Airbnb and Vrbo grapple for more hosts amid fresh demand

To woo homeowners onto its platform, Airbnb is offering mentorship, while Vrbo will let users transfer ratings.

June 22, 2021

It’s hot vax summer, baby!

Competition is heating up between home-sharing platforms Airbnb and Vrbo as Americans hit the road.

Airbnb and Expedia Group’s Vrbo are both recruiting new hosts to their platforms as demand outpaces supply, per The Wall Street Journal.

The state of short-term rentals

April 2021 saw the highest-ever occupancy rate for short-term rentals (STRs) in the US at 61.6%, per data from AirDNA.

Travelers also stayed 25% longer — likely due to new remote-friendly work policies.

Meanwhile, there are fewer open properties as owners removed them amid the pandemic, often to stay in them themselves. As of May, ~52k new units had been added to Airbnb and Vrbo, 10% lower than usual.

To get more room supply:

  • Airbnb is offering mentorship for new hosts, referral payments, and an easier sign-up process.
  • Vrbo is attempting to siphon guests from its rivals, letting Airbnb hosts transfer their ratings. Vrbo claims thousands of hosts have participated in its Fast Start program.

Where are people staying?

Demand in small-town and rural markets was up by 67% compared to April 2019. Destination and resort locations were also up 25% YoY.

Conversely, demand in the 50 most populous cities was down by 41%.

Overall, AirDNA predicts at least 2 years of higher occupancy rates due to fewer short-term rental units and higher demand.

While Airbnb and Vrbo battle for hot rental properties, they are partnering on one thing: shutting down those nuisance party homes everyone’s always complaining about on Nextdoor.

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