Vacation rental companies are scrambling to secure housing as summer demand picks up and a drop in vacation numbers during the pandemic fears a supply crunch.
Henrik Kjellberg, chief executive of Avez, which operates across the UK and Europe, said the company is recruiting new homes for its brands as “gangbusters”. “We’ve increased the number of people we’ve focused on” [and] We have streamlined the processes.”
Awaze has added 6,000 new holiday lettuces to its websites so far this year, including Hosessions and Cottages.com, up nearly 40 percent compared to the same period in 2019.
Expedia-owned holiday rental company Verbo said summer demand was up 15 percent from the same period last year and that many “top spots” had already sold out.
High-end holiday let company Vrbo and Plum Guide both said consumers are taking advantage of remote working and booking longer stays, which is also putting pressure on supply.
Airbnb’s success led to increased competition for holiday lattes before the pandemic, but volatile travel restrictions and demand during the crisis prompted some owners to leave the industry.
Strict regulation of short-term rental housing, especially in cities, has also stunted the growth of available properties.
According to industry data provider Transparent, the number of listed holiday rentals in Europe fell from about 6.1mn in August 2019 to 5.8mn in August last year, with the proportion available in cities falling from 62 per cent to 43 per cent.
Popular Mediterranean countries, such as Italy, had 25 percent less housing available in April 2022 than in April 2019, data from analyst AirDNA showed. Portugal had less than 14 per cent.
To increase supply, Vrbo said it was spending “aggressively” on social media platforms to encourage hosts to sign up. It spent the first quarter of the year on US TV advertising targeted at more hosts than ever before.
Meanwhile, Airbnb this month announced an overhaul of its platform to push guests to more unusual places. Globally, non-urban listings grew 15 percent year over year in the first quarter.
Doron Maysed, co-founder and chief executive of Plum Guide, said there was a “big crisis” on short-term rental stocks in cities like New York, where officials last December approved plans for a stricter new licensing regime. But many hosts who had put their properties on long-term leases during the pandemic were beginning to return to the holiday market, he said.
Another surge in supply came from people who had bought homes in rural areas during the pandemic but were now called back more often than they expected to work in city center offices.
“Many people who did that . . . realized that they were not spending as much time as they thought in the place and [are] Renting it out, especially when interest rates rise [it] That’s a good way to monetize it,” Kjellberg said.
Graham Donoghue, chief executive of Sykes Holiday Cottages, said vacationers who enjoyed a home holiday during the period of restricted international travel last year are now going abroad in addition to traveling abroad.
Several operators said that last minute bookings were being done fast.
Awaze said bookings for holidays within the next 28 days were up 9 percent over the same period in 2019, while Plum Guide’s Meyased said occupancy for the next 90 days “operated almost everywhere compared to pre-Covid”. .