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Brief Published: 18 Aug 2021

Quirky Holiday Rentals Lure Staycationers

Demand for unique rentals is skyrocketing on Airbnb

Staycations remain a top choice for travellers – but the accommodations they’re choosing are shifting from convenience to memory-making. Data from Airbnb shows skyrocketing demand for offbeat vacation rentals, like houseboats and huts. It’s a compelling, accessible spin-off of the aesthetic strategies we detail in 10 Trends: Hospitality Design & Spaces.

Searches for yurts, islands, huts, barns, earth houses and houseboats on Airbnb have all increased by over 1,000% during the pandemic (Airbnb, 2021). While searches don’t translate to bookings – as the rise of voyeuristic house shopping illustrates – they do indicate a growing appetite for accommodation that acts as a destination in and of itself.

These in-demand properties also exude the perfected nostalgia ambience we describe in The Brief about Club Jupiter’s British caravan holidays. Whether it’s a mid-century modern-meets-kitsch “cosmic crash pad” house in Austin, or a sleek converted World War Two-era rail car in Tennessee, these rentals remove guests from their contemporary reality without the need for long-distance travel. 

Yet demand for atypical rentals isn’t limited to overnight stays. Housebound people are embracing Swimply, an American rental platform for pools that offers hourly bookings of individually owned private pools. It’s registered a total 122,000 bookings across 125 markets in the US over the course of the pandemic (WSJ, 2021).

With long-distance travel still seeming uncertain for many, the need for these close-to-home escapist experiences is likely to continue and diversify. The nature adventures we detail in Reimagining the Staycation have already given birth to inclusive guided camping excursions and luxury curated road trips. Moving forward, we expect these unique, memory-making and close-to-home experiences to evolve to serve a wider variety of travel styles and needs.

For more compelling accommodation design, see 10 Trends: Hospitality Design & Spaces.