If you’ve thought about booking a summer vacation rental, it already might be too late.
Across the country, a pent-up demand for travel combined with a loosening of restrictions and more and more people being vaccinated has manifested itself in a massive amount of reservations at motels, hotels, resorts and home and condo rentals.
It’s a huge boon to an industry that, at one point last year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, saw occupancy rates drop to 41.6% nationwide — the lowest it’s been since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Now? The New York Times noted that domestic reservations on the booking website Hopper were up 58% in March of this year compared to March 2019.
Mark D’Ambrogi, a vacation rental Realtor for Crowley Real Estate in Delaware Beach, told FOX5 Washington, D.C., that his available bookings are already at 90% capacity for the popular summer months.
“I think people are just eager to get back to normal, take a vacation, and be with their loved ones, which is pretty obvious based on the amount of rentals we’re doing,” said D’Ambrogi.
D’Ambrogi believes vacation rentals are also becoming even more attractive these days because it provides a private, safe space to be secluded with loved ones.
“We still have the policies and protocols in place, but you can be normal, enjoy your time with family — you don’t have to worry about strangers because you’ll be with your family the whole time,” he said.
Another popular eastern seaboard vacation destination, Virginia Beach, is seeing a 25% increase in hotel and short-term vacation rental bookings over the same time last year.
“Thirty miles of publicly owned and public access beach that will allow people to spread out and be safe. Also, lots of waterways. We have state parks here,” said Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager Taylor Adams.
“I think the ability to spread out is helping us in ways we are just starting to realize. … People are ready to move around be outside and quite frankly — here in Virginia Beach — that’s our brand,” said Adams. “We’re a big city that just happens to be attached to a beach and a really big beach at that.”
And it’s not just home and hotel rentals.
Campgrounds reservations and recreational vehicle sales are also shooting up quickly.
“We’ve got a waiting list of over 100 people for seasonal sites, and for this year, it seems like there’s not a lot of seasonal inventory out there available,” said David Nowakowski, owner of SUNFOX Campground in Lisbon, Connecticut, which is not far from the Connecticut beaches.
He says they have already booked weekends through Father’s Day.
“I would say as soon as they could make their reservations, wherever they may be going, whether SUNFOX or anywhere else, don’t wait too much longer because there’s not a lot of availability, especially for seasonal sites,” Nowakowski told WFSB in Hartford, Connecticut.
People are also looking at RVs.
“Lot of first-time buyers, a lot of existing buyers trading in and trading up, and the rentals have been absolutely exploding,” said Todd Emerson of Longview RV in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
“It goes quick and there’s not a lot of inventory,” said Brad Remillard of HiWay Campers in Plainfield, Connecticut.