Welcome to our latest installment of The Pulse of the Ecosystem, our monthly recap of the biggest events that took place over the last month, and how they impact the current and future state of our ecosystem.
With the summer travel season heating up, this month saw a lot of movement on the OTA front, with partnerships forming and new offerings entering the fold. There were also several acquisitions as different players looked to consolidate their place in the short-term rental ecosystem, and feature releases that cater to the increasing number of solo travelers— a growing trend that comes with the newly popular ‘live and work from anywhere’ lifestyle.
Let’s dive right in.
US Lifts Covid Testing Requirements For International Travelers
In a huge step towards a post-pandemic US, the Biden administration has formally waived the requirement to undergo any form of pre-departure COVID test before arriving in the United States by plane.
Lifting the testing requirement is predicted to draw an additional 5.4 million visitors to the US over the remainder of 2022, which is likely to generate $9 billion for the travel economy, according to an analysis by the travel industry trade group.
Find out everything you need to know and more in our blog post.
As Hopper seeks to implement changes that satisfy the demands of travelers in a post-pandemic world, flexibility is the name of the game.
Leave Anytime Policy
For a small fee (paid upon booking), Hopper will now let customers leave the hotel at any time, for any reason whatsoever, putting their guests firmly in the driver’s seat and showing their commitment to the guest experience. This means that unhappy guests can jump ship to another hotel, and Hopper will even cover 100% of the rebooking costs.
Extending Insurance Offering to Third-Party Bookings
They’re also expanding their range of fintech products with the introduction of Standalone Trip Protection, allowing travelers to add protection for bookings made outside of Hopper. This insurance covers flight delays and cancellations and refunds travelers with either Hopper’s “Carrot Cash” or flight credit.
Partnering with Vrbo on Global Vacation Rentals
In efforts to establish themselves in the short-term rental game and supplement their flight, hotel, and car rental products, Hopper has partnered up with Expedia’s Vrbo. Vrbo is providing them with vacation rentals, whilst taking care of all things bookings and customer services related.
Airbnb Travel Insurance
After two years in the pipeline, Airbnb is set to roll out travel insurance for their guests, with huge insurance industry names behind the initiative, namely Europ Assistance, Generali, and AON. The insurance pledges payment of up to 100% of guests’ non-refunded Airbnb reservation costs if a trip is impacted by events such as bad weather, illness, or stolen documents.
Solo Safety Becomes Paramount – a new feature for lone travelers
The solo travel market is booming, which is great news for property managers, as these travelers are coming for a good time AND a long time. 26% of nights booked on Airbnb in 2021, and over 50% of nights booked for long-term stays during the first quarter of 2022 were solo travelers. In response, Airbnb’s Trust team has launched a safety feature specifically for this persona.
Airbnb Introduces Co-Hosting Capabilities
Airbnb is looking to take advantage of its ecosystem and foster a community where hosts can enlist the help of property managers to help manage their property. Their PMC subsidiary now provides various co-hosting tools for the platform, including a new co-hosting marketplace where property managers can showcase and provide their services.
Acquisitions in the Ecosystem
This month saw several companies growing with new acquisitions, including VTrips, which has acquired four rental management companies, Altido, which continues to grow with two new acquisitions, and HomeToGo, which continues on its acquisition spree.
HomeToGo Fully Acquires SECRA
Vacation rental metasearch business and OTA, HomeToGo, has acquired the remaining 81% stake in German VR technology company SECRA, marking their third acquisition this calendar year. SECRA provides tech solutions to enhance the marketing of properties for hosts, rental agencies, and destinations.
Altido (PMC) Acquires Flatty and A & A Apartments & Boats
European PMC Altido—which was recently acquired by co-living company DoveVivo—is continuing on its strong growth trajectory with the acquisition of Flatty and A & A Apartments & Boats. With this, it adds over 50 apartments to its portfolio, which stands at 1,000+ short-term rental properties and 700 pop-up hotel beds across 20 cities.
Sykes Holiday Cottages (PMC) Acquires UKcaravans4hire
UK-based PMC Sykes has entered the caravan holiday market with the acquisition of the static caravan rental website UKcaravans4hire, adding around 6,000 holiday homes to their portfolio, which now stands at 22,500+ holiday homes.
VTrips Acquires Four Rental Management Companies
VTrips is rapidly growing throughout the US. This month, they have acquired Carolina Retreats, Silver Sands Vacation Rentals, Tybee Vacation Rentals, and Miss Kitty’s Fishing Getaways, adding 1,200 properties to its portfolio that now stands at 7,000.
There you have it— this month’s biggest, most salient news from the short-term rental industry. At Guesty, we’ve always got our finger on the pulse, so check back soon for more news and updates next month.