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Survey Sees Surge in Vacation Rental Bookings in Coming Months

Europ Assistance and subsidiary Generali Global Assistance release findings of joint Vacation Rental Barometer to measure market popularity

Europ Assistance and Generali Global Assistance have announced findings from Vacation Rental Barometer, a joint international survey of some 8,700 travelers across eight countries in the United States and Europe. The poll, conducted between February 28 and April 1, 2021, found that of the respondents who indicated they would be traveling in the next 18 months some 71 percent would be booking a vacation rental. In fact, 78 percent of travelers indicated they are more likely to book a vacation rental above all other types of accommodations in the months to come and 86 percent said they would be more likely to continue booking these hospitality options after the pandemic.

Vacation rentals are largely booked for leisure but there is an interest from a quarter (22 percent) of travelers who indicated they would book for work related reasons (9 percent for business travel and 13 percent for an extended stay for work / digital nomad / flexcation). The top Three Motivations for choosing a Vacation Rental: 1) Comfort, 2) Tranquility, 3) Privacy.

“Given the pent-up demand for travel it’s not surprising that approximately 80 percent of respondents indicated that they planned to travel in the next 18 months. Based on the findings of our Vacation Rental Barometer and current industry trends, we anticipate that travelers will flock to vacation rentals as they look to have a relaxing socially distanced getaway,” said Chris Carnicelli, CEO of Generali Global Assistance.

Upcoming Travel Plans

• 71 percent of travelers indicated they would book a vacation rental in the next 18 months.

• 47 percent of Europeans are planning a summer trip (from July – September) compared to 35 percent of Americans with summer being the most popular travel season.

• 21 percent of American travelers indicated they planned to travel this fall, while Europeans were more likely to wait until 2022 & beyond to plan their trip when compared to Americans (20 percent vs 17 percent).

Destination Preferences

• 49 percent of all travelers surveyed indicated they planned to take their next trip domestically, with Americans (71 percent) the most likely to travel close to home.

• 55 percent of European travelers, on the other hand, indicated that they plan to travel abroad.

• Travelers in Spain (57 percent), Italy (54 percent) and Portugal (51 percent) opted to take their next trip domestically, while more travelers in Belgium (29 percent), Germany (39 percent), the UK (40 percent) and France (45 percent) had plans to travel abroad.

New Travel Habits

• Top Three Criteria when picking a destination as a result of COVID:

1) Destination has clear cleaning protocols

2) Density and crowding of the location gets

3) Choice of travel companions

• Vaccine availability was most likely to impact travel plans for both Europeans (83 percent) and Americans (82 percent).

• 66 percent of Europeans and 64 percent of Americans indicated that making COVID vaccinations mandatory to board a flight wouldn’t impact them as they already planned to take the vaccine.

• 21 percent of European travelers who were undecided about taking the vaccine indicated they would consider it if it was mandatory to take a flight.

Travel Insurance Preferences

• 70 percent of Europeans and 64 percent of Americans indicated they would be more likely to purchase travel insurance as a result of the pandemic.

• 44 percent of Europeans compared to 33 percent had purchased travel insurance when booking a vacation rental in the past.

• The top three coverages that reassured travelers looking to book vacation rentals are:

1) cancellation in the event of COVID Infection or confinement (43 percent)

2) Medical Assistance & Repatriation (22 percent)

3) Reimbursement of unused travel days in case their stay is interrupted (20 percent)

• 23 percent of Americans favored coverage for reimbursement for unused days, compared to 20 percent of Europeans.

• Europeans (23 percent) found more peace of mind from Medical Assistance & Repatriation coverage compared to Americans (17 percent).

“Throughout the pandemic, vacation rental has been one travel sector that has been less negatively impacted than others. As the overall travel industry prepares for travel to pick up, we wanted to know the sentiments of travelers about their upcoming travel plans and in particular whether the favorable trend towards vacation rental would persist. We felt it was important to gauge the sentiment of the average traveler to provide ourselves and our partners, leaders in the Vacation Rental booking industry, with valuable insights. Overall the travelers we surveyed are excited to travel again, while Europeans indicated they would prefer to travel abroad Americans opted to stay closer to home. When deciding what type of accommodation they would like on their next trip, 71 percent indicated they would book a vacation rental,” added Francine Abgrall, Group Head of Travel at Europ Assistance.

From February 28th to April 1st, 2021 through survey provider Phonic, Europ Assistance surveyed 8,700 online respondents who are planning to take a trip and are planning on booking a vacation rental in the next 18 months. The study consisted of fifteen questions and was sampled within the United States, Spain, France, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.