Several issues about the short-term rental sector — which has become a preferred accommodation type among many travelers rather than an alternative one — will likely come to a head in 2021.
Among such issues are the battle for host allegiances, the limits of inventory supply, and the potential growth trajectories or stagnation prospects of major players.
And we’ll be looking for insights and answers in no-holds-barred discussions between leading executives in the sector and Skift reporters at the Skift Short-Term Rental and Outdoor Summit May 19. See the speaker lineup here.
In the run-up to the summit, we’ve heard executives express concern that they may run out of supply as properties become sold out this summer in a travel recovery and period that has become a landmark year for the short-term rental sector.
That’s one reason why Airbnb launched a host recruitment TV and digital campaign, and Expedia’s Vrbo trashed Airbnb directly in its own marketing blitz, and specifically began a program to woo Airbnb super hosts to Vrbo’s ranks.
What will the major short-term rental players do, and how will independents take advantage, if supply scarcity cuts off growth prospects?
Does it mean more consolidation is in the offing? Will companies need to expand beyond vacation rentals and apartments, and into more traditional inventory types?
Would Airbnb have to do an about-face and launch flights, and invest more heavily in hotels?
And whose strategy will prove to be more fruitful: Airbnb’s pledge to downplay professional hosts, Booking.com’s focus on signing property management companies, or Vrbo’s hybrid we-love-you-both approach?
Waiting in the wings, of course is Google and its Google Vacation Rentals, which somehow has failed to attract the participation of most of the major online travel agencies?
Is Google therefore down and out of it? Will vacation rentals become the rare Google miss in travel? Here’s one answer we can give you even before the summit: Nope.