The pandemic may have redefined the vacation. For some, what was once a three-day weekend has become a month long stay in a cabin near a National Park.
Airbnb (ABNB), which reported first quarter results on Thursday, has been both a benefactor and a driver of this trend toward longer stays. Even with the vaccine rollout under way, people are still nervous about traveling, especially as many cross-border restrictions remain in tact. To minimize the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding long flights and confined spaces with strangers, local and rural travel have been the big winners.
"Airbnb is no longer just a travel company," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told Yahoo Finance Presents. "I mean, 24% of our business is not travel. Most people define travel as 28 days or less. Almost every city defines that as the threshold for them to collect a lot of tourist occupancy taxes."
Twenty-four percent of Airbnb stays are 28 days or more. And 50% of nights booked were from stays of at at least one week. White collar workers going stir crazy in their urban apartments were among those who ditched leases and went on working road trips, finding ways to spend time outdoors while still being on the clock.
"As people are more flexible about where they travel, when they travel, I think that what it really means is that they're less tethered to any one location," he said. "They can work, live, and travel kind of anywhere."
Especially as prospective homebuyers face exorbitant prices and constrained supply, these longer getaways can temporarily scratch the itch of having more space without having to fully abandon a city lifestyle.
This trend, catalyzed by the coronavirus, doesn't look to be reversing course, according to Chesky, just as hybrid workforces and less business travel are a reality.
"It was actually 14% of our nights booked two years ago that were longer 28 days," he said. "It's now 24%. That's a pretty big shift in two years, considering it took us about 11 or 12 years to get to the first 14%."