Skift Take

The death of hotels was greatly exaggerated. Advantage and Expedia — not Airbnb — if travelers indeed are now seeking out both hotels and vacation rentals in comparable numbers.

Series: Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Dennis' Online Travel Briefing

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, Executive Editor and online travel rockstar Dennis Schaal will bring readers exclusive reporting and insight into the business of online travel and digital booking, and how this sector has an impact across the travel industry.

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This Week in Online Travel The Covid-driven new world order in lodging, which saw vacation rental sellers such as Vrbo leading the pack among online travel brands, seems to have been short-lived — unless pandemic trends change anew. Although Airbnb and others have argued that the pandemic has reframed travelers' lodging choices for the long term and tilted them toward vacation rentals in mountain, beach and rural locations, the Skift Recovery Index found that global hotel bookings reached an equilibrium with vacation rentals in August compared with year-ago numbers. "There is no doubt that vacation rentals will remain a popular accommodation option, but with the majority of hotels reopened, it seems that August might be the start of a return to some form of normality in the hotel vs. vacation rental dynamics," according to Skift Research. Based on data from Duetto, Hotelbeds, Key Data Dashboard, RateGain, Shiji Group, SiteMinder, and Transparent, Skift Research found that vacation rentals benefited when a recovery began in April, but bookings dropped to roughly 50 percent of year-ago levels in August, similar to hotel performance. Globa