Daniel Elliott is the Marketing Content Manager at Beyond (formerly Beyond Pricing). Beyond is a data-driven dynamic pricing solution for vacation rental hosts and managers. From automatic price adjustments, to insightful market analysis, Beyond helps industry professionals earn more per booking.
When it comes to revenue management for the short-term rental market in 2021, it’s clear that using 2020 pace data may be a tad misleading, to say the least. That doesn’t rule out all historical data, however, as using data prior to 2020 can still provide necessary insight into market and portfolio performance.
We recently took a look at what the London and Scotland markets were experiencing as the world slowly recovers from the pandemic and things start to get back to normal.
- Booking lead time has decreased significantly in London since the start of the pandemic, and that’s still the case as guests are booking stays closer to their arrival more than ever before.
- Compared to 2019, demand in the market is still low for the majority of 2021, with most guests not choosing to make bookings outside of the next 30 days.
- While the London market is starting to slowly see booking activity rise, the market overall still has a lot of recovering to do as urban city destinations pace behind rural and coastal markets that have seen more domestic leisure demand over the past year.
Source: Beyond Data
In the London market, for example, the chart above displays all bookings that have been made over the past 21 days by their check-in week. Additionally, the same values for 2019 are included to provide pacing context for the entire market.
Overall, guests that have made reservations in London listings over the past 21 days are overwhelmingly arriving in the short term. Compared to 2019, booking lead times seem to be shortening, with the majority of recently-made bookings arriving just a few days after they have been booked. For late Spring and all of Summer in London, bookings made over the past 21 days are pacing behind the same period in 2019 which was more of a “normal” year than 2020.
This type of booking pattern shows how travelers are still focusing on making bookings for the short term and may not be confident with traveling over the course of the Summer at this time.
In general, the London market has also seen a decrease in occupancy for the beginning of 2021 compared to early 2019 and 2020 as overall demand is still depressed due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Booking lead time has decreased significantly in Scotland since the start of the pandemic, and that is still the case as guests are booking stays closer to their arrival more than ever before.
- Recently updated travel restrictions now allow UK residents to visit Scotland for short stays, and international travel may be allowed for vaccinated tourists later this year.
- Summer booking pace is in line with 2019 and overall occupancy levels look promising as tourists continue to bet on summer travel.
Source: Beyond Data
In Scotland, for example, the chart above displays all bookings that have been made over the past 21 days by their check-in week. Additionally, the same values for 2019 are included to provide pacing context for the entire market compared to a “normal” year.
Recently, the European Commission stated that vaccinated tourists will soon be able to freely travel to the European Union based on current vaccination rollout trends. In the above chart, we can see how booking pace over the past 3 weeks has been in line with 2019 summer booking trends. This is a welcome sign for Scotland’s self-caterers who are counting on strong Summer business this year. Occupancy rates for Summer months are also pacing in line or above 2020 and 2019 so far.
Regions like Argyll & The Isles are set to be some of the first markets to see strong travel recovery, as domestic tourism to the area can help provide a much needed escape. In Argyll, recent booking pace for May has already begun to exceed demand for the same dates back in 2019.
Edinburgh, on the other hand, is still seeing shorter-than-average booking lead time and low demand in the short term through the middle of June. Market dynamics will continue to play an important role in overall travel demand recovery and should always be factored into a revenue management strategy.
In general, demand for short term rentals in Scotland is still recovering from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are promising signs on the horizon, however, and the evolution of travel restrictions will no doubt continue to have an impact on the industry for the rest of the year.