Like many Americans, Anne Minteer is vacationing longer than ever these days. She has some catching up to do as travel resumes after the pandemic.
But when she recently traveled to New York to visit her daughter, Minteer skipped a hotel in favor of a short-term stay in an apartment.
A friend had recommended Blueground, a company with a network of serviced apartments in 25 cities around the world. She quickly found an apartment in Manhattan that saved her thousands of dollars.
Americans like Minteer are taking longer vacations than they have in generations. The trend started in 2021 when travelers started extending vacation time in response to pandemic shutdowns.
It has now become one of the biggest travel trends in the United States in 2022.
- Amex Travel’s latest 2022 Global Travel Trends Report found that 55% of US travelers say they are willing to take longer trips in 2022 since they can work remotely throughout the year.
- Home exchanges of two weeks or more — the definition of an extended stay — jumped 13% between January and May compared to the same period in 2021, according to the HomeExchange website. That’s on top of a 133% increase from 2020. “Exchanges longer than two weeks are on an upward trend globally,” says HomeExchange spokeswoman Jessica Poillucci.
- Hostaway, a vacation rental management platform, says trips over 28 days have increased 106% since 2019.
But where are the travelers going? Newer options range from serviced apartments like Blueground to hotels and traditional vacation rentals. But it pays to know a thing or two about the extended-stay accommodation industry before you book.
Extended stays are a major consumer travel trend this year
So what is driving this trend?
Travelers say they are making up for lost time in 2020 and 2021 when they weren’t able to travel. But the pandemic has pivoted much of America’s workforce to working from home. And it freed millions of American workers, who were free to pursue a digital nomad lifestyle.
“The increase in workcations has driven travelers to alternative lodging options,” says Dimitris Chatzieleftheriou, Blueground’s general manager for New York. “In the US specifically, Blueground customers were initially booking for less time during the height of the pandemic, but the rate of extension doubled as they wanted to continue living a flexible lifestyle.”
Hotels don’t always match this new travel trend. This is because they are for short term guests. But that hasn’t stopped travelers from trying.
Consider the economics of visiting Minteer in New York. Hotels were $500 a night and had no kitchens available. The Blueground rental, which cost $300 per night, came with a full kitchen and living room.
“We booked an initial six-week stay in a Blueground apartment in Chelsea, a neighborhood in southwest Manhattan,” says Minteer, a retired attorney.
Minteer says she has had such a positive experience that she is booking another Blueground rental in New York later this year.
Travelers looking to stay longer turn to aparthotels
Some companies try to give extended stay customers the best of both worlds. This is the idea behind Rentyl Resorts. It offers the privacy of a vacation home with the benefits of a hotel. Rentyl offers a selection of branded residential complexes such as Margaritaville Resort Orlando and Rum Point Club Residences in the Cayman Islands. Rates are generally about the same as a full-service hotel, but you also get the amenities of a vacation home. It’s also a more seamless experience, says Nick Falcone, CEO of Rentyl.
“There’s no janky guy who lets you into his house,” he adds. “No awkward interactions or hiccups with owners.”
Hotel residences cater to these new travelers with preferential rates. For example, the Latitude Aparthotel in Cape Town, South Africa has launched a new business travel package called “rise and prosper”. It offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom oceanfront accommodations with full kitchens, living rooms, coworking spaces, and breakfast and dinner included. Digital nomads from the United States can stay in South Africa for up to three months without a visa.
ROOST Apartment Hotel, another brand that bridges the boutique hotel experience with apartment living, is doubling its portfolio with new locations in three US cities. The company, operated by Method Co, just opened a new ROOST Cleveland location. Later this month, he will cut the ribbon at a property in Tampa. And he has plans for locations in Detroit and Charleston.
ROOST Tampa pushes the boundaries of apartment living. It will unveil a new co-housing unit – a category of shared accommodation for travellers. The property will also feature a 30,000 square foot floor of amenities, including a large pool deck with cabanas, an outdoor bar and grill, and a movie screening room.
Timeshare is also experiencing a trend towards longer vacations
Even timeshare, traditionally the domain of short-term leisure travellers, has been affected by this trend.
Travel + Leisure Co., which operates the world’s largest vacation ownership company, Wyndham Destinations, saw a 10% increase in length of stays at its vacation resorts.
Wyndham properties are ideal for a longer stay. Its 245 timeshare properties include multi-bedroom suites with full-service kitchens and separate living areas. I’ve spoken with Wyndham property managers, who say some guests live full-time in their timeshare.
This summer, many Wyndham properties are booked. “Properties near national parks are growing in popularity,” notes Michael Brown, CEO of Travel + Leisure Co.
Vacation rentals are modernizing for long-term travelers
Travelers with extended itineraries are also turning to vacation rentals. Jurny, a vacation rental app launched in 2019, saw $1.3 million in booking revenue last month, a 98% increase from the same period a year ago, according to CEO Luca Zambello. It now lists over 1,000 units in the United States and is also experiencing strong growth in international markets.
Competition for long-term tenants is fierce. Onefinestay, a luxury rental company, offers discounts for long-term stays. They range from 10% off for stays of 30-59 nights to 25% off for stays longer than 90 days.
“The trend towards longer stays has accelerated,” says Dan Driscoll, co-founder of Boutiq, a luxury vacation rental network. “We definitely see this trend continuing in Boutiq’s portfolio of high-end vacation rental properties.”
The trend continues during the quieter months of the year, when vacationers typically stay home. But Driscoll also says there’s a lot of competition with other hosting options.
“To win these bookings, we’ve made sure our homes have high-speed internet access and dedicated workspaces so our guests can seamlessly integrate their vacations with work and school duties,” he said. -he declares.
Boutiq’s portfolio is mainly made up of large single-family vacation homes. Thus, his homes are intended as gathering places for families and friends, with discreet and functional places to work comfortably and efficiently when necessary.
“And who doesn’t want to sit on a porch looking at the mountains or the beach while working?” he adds. “It sure is better than a cabin.”
Even hotels are joining the extended-stay trend
Hotels are trying to be part of this consumer travel trend. For example, Element Hotels, Marriott’s extended-stay brand, offers a “Studio Commons” room concept aimed at guests staying longer. It mixes a hotel room with a home rental by connecting four private rooms with a shared kitchen and living room.
Hotels are encouraging guests to stay longer in other ways. IHG is offering IHG One Rewards members a Stay Longer & Save rate with up to 15% off every time they book three or more nights in the United States
The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, which already offers condo-style rooms with full kitchens, washers and dryers, has just introduced a Stay Longer and Save rate of up to 20% off hotel stays. four or more nights. (Available now through September 5; rates start at $550 a night.)
Tips for your next extended stay
Experts say there are so many choices, it can be difficult to find the right accommodation for an extended stay.
Here are their tips:
Find the right site for your stay. After checking Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo and Agoda (in Asia), try to specialize in the type of accommodation you want. Chris Cerra, founder of RemoteBase, a newsletter for remote workers, suggests checking out sites like Sonder, which specializes in serviced apartments. If you prefer a co-living space, check out The Collective and Selina. And don’t forget booking platforms for digital nomads like Flatio and Nomad Stays.
Read the terms carefully. Some vacation rental companies will require you to sign a lengthy contract. Other rentals require a monthly subscription. Still others charge cleaning fees or take large security deposits. When it comes to extended stays, there are no industry standards — at least not yet. So check the documents before making a booking decision.
Ask about amenities. For example, onefinestay’s standard amenities list includes weekly professional housekeeping, Wi-Fi, 24/7 local support, complimentary toiletries, and a welcome pack with tea and coffee. Other extended-stay properties will stock your fridge with groceries or include happy hour drinks or breakfast. Again, there’s no industry standard for amenities, so you have to ask.
Extended stays are one of the biggest travel trends in the United States in 2022. If you think a longer vacation is in your future, familiarize yourself with all the options. And don’t forget to read your contract.