Labelled as the biggest disruptor in the travel industry, the short stay sector has boomed over the past decade and shows no sign of slowing down.
In London alone, City Hall acknowledged that the 2.2 million guests who stayed in short-term rentals in the year to July 2018 generated £1.3bn for the local economy, but what does the industry have in store next?
Industry giant, Booking.com, the largest travel e-commerce website in the world with 5.6 million vacation rental homes, apartments and other unique places to stay predicts that 2020 will be a year of travel exploration like never before fuelled by technology.
Ahead of its show in London next month (12 March), the Short Stay Show, a leading event for the short stay hospitality and accommodation industry, has asked its partners to reveal the trends that they believe will take the industry from strength to strength in this new decade, and beyond.
Trend 1 – Tech-spect the unexpected
Booking.com also says, in 2020, we will see travellers put key aspects of their decision-making process even more firmly in the hands of technology. Smart, trusted tech-led recommendations will connect us to a myriad of new experiences that might not otherwise have crossed our path, while also saving time (as well as screen-time) and enabling us to max out every minute of ‘now’ while on vacation.
This will be music to the ears of the almost six in 10 (59%) people who say they want tech to offer them ‘wildcard’ and surprise options that would introduce them to something entirely new in the coming year.
Trend 2 – Attracting the business traveller
Quality in Tourism, which works with hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses to provide expertise and advice, explains that the industry will need to adapt to accommodate the business traveller properly. Many will have to prove much more robust process to engage with this audience and to satisfy companies due diligence and duty of care programs, alongside the new wellbeing programs that many are adopting.
Trend 3 – Immediate responses
Gone are the days of long booking processes. In 2020, missed calls mean missed bookings and a staggering 69 per cent of enquirers will never leave a message. Moneypenny, the UK’s largest provider of call answering and live chat technology, says that more and more bookers expect an immediate response to their queries from accommodation providers and will go elsewhere if they don’t get it, particularly as the market becomes more competitive.
Trend 4 – Built-to-rent boom
Guesty, a software that simplifies the complex operational needs of short let property managers, is tracking the built to rent boom and has identified it as a key industry trend for the next 10 years. According to Savills’, the build-to-rent (BTR) sector is set to grow the most in value of the UK’s stock of residential operational real estate, rising from today’s £9.6 billion to a potential £543.6 billion, providing homes for more than 1.7 million households. In response to the challenges of getting on the housing ladder, millennials are embracing and demanding flexible living sans any commitments. This so-called “NOwnership” generation fits incredibly well into the short-term rental ecosystem as they provide landlords with income during periods where long lets are not feasible. The additional stock also adds much-needed lodging options in busy cities and attracts travellers to less typically ‘tourist’ parts of a city.