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“Revenge travel” and how property owners can take advantage

Canceled flights, trips that fell through, quarantine. After the first COVID-19 wave hit the world, some people felt as though 2020 and early 2021 had been stolen from their lives. But as vaccination rates rose, within just a few months the travel industry recovered, and among travel-hungry people, the concept of “revenge travel” has become popular. It shows in a study conducted by HomeToGo that combines exclusive insights from surveyed guests and property owners and internal data from HomeToGo and AirDNA during the first two years of the pandemic period (2020-2021). Seeing new opportunities, HomeToGo, the world's largest holiday rental search engine –whose technology partner in Lithuania, NFQ, developed the platform from its first line of code– has been quick to take advantage.

Tourists are making up for lost trips 

The concept of “revenge travel” is based on the notion that, in order to “take revenge” on the COVID-19 pandemic which has rocked the world, tourists are spending more time on trips that they could not take in 2020. 

“Thanks to the market’s recovery, the past year has been very good for HomeToGo. Being able to adapt quickly to the changing travel landscape helped this Lithuanian and German startup grow fast and become a unicorn. This fall we listed HomeToGo, built from the first line of code, on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange,” said Audrius Bugas, VP Technology at HomeToGo, speaking of the opportunities that opened up after the first year of the pandemic. 

The recovery of the travel industry is also the topic of a study conducted by HomeToGo that combines exclusive insights from surveyed guests and property owners and internal data from HomeToGo and AirDNA during the last two years. The study shows that 85% of property owners in the US are seeing an increase in bookings compared to previous years, with 46% of HomeToGo’s summer bookings lasting 7 days or longer. That is 8% more than in 2020.

Hungry for unknown lands and adventure, people are “making up” for what they missed with trips that are not only longer but also higher quality. During their longer journeys, travelers are ready to see, do and spend more. The same study shows an 18% increase in the size of a group of travelers, with the average value of a single booking 70% higher than in 2020 and 65% higher than in 2019. Those figures are expected to grow even more due to last-minute bookings.

A similar study in the European market found that where a couple of years ago tourists spent an average of €92 for a night’s accommodation on city breaks, in 2021 the figure is €15 higher.

Seeking to control the conditions of travel

Having learned from painful experiences, tourists are trying to maintain personal control over travel conditions. A good example is German and French people’s increasing desire to travel by car instead of by plane. A full 76% of survey respondents said they would choose a car as their means of transportation for a trip. It should be noted that, with frequent changes in the criteria for crossing international borders, there is a growing trend toward travel within one's own country. More than half of Spanish respondents said they plan to travel within Spain rather than abroad. Constantly changing travel rules are also behind a jump in the choice of last-minute accommodation options. Among US property owners, 85% are seeing an increase in last-minute bookings.

The key to a traveler’s heart is flexible reservations

One tip for property owners aiming to maximize bookings is to offer a flexible booking and cancellation policy. It helps keep guests calm and reassured in these unpredictable pandemic times. For 90% of German and French travelers, a policy of “free cancellation” is one of the most important aspects of a booking. Property owners should consider this option to protect risk-averse guests and be more attractive to cautious travelers.

People travel not just to rest but also to work 

With many employees now working via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other apps, under a “work from wherever you want” policy, it should be no surprise that people are traveling not only for vacation but also to vary their work setting. Around half of the British, German, and French respondents said they plan to take advantage of opportunities for traveling and working remotely. Thus, it is important to offer guests convenient locations that are well-suited to working remotely, with high-speed wireless internet, and to highlight those things in the description of the accommodation you offer.

How can you reach these new types of remote workers who may differ from your usual guests? Communication plays a key role here: 42% of the property owners surveyed list their property on more than 5 booking platforms. To stay competitive, it is vital to expand your reach in the digital realm. That will help attract more people.

Travelers and their best friends

Bear in mind that as trips get longer and work-from-anywhere grows in popularity, travelers do not want, and are not always able, to leave their four-legged friends at home. It is time to clearly define your establishment’s pet policy and to include features like a fully fenced yard or a nearby dog park in descriptions of your services.

Travel is back. That is unquestionable. But travel habits are changing. Property owners who want to stay strong in the business need to track and react to the evolution of travel trends.