CivicScience | Young, Wealthy Vacationers Increasingly Look to Airbnb for Lodging

Hospitality

Young, Wealthy Vacationers Increasingly Look to Airbnb for Lodging

Image Credit: Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

For much of the country still sitting in the doldrums of late winter, summer might seem a ways away. But planning for summer vacation? Well, that’s already in high gear, as nearly three out four American adults plan on getting away when the calendar turns to July and August. Of course, any and all plans for summer travel hinge on the coronavirus outbreak. While it’s likely there will be a drop in overall travel, there will still be plenty of people out there vacationing assuming the country is not on lockdown status.

And no matter where someone vacations, there is one more-than-obvious constant: At the end of the day, a pillow and blanket will be needed. Everyone vacationing needs a place to stay.

Unsurprisingly, hotels lead the way, with 40% of Americans who plan on taking a vacation this summer saying that’s the way to travel. Add in motel-goers and bed-and-breakfast fans, and that takes care of just about half of all vacationers. Staying in an Airbnb or other rental property, with friends and family, camping, or “other” makes up the other half.

But diving down deeper into the numbers, a trend emerges. Basically, the young and well-off are increasingly likely to choose Airbnb or a similar rental situation. While hotel/motel/B&B rates are relatively constant – around that 50% mark – across age groups, the younger someone is, the more likely they are to choose Airbnb or other rentals. A full quarter of Gen Z  vacationing this summer will bunk down in an Airbnb or rental, more than twice the rate of the over 55 crowd.

Interestingly, while Gen Z’s planned usage is the highest, Millennials report using – or intending to use – Airbnb the most. 

In addition, the more household income someone has, the less likely they are to choose a hotel. In fact, 21% of households making over $100,000 a year plan on renting or utilizing Airbnb or another rental service for their summer vacation. 

And while it’s clear that Airbnb and rentals are coming on strong in the summer vacation market – especially among the younger generations – it’s not like hotels are falling off a cliff, either.

Take, for example, the amount of people staying in hotel chains while traveling, vacation or otherwise, over the last three years, a number that has increased 18% since Q1 2017.

 While Airbnb and other rentals nearly doubled their position in the marketplace, they still only account for a small percentage of the entire travel market.

The one area, however, that has seen near-flat growth is in the amount of people staying at boutique hotels. 

Lastly, in comparison to data from last year, it’s clear the only part of the lodging market that has experienced notable growth is in the Airbnb/rental market. The question going forward is clearly whether Airbnbs and the like will continue to rise, or if we’re seeing a plateau. 

The biggest takeaway about the state of vacation lodging? Airbnbs, while not truly taking the hotel industry down, are certainly a nuisance to the big chains. The young and the wealthy are increasingly looking to Airbnb and other rental properties for their summer vacation lodging needs. As such, it’s not so far-fetched to think that chain hotels are going to have to start thinking about out-of-the-box ways to lure back those customers. 

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