People are staying longer in Airbnbs – for now

In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, many alternative accommodations providers have shifted their models to focus on longer-term stays to meet guests’ evolving needs and salvage business amid the pandemic.

In April, Airbnb promoted its pivot in strategy, stating it had more than one million listings on its platform offering extended stays.

According to AllTheRooms Analytics, since Airbnb announced its initiative, the short-term rental market has seen an increase in average lengths of stays.

Its analysis of Airbnb data up through May 14 shows that from January to May of 2020, the average length of stay in the United States increased by 74%. Compared to May of 2019, the average length of stay increased by 109%.

In Europe, the average length of stay in Airbnbs in Italy increased 51% from January to May 2020 and grew 84% compared to May 2019.

France and Spain saw the average length of stay grow by 38% and 49%, respectively, from January to May 2020, with Spain seeing the biggest increase year-over-year at 75% and France at 63%.

The United Kingdom saw the biggest jump in average length of stay, up 154% from January to May 2020 and 222% year-over-year.

According to Joseph DiTomaso, CEO of AllTheRooms Analytics, the U.K. has likely experienced a higher growth in average length of stay compared other countries due to its restricted bookings for essential stays, which are longer in nature.

Will Parry, COO of European property management company Altido, which has pivoted its model to support essential workers and demographics impacted by the pandemic, says that throughout Europe, he has noticed a clear change in guest booking behavior.

“If we compare our Airbnb data from this time last year to spring 2020, we have seen increases in our average length of stay across the board,” he says.

In London, for example, the average length of stay has increased 283% from six nights to 23 nights, though bookings have decreased by 85%, the average number of guests per booking has dropped from 3.2 to 2.1 and the average daily rate has dropped by 56%.

In Scotland, ALTIDO has seen the average length of stay increase 400% from three nights to 15, while in Italy it has increased 245% from 2.9 nights to 10.

Parry says that while these longer-term or what he calls “mid-lets” are currently on the rise, he expects to see the average lengths of stays drop as restrictions ease throughout Europe.

“In our view, it is too early to say whether the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the average length of stay booked via Airbnb.”

DiTomaso agrees: “Regardless of Airbnb’s efforts to promote longer-term stays, in our view the trend towards longer-term stays will revert back to historical averages as countries and states come out of lockdown.”

In a statement, Airbnb says: “We saw growing demand for this type of stay before the pandemic, and expect to continue seeing demand as we move forward.”

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