Airbnb reveals new trends for travel in 2021

Posted on 22 October 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected travel in 2020. Given the uncertainty and bureaucracy surrounding border control and international travel, it seems likely that the pandemic will continue to impact travel in a number of ways in 2021.

The impact of remote working and schooling could blur the line between work and travel and up-end traditional vacation seasons in the process, according to Airbnb.

Remote work will be apart of 2021 and beyond and work from home could become work from anywhere.

A National Geographic report found that many remote workers are adopting a digital nomad lifestyle, where they travel the world while working remotely.

Secondly, safety and cleanliness, which is always a priority for travellers, assumes even greater importance because of COVID-19. Airbnb has noticed an increase in preference for private dwellings, or entire homes, over packed hotels, where contact with other people is negligible.

Thirdly, domestic travel is favoured over international long haul flights.

Airbnb says: ‘people will want to use travel to reconnect with friends and family in safe and controlled ways.

‘In 2021, travel will continue to be less about tourism and more about living, working and connecting safely away from home,’ said the online rental company.

Airbnb surveyed 1,010 US adults between September 15-19, 2020 and analysed the search and booking data for next year.

Three interesting new trends for travel in 2021 were revealed.

Live and work anywhere

  • 83% of the people surveyed are in favour of relocating as part of remote working.
  • 25% believe that they will be able to ‘live where they want to and work remotely’.
  • 1 in 5 people in the survey have relocated during the pandemic, either on a temporary or permanent basis.
  • 60% of parents say they are very or somewhat likely to consider working remotely and travelling with their children if schools continue to be disrupted.
  • Generation Z and young millennials are most likely to believe that they can move to a new location to work or study remotely.

Airbnb has made it possible for people to test new neighbourhoods and cities before making a long-term commitment. Travellers are taking advantage of this trend by ‘trying before buying’.

‘From July to September this year, there has been a 128 percent increase in guest reviews mentioning “relocation”, “relocate”, “remote work” and “trying a new neighbourhood” in comparison to the same time frame last year,’ says Airbnb.

According to the survey, 24 percent of the people, who relocated their homes since the pandemic was declared, moved to a suburb, while 21 percent chose a rural area. Both are greater percentages than those who say they moved to cities.

Remote workers are actively booking longer stays, trips in excess of two weeks, in small-to-mid-size cities that have wide-open spaces and natural surroundings.



Redefining the Staycation

Given the uncertainty with international travel, domestic travel will continue to be a key trend in 2021.

62% of people in the survey said that they were interested in taking a vacation within driving distance of their homes.

Airbnb says that a range of domestic locations in national parks and beach towns are becoming the most popular destinations for trip planning in 2021. This was not the case in 2019, when US guests mostly planned trips to cities like Paris, London and Rome.

However, just because travellers prefer to stick close to home in 2021 does not mean that they have given up the spirit of excitement and adventure. Airbnb users are seeking unique travel experiences in one-of-a-kind rentals, such as treehouses, yurts, barns, Cycladic houses and domes.

There has been a shift to more remote, environmentally conscious and socially-distanced stays.

‘Entire homes have officially replaced apartments as the top space type among guests in 2021, providing controlled, private space for everyone,’ says Airbnb. While unique stays like cabins and cottages have replaced townhouses and villas and made it into the top five space types for trips in 2021.

The Rise of Pod Travel

  • 85% of the people in the survey said that they are in favour of relocating permanently or temporarily to live closer to their families.
  • 37% of people who voluntarily relocated in 2020 said it was to close to family or friends – this was the most common reason given.

The isolation caused by the lockdowns enforced across the world has increased people’s craving for human connection. Lockdown measures may have been eased in many places but the risk of infection that comes with getting close to other people persists. The phenomenon of pod travel has emerged as a way for like-minded individuals, or families, to travel in a group ‘while minimising the risks typically associated with group travel,’ according to Forbes.

Over the summer, Airbnb reports that there were three times more wish lists including ‘family’ in the title than the previous summer, a trend that has continued to increase as families increasingly use the service to safely reconnect, while over half of the trips searched for next year include three or more people – which indicates that people are travelling together.

Groups that are not intending to travel next year are using Online Experiences, to connect with those dear to them virtually via interactive video sessions that include: scavenger hunts, cooking classes and other creative group activities.

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Picture: Airbnb

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