Vince Breslin, Uplisting
"Vacation lodging is no longer simply a place to lay your head. It’s an integral part of the travel experience."
Quote from Vince Breslin, founder of Uplisting, in an article on PhocusWire this week on the future of short-term rentals.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.
The mighty short-term rental sector, as most of its protagonists have said and many others in traditional hospitality have conceded, had a standout year in 2020.
We all know the reasons: as travel tried to bounce back, amid the seesawing of lockdown restrictions, many travelers were opting to shift away from hotels and, instead, secure private dwellings for their long-awaited stays.
This made a lot of sense, given that people were still understandably nervous about congregating in areas with numbers of strangers and all the other operational aspects of a hotel that didn't quite suit the hygiene requirements they wanted.
Last year saw the beginnings of a return to normality, as many hotels reopened fully again and the markets (at least in the second half of the year) started to ease back into some degree of 2019-type patterns.
And thus, we now get the rhetoric about short-term rentals being "all about the experience" and standards changing to ensure the "market is focused on delivering a first class experience to its guests."
In one swish of the marketer's pen, short-term rentals have now fallen into line with hotels, which - let's face it - have talked up the "experience" of staying at a property for as long as anyone can remember.
Sure, some might support the idea that there is something unique and special about having a property all to yourself, with all the mod-cons and privacy, set in a wonderful location.
But it's also worth considering that if every element in the accommodation spectrum is suggesting that it is the best provider of the "experience" that travelers apparently crave, then there will inevitably need to be another facet that sets different accommodation types apart from one another.
And this is where the inevitable cost of a product comes into play - the annoying element that providers of many forms of accommodation tend to avoid, as it is a very tangible differentiator between property A or B.
This is even more acute when many intermedaries position accommodation types alongside one another.
It therefore puts the pressure on both rentals and hotels to figure how to assign the "value" of their wares - a combination of price and the perceived level of quality of experience - when entering the face-off between the respective sectors that is inevitably going to play out in 2022.
PhocusWire's editorials examine a trend or development highlighted in an article during the week.