In November, short-term rental bookings went up as news of a COVID-19 vaccine helped boost traveler confidence.
Now, with the rollout of the vaccine underway, forecasts predict that it will still take some time for Airbnb occupancy rates to recover; however, national daily rates are expected to grow throughout 2021.
According to real estate data analytics platform Mashvisor’s Airbnb Market Forecast, which examined historical data on Airbnb occupancy rates and daily rates across 169 cities, it will take until September 2021 for Airbnb occupancy rates to recover in the United States.
As the vaccine is made more widely available to the general public this year, Mashvisor expects the national Airbnb occupancy rate to gradually improve each month in 2021 compared to 2020.
In April 2021, for example, the average forecasted Airbnb occupancy rate is 45.5%, compared to the 2020 average Airbnb occupancy rate of 48.9%. By the following month, May, the average forecasted occupancy rate is 52.9% compared to 56% in 2020.
By September 2021, the average forecasted daily rate is expected to equal that of 2020 at 61.1%.
Because Airbnb occupancy rates will remain lower than historical averages for the first eight months of this year, Mashvisor predicts that Airbnb daily rates will be higher in 2021 compared to 2020.
The reason will likely be twofold: In the early months of 2021, as hosts still struggle with fewer bookings, the increase in daily rates will be the result of hosts trying to offset lost income. Additionally, during spring and summer months when demand gradually increases, hosts will be able to charge higher rates to meet market demand.
For example, in April 2021, the average forecasted Airbnb daily rate is $188 compared to the average Airbnb daily rate in 2020 of $162. By October 2021, the average forecasted daily rate is up to $212 compared to $179 in October 2020.
“A COVID-19 vaccine is good news for the Airbnb market and travel industry in general. But recovery won’t happen overnight,” says Mashvisor CEO Taylor Valore.
“As the vaccine is made gradually available to the public, we’ll start to see bookings and occupancy rates pick up throughout 2021. Once data confirms that the majority of the population has been vaccinated, only then will most travelers feel safe to take trips and book Airbnbs again.”