Short-Term Rentals Target ‘Digital Nomads’

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Many workers have adopted a nomadic lifestyle since the shift to remote work over the past year has given them more freedom to move. Some are using short-term rentals from companies like Airbnb and Vrbo to move from spot to spot.

In the initial days of the pandemic, short-term rental companies saw business nose-dive as COVID-19 shutdowns took effect. Now vaccines are enabling more of the economy to reopen, prompting “vaxications” that have helped short-term rental demand soar. Still, Airbnb believes “digital nomads”—remote workers with the freedom to live anywhere—are one group to target moving forward.

Seventy-four percent of Americans who currently work remotely say they would consider taking a “work-cation,” working somewhere other than their home for an extended period of time, according to a 2020 Harris poll. Airbnb recently reported a 24% increase in bookings for long-term stays of 28 days or longer on its platform, up from 14% in 2019. About half of all stays booked on Airbnb were for at least seven nights. “The big trend is flexibility: People are traveling anytime, anywhere, and they’re staying longer,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said on a recent earnings call. “We think all these trends are here to stay.”

Airbnb has even launched a new campaign, “Live Anywhere on Airbnb,” scouring the country for 12 individuals who are interested in living in Airbnb listings for a year and documenting their experiences. The campaign aims to inform Airbnb's marketing and guide the company’s foray into serving this clientele in the future.