The Covid-19 crisis is far from over, and the short-term rental industry around the world faces varying degrees of resurrected lockdowns and other challenges as the COVID-19 outbreak spikes and dips.

Skift Research’s US Travel Tracker October 2020 showed that only 37% of Americans traveled in October, mainly to visit friends and families, with small towns and the countryside the most popular destinations.

Hotel stays jumped 8% to 56% of all stays in October, the biggest jump for hotels since the pandemic’s beginning.

Short-term rentals led the tentative recovery in the Spring and into the Summer in many parts of the world, but how will short-term rentals respond when hotels and cities come back in earnest once vaccines are rolled out.

Regulation is having some effect, and the rise of quasi-hotel companies such as Sonder. Professional hosts were responsible for 28% of Airbnb nights booked at the end of 2019, which is likely to rise, while the quality of properties is a major challenge for the STR industry.

It is forecast that property managers can expect Airbnb to extract higher commissions, and to place further limits on host-guest communications, in the near future. Meanwhile Airbnb knows that Google is its biggest threat.

Once vaccines are available, schools will be back, offices will reopen, and the business travel market will start to recover, so short-term rental owners and providers may have to cope with diminished demand in traditional vacation rental markets as cities rebound.

The article concludes that, as happens after most crises, the stronger players will get stronger, and weaker companies will have to adapt or succumb.

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