the new year and redo their canceled vacation plans when they can. They are also hoping to reconnect with family they may not have seen in the past year.

  • 44% who had a trip canceled due to COVID-19 plan on rescheduling the same vacation.
  • 54% who want a redo say they were looking forward to going to that destination.
  • 31% say the main reason they want to go on their next trip is to spend quality time with family.

Get Prepared: Travelers are looking for flexibility in case their plans need to change. You can set up customized cancellation policies for your Vrbo listings easily through Guesty.

Be Prepared For The Year Ahead

While nobody can fully predict what will happen in the next year, Vrbo is committed to helping vacation rental property managers reach millions of families looking to book. On average, families who book on Vrbo spend 5x more than other travelers and stay 3x longer than other travelers.**

Read the full 2021 Travel Trend Report.

As we look towards the return of travel, make sure to get the most out of your short-term rentals. 

List your properties with Vrbo today.

*The report is based on results from a survey of 8,000+ people from 8 countries, as well as Vrbo travel demand for the 12-month period ending August 31, 2020.

**When compared with travelers across Expedia Group’s portfolio of brands. ComScore January 2020; Vrbo internal data 2019.

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