Despite being battered by the pandemic, short-term rentals on vacation homes have surged. While traditional hotels and vacation clubs seem to struggle to keep their doors open, companies such as Airbnb, Luxury Retreats, and HouseTrip are receiving more interest and bookings. Sparse finances mean fewer people travel overseas for vacation and choose instead to stay within their local environment. The health implications of staying in public spaces such as hotels and cruises have also made people evaluate their vacation plans.
The global pandemic has led to the emergence of new trends among travelers seeking vacation experiences. A study conducted in September by Airbnb, which sampled over a thousand American citizens, found that these respondents were changing their vacation plans for the newly adopted pandemic lifestyle.
After a series of postponements, the online vacation rental company finally has its IPO in December. Airbnb intends to raise $30bn through a SPAC – a special acquisition company when it debuts on the New York Stock Exchange in December. The company has an approximate $85 million market cap today, which is an estimation of the total value of shares of the company.
Airbnb’s move is bold, considering that the pandemic has seriously battered the hospitality and travel sectors, the vacation rental industry’s leading drivers. The company’s listing is one of the year’s most anticipated IPOs.
The company’s decision to go public has been bolstered by the noted survey trends which have been forecasted by industry experts, offering positive insight into demand trends emerging in the vacation rentals sector post-pandemic:
Q3 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more
The surge in holiday bookings and vacation rentals
Prior to the pandemic, the timeshare industry saw its 10th straight year of growth with a 7% sales increase totaling $12.5 billion; This year travel has seen a decline of nearly 34%. While the pandemic has hindered traveling and tourism, it has not dampened holiday travelers’ enthusiasm. There has been a surge in holiday bookings between April and June, seeing approximately 32% weekly growth. Most people still want to get out and see the world, but how they do it has changed. Cruise lines such as Carnival and Norwegian Cruise announced record-breaking bookings, which, following the lifting of restrictions in more countries, has been uplifting for the sector (This is besides customers who had their bookings rescheduled to next summer). These companies’ positive news implies that travel and leisure companies may witness a record turn out next year post-vaccine distribution.
With the acceleration of remote working, many people are now favoring short-term vacation commitments over yearlong leases and rent. Findings from a survey on short-term rentals discovered that a growing number of remote workers are extending their stays on online rental platforms such as Airbnb.
These customers consider moving to another city but want to experience the ins and outs before committing. Others stay in specific destinations for a short period before moving to the next. Whatever may be the case, the rise of remote working has
Published 6:28 a.m. MT Nov. 25, 2020
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed a bill on Tuesday that will enact some of the strictest vacation rental laws Hawaii has seen in more than 40 years.
Time Travel & Leisure
HONOLULU — Airbnb and Expedia Group have agreed to provide Honolulu with information that will help the city enforce its laws governing vacation rentals, the companies and the city said Tuesday.
Hosts will have to provide the “tax map key” property identification number issued by the state of Hawaii when they list a rental on the vacation rental websites. The hosts will also have to provide a Transient Accommodations Tax identification number for the property.
The public will be able to see these numbers on the listings.
Listings lacking these numbers numbers will be removed from the websites.
Honolulu authorities have long struggled to enforce the city’s vacation rental laws, as it’s difficult to prove in court when someone is illegally renting a property on a short-term basis.
This summer: Hawaii struggles to enforce vacation rental quarantines
Honolulu has about 800 legal vacation rental and bed-and-breakfast units. But studies have estimated the city has had about 10 times as many illegal ones.
“We know there are bad actors out there, and this will help us crack down on them. While this is not a panacea, it’s a step forward,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement.
Airbnb and Expedia signed separate agreements with Kauai County earlier this year.
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The city has reached an agreement with Airbnb and Expedia Group on the enforcement of short-term vacation rentals, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the two online platform giants announced today.
The agreement is expected to make it easier for the city to track and regulate vacation rentals and ensure operators are properly taxed.
“We’re going to be able to address problems that have never addressed before,” Caldwell said at a video press conference this afternoon.
Under the agreement, Airbnb and VRBO, an Expedia subsidiary, will provide the city Department of Planning and Permitting with monthly reports detailing information about the operators advertising on their platforms, allowing the agency to more easily verify if a rental is permitted.
The information to be disclosed would include Tax Map Key and Transient Accommodations Tax numbers for each property. If found to be unpermitted, the two companies have agreed to take the ads down.Agreeing to allow ads to be removed “permanently” is a feature unique to Oahu, Caldwell said. In other jurisdictions, “you have to go back and keep scrubbing the lists every so often,” he said.
Kauai County reached a similar agreement with the two companies during the summer. That agreement, however, does not include a permanent removal provision.
Deputy Corporation Counsel Brad Saito, the city’s lead attorney on the vacation rentals issue, said the companies have also agreed to provide education to their advertisers “about what is and what is not allowed in the City and County of Honolulu.”
Max Sword, Expedia’s Hawaii policy advisor, said the agreement “will help the responsible, short-term rental owners and the City and County of Honolulu.” Short-term rentals work well during the pandemic because it allows for better social distancing, he said.
The agreement is beneficial to both operators, who want fair and clearly defined rules, as well as “neighborhoods around Oahu who want to see clear guardrails around the use of vacation rentals in their community,” said Matt Middlebrook, Airbnb Hawaii policy manager.
After years of debate, the Honolulu City Council in 2018 adopted a new ordinance cracking down on illegal vacation rentals.
Under the plan, the city was supposed to allow up to 1,700 new permits for bed and breakfast operations across the island starting Oct 1. But in September, the Council adopted Bill 50 pushing the start-up date to no earlier than April 30.
Saito said DPP is in the process of drafting rules which it hopes to take out for public hearing during the first quarter of next year.
Since the new law has been in place, the city has issued 181 violation notices, Saito said.
In challenging times, an extra obstacle can seem exponentially burdensome. Every traveler is dealing with the restrictions caused by the response to the Coronavirus, but for additionally marginalized groups or even those travelers who make personal security a priority, comfortable and safe travel takes on a new meaning.
The Airbnb phenomenon saw much of its popularity grow because it gave the appearance of being superior to the traditional hotel. Airbnb properties generally offered more space, better amenities and more local information. However, there are some common problems that have caused a drop in Airbnb popularity, namely illegal rentals, untrustworthy hosts, false advertising and last minute cancellations. In fairness, Covid-19 has taken the biggest bite out of nearly every aspect of the travel industry.
At times like these, where concerns for safety are larger than what can be contained in a bottle of hand sanitizer, the reassurance of friends, or even friends of friends, can be more important than a concierge with an electronic thermometer. Enter myfriendlyhost.com, a new travel app that helps travelers looking for safe vacation rentals. The service is unique as it has become a partner of Facebook, and uses the capabilities of the network to provide safe accommodation for rent from friends. In contrast with Airbnb, in which the traveler nearly always rents from strangers, myfriendlyhost.com creates a network where travelers can rent from “friends.”
The associated app allows users to see if they’re connected through friends to the service providers. This gives a feeling of security, as those providers are already in a safe circle of friends. With no booking fees, no intermediaries, and only direct communication (the app resembles Instagram), the traveler can see a list of both friends and mutual friends who might be a property host.
On the flipside, the service provider, who is often a property owner disillusioned by Airbnb and its anti-owner policies (such as taking high commissions) has turned to alternatives such as booking.com and flipkey.com. Though myfriendlyhost.com is a safe alternative to Airbnb, it also boasts that it is more B2B than strictly B2C since the property owner also has concerns regarding safety and property liability. Renting to people within a friendly network is simply good for business.
The list of stakeholders behind this concept begins with the investors from startaventures.com, whose website states, “the only way to go big is to go global.” The inequity addressed by this venture is indeed on a global scale. Ironically, though the concept is global, it all began with two brothers, Victor and Sergej Semeniaka.
In October 2020, the total monthly supply of Hawaii vacation rentals was 373,600 unit nights (-57.0%) and monthly demand was 85,000 unit nights (-86.4%), resulting in an average monthly unit occupancy of 22.7 percent (-49.1 percentage points).
In comparison, Hawaii’s hotels had an average occupancy rate of 19.7 percent in October 2020. It is important to note that unlike hotels, condominium hotels, timeshare resorts, and vacation rental units are not necessarily available year-round or each day of the month and often accommodate a larger number of guests than traditional hotel rooms. The unit average daily rate (ADR) for Hawaii vacation rental units statewide in October was $208, which was higher than the ADR for hotels ($174).
The state’s pre-travel testing program started on October 15, allowing passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county to bypass the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 NAAT test result from a Trusted Testing and Travel Partner. All other trans-Pacific travelers continued to be subject to the 14-day self-quarantine. The counties of Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, and Kalawao (Molokai) also had a partial quarantine in place in October.
On Oahu, short-term rentals (rented for less than 30 days) were not allowed to operate at the beginning of October. However, when Oahu moved to Tier 2 of its Reopening Plan on October 22, legal short-term rentals were allowed to reopen. For Maui County, travelers awaiting their pre-travel test results were allowed to stay at a vacation rental as their place of quarantine. On Hawaii Island and Kauai, legal short-term rentals were allowed to operate as long as they were not being used as a quarantine location.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority’s (HTA) Tourism Research Division issued the report’s findings utilizing data compiled by Transparent Intelligence, Inc. The data in this report specifically excludes units reported in HTA’s Hawaii Hotel Performance Report and Hawaii Timeshare Quarterly Survey Report. In this report, a vacation rental is defined as the use of a rental house, condominium unit, private room in private home, or shared room/space in private home. This report also does not determine or differentiate between units that are permitted or unpermitted. The “legality” of any given vacation rental unit is determined on a county basis.
In October, Maui County had the largest vacation rental supply of all four counties with 138,500 available unit nights, which was a decrease of 53.5 percent compared to a year ago. Unit demand was 29,051 unit nights (-87.6%), resulting in 21.0 percent occupancy (-57.6 percentage points) with an ADR of $227 (-36.2%). Maui County hotels were 14.2 percent occupied with an ADR of $226.
Oahu vacation rental supply was 96,500 available unit nights (-59.4%) in October. Unit demand was 26,300 unit nights (-84.6%), resulting in 27.2 percent occupancy (-44.3 percentage points) and an ADR of $173 (-32.7%). Oahu hotels were 22.0 percent occupied with an ADR of $158.
The Island of Hawaii vacation rental supply was 80,000 available unit nights (-61.7%) in October. Unit demand was 17,416 unit nights (-86.7%),
The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) released its Hawaiʻi Vacation Rental Performance Report for October. It shows Maui County had the largest vacation rental supply of all four counties with 138,500 available unit nights, which was a decrease of 53.5 percent compared to a year ago.
Unit demand was 29,051 unit nights (-87.6%), resulting in 21 percent occupancy (-57.6 percentage points) with an average daily rate (ADR) of $227 (-36.2%). Maui County hotels were 14.2 percent occupied with an ADR of $226.
For the entire state, the total monthly supply of statewide vacation rentals was 373,600 unit nights (-57.0%) and monthly demand was 85,000 unit nights (-86.4%), resulting in an average monthly unit occupancy of 22.7 percent (-49.1 percentage points). Hawaiʻi’s hotels had an average occupancy rate of 19.7 percent.
It is important to note that unlike hotels, condominium hotels, timeshare resorts and vacation rental units are not necessarily available year-round or each day of the month and often accommodate a larger number of guests than traditional hotel rooms. The unit average daily rate (ADR) for vacation rental units statewide in October was $208, which was higher than the ADR for hotels ($174), according to the report.
The state’s pre-travel testing program started on Oct. 15, allowing passengers arriving from out-of-state and traveling inter-county to bypass the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine with a valid negative COVID-19 test result from a trusted partner. All other transpacific travelers continued to be subject to the 14-day self-quarantine. The counties of Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, Maui and Kalawao (Molokai) also had a partial quarantine in place in October.
For Maui County, travelers awaiting their pre-travel test results were allowed to stay at a vacation rental as their place of quarantine. On Hawaiʻi Island and Kauaʻi, legal short-term rentals were allowed to operate as long as they were not being used as a quarantine location.
On Oahu, short-term rentals (rented for less than 30 days) were not allowed to operate at the beginning of October. However, when Oahu moved to Tier 2 of its Reopening Plan on Oct. 22, legal short-term rentals were allowed to reopen.
Other Island Highlights:
Oahu vacation rental supply was 96,500 available unit nights (-59.4%) in October. Unit demand was 26,300 unit nights (-84.6%), resulting in 27.2 percent occupancy (-44.3 percentage points) and an ADR of $173 (-32.7%). Oahu hotels were 22 percent occupied with an ADR of $158.
The Big Island vacation rental supply was 80,000 available unit nights (-61.7%) in October. Unit demand was 17,416 unit nights (-86.7%), resulting in 21.8 percent occupancy (-40.8 percentage points) with an ADR of $192 (-26.3%). Big Island hotels were 19.8 percent occupied with an ADR of $140.
Kauaʻi had the fewest number of available unit nights in October at 58,500 (-52.5%). Unit demand was 12,300 unit nights (-86.1%), resulting in 21.0 percent occupancy (-50.6 percentage points) with an ADR of $261 (-34.2%). Kauaʻi hotels were 21.3 percent occupied with an ADR of $212.
Repurposing Space: Broadening Your Vacation Rental’s Appeal
Work From Home Fatigue
As shelter orders persist across the country, many have started to experience fatigue associated with working from home. Similar to the “cabin fever” that has prompted parks, beaches, and other public spaces to swell to capacity on weekends (and sometimes weekdays), we’re finding that while there are many advantages to working from home, the monotony of our streamlined routines is starting to present challenges—both mental and physical.
Not only that, but background noise and Internet bandwidth challenges can also make focus and connectivity more difficult during crunch times and important meetings. In a reversal from the initial excitement that surrounded the prospect of working from home more frequently, it is becoming clear that some of the disadvantages are hard to overcome.
Whether because of lost productivity arising from other occupants or family members sharing the space, loss of motivation from living/sleeping/working in the same space, or simply an innate desire to add variety to a daily routine, alternatives to the individual home office are quickly gaining traction. And with recent announcements of further delays in reopening by large organizations in the Bay Area and beyond, creative solutions will be needed sooner rather than later.
Broadening Your Rental’s Appeal
If you own a short-term rental property, you may want to consider options for catering to the daily rental needs of remote workers desiring a workspace outside of their own homes. Depending on the market, travel patterns have changed rapidly in response to quarantine orders. Many rental properties—as well as hotels—are sitting empty, representing significant losses for commercial and private owners alike. However, owners of short-term rental properties are well-positioned to capitalize on changing travel habits by broadening their target audience, thereby potentially offsetting losses.
While those traveling for pleasure might be fewer and farther between, rental owners have an opportunity to attract the “business traveler” who is seeking either long- or short-term respite from the home office. Whereas these types of vacation spaces might have once seemed a luxury for the typical worker, they are quickly gaining traction because of their many advantages.
Planning Upgrades and Amenities
These days, nearly all vacation rental properties provide the most basic infrastructure to support a remote workplace—Wi-Fi. With some additional planning, though, properties can be taken to the next level by layering on specialty amenities targeted directly at this new breed of remote worker. While cost may be a factor when determining just how far your upgrades go, even just a few unique details can make a difference when it comes to a remote workflow.
Knowing where to start and what questions to ask before implementing any changes can be made easier by consulting a Project Manager (PM) who can guide both your initial exploration and ultimately manage implementation of any changes you wish to make. With their industry knowledge, they can quickly advise on suitable upgrades that would appeal most to someone looking for an extension of their office. Consider how the
Part of the allure of getting away is to experience a different environment and that includes the architecture of the place you’re staying. It may not be possible to live full-time in a tiny house the size of a bedspread or a floating house on the river, but it’s fun to spend a few days there.
Here’s the fourth in a series of travel stories spotlighting the architecture of vacation stays.
Portland-based Vacasa compiled a list of the most famous architectural styles and matched each to one of the 25,000 vacation rental properties it manages across the U.S.
We also looked at Airbnb, Vrbo, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Hotels.com and other online travel agencies to see what’s being offered.
Before you start a trip after the two-week freeze has been lifted, check govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19 for the most current travel recommendations and best practices to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. Also read 10 things to consider before going back outside during the coronavirus pandemic in Oregon.
For all of Oregon, face coverings are required for everyone five and older in indoor public spaces and outdoors anywhere physical distancing isn’t possible.
Each vacation rental should state its contactless, safety and disinfecting protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
>Work from someone else’s Oregon home: Book an office getaway
>Rent an Oregon RV: Escape to nature with a roomy RV, sleek Airstream or colorful camper van
For more vacation homes in different architectural styles, check back on Fridays for places to stay that represent A-frame, Art Deco, Adobe, Cape Cod, Craftsman, Contemporary, Dome, Farmhouse, Log cabin, Lighthouse, Modern, Ranch, Treehouse, Tudor, Victorian and other styles.
The fancy floating homes we see today sprang from humble fishing shacks, anchored to river banks or plopped on tethered logs. Now, storied abodes, resting on highly engineered concrete platforms, rise to the sky.
The original shacks used by fishermen and independent thinkers were heated with an oil burner or a wood stove. They had tar-paper roofs, basic lapboard siding and wood floorboards, and no insulation.
Over time, with the introduction of moorages, dock systems and yacht clubs, houseboats evolved into floating homes, and that meant licenses, leases and personal property taxes. The modest getaways became luxury waterfront houses with spacious decks.
Don’t call a floating house, anchored to a semi-permanent location on the water, a “houseboat” unless it truly is a live-aboard vessel that has its own motor and is free to travel the waterways.
Tomahawk Island cozy houseboat in Portland: This floating tiny home, described by the owner as “a little slice of paradise,” is docked at the Tomahawk Island Marina on Hayden Island.
The simple studio has an upgraded kitchenette and the basic bathroom has a shower and toilet. The outdoor deck space overlooks the Columbia River.
Accommodates two guests
Around $81 a night on average, depending on travel dates
A wide range of dwellings can be called a tiny house.