Luxury villa rental provider Villas of Distinction reports that it’s seeing increased demand among travel consumers for U.S. domestic villas as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other trends the company has observed include an uptick in long-term rentals and a shift in booking-to-travel timeframes.
But, Villas of Distinction says that increased interest in domestic villas is definitely the foremost trend for people booking 2021 vacations. Many people aren’t comfortable flying yet and leaving the country seems a tenuous proposition now that residents will need to present a negative COVID-19 test to re-enter the U.S.
Americans have, therefore, largely turned to taking road-trips and staycations, and villa rentals provide privacy, room for the whole family and the degree of luxury that travelers are looking for. To meet demand, Villas of Distinction has added over 300 new villas in the U.S. over the past nine months and the company said that it plans to add more villas in Canada, as well, since the Canadian population are also currently instructed to stay in-country.
This year, the company observed, there will be plenty of pent-up travel demand, but people desperately want to get away, but also want a place where they can stay safely apart from strangers and that feels like a home away from home. They’re also in search of accommodations that adhere to strict safety and cleanliness guidelines, such as Villas of Distinction’s properties, which have all agreed to follow the Vacation Rental Management Association for safety and cleaning protocols.
“Those who aren’t quite comfortable coming into contact with large groups of people are opting to take a staycation or a road trip, and stay in a private villa, which is an accommodation type that provides a socially-distanced experience,” said Willie Fernandez, general manager and vice president for Villas of Distinction.
Villas of Distinction attributes the increase in long-term rentals being booked to the shift toward remote-working and remote-schooling that has occurred over the past year. It’s seeing many families who are able to travel and stay in villas while still meeting work and school obligations without even having to use “vacation” time. Such workcations, it says, have become increasingly popular, especially in the Caribbean, where many islands have launched long-term stay programs geared specifically towards attracting these types of travelers.
The shift Villas of Distinction has observed in booking-to-travel timeframes began in 2020, when it saw a seven-percent increase in customers planning to travel within 0-60 days, representing a larger amount of near-term bookings than made in years past. On the other hand, there was also a five-percent increase in people booking more than a year in advance, as far out as late 2022 and 2023, likely in hopes that COVID-19 will have ceased to be an issue by the time these far-off travel dates arrive.