Travel Payments

Rural Properties See Surge In Airbnb Bookings

As U.S. vacationers look to get away for a while, they're increasingly turning to rural Airbnb listings where they won't be as at risk of catching the coronavirus, CNBC reported.

The shift comes as urban Airbnb venues and traditional hotels are suffering as people try to stay away from the virus. Airbnb has suffered this year, too, with its initial public offering (IPO) not going as planned amid mass layoffs.

But the rural vacation homes, according to CNBC, have been thriving. In June, hosts in rural America earned over $200 million total, a 25 percent year-over-year increase.

Airbnb said more than $9 out of every $10 a host earned was for rentals outside of the top U.S. cities by population. Rural hosts are emphasizing that their WiFi can withstand the need, having fielded requests from guests looking to work remotely while away from home. Groups have been larger, with some hosts noticing more large groups of mid-20s friends looking to escape.

In addition, people are looking to get away for longer, with the average stay length from January to June of this year increasing to 4.27 days — an 18 percent increase, CNBC reported citing data from AllTheRooms. In April, when shutdowns were in effect all over the country, the average stay was 7.43 days.

Joseph DiTomaso, CEO of AllTheRooms, said it "really looks like individuals and families [are] choosing to get away from densely populated areas and wait out the virus,” CNBC reported.

Domestic travel overall has also been big since the pandemic hit, without the option for plane- or cruise-related travel due to the virus. PYMNTS reported that bookings in general in the U.S. were up in May this year for Airbnb and other companies like Expedia.

Total summer travel is expected to be down though with AAA estimating around 700 million fewer trips from July to September this year, equating to a 15 percent year-over-year decline.

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