Our Vacation Rental Optimism Survey Results Are In!

Vacation Rentals Optimism Survey results graphic

We recently launched our Vacation Rentals Optimism Survey, where we asked you to tell us how you’re feeling about travel, holidays and vacation rental stays after Coronavirus. The results are now in! Although it’s clear that people will expect different things from travel and vacation rental stays in the future, this hasn’t dampened down our overall appetite for travel.

Using data gathered from over 350 UK-based respondents, TravelNest’s Vacation Rentals Optimism Survey results reveal a huge amount of optimism and positive sentiment towards future travel. This is welcome news for the travel and short-stay sector as a whole. 

How do your future travel plans and preferences compare to those of other travellers? Here are some of the most interesting highlights from the survey, along with our expert insights.

Likelihood of future travel

Likelihood of travel graphic

It turns out that despite the many restrictions currently being placed on our lives by COVID-19, many of us are keen to experience the sheer joy of travel once again as lockdowns begin to lift. 50% of survey respondents said they’d be ‘very likely to book a trip’ once COVID-19 travel restrictions ease.

This was by far the most popular answer, followed by ‘likely to book a trip’ at 23%. This is good news for the travel, tourism and short-stay vacation rentals sectors, which have effectively been put on hold since the Coronavirus outbreak began.

Timing of next travel

Timing of next travel

At the time of writing, the exact timetable for how and when lockdown will be lifted remains unknown for the majority of countries. However, our UK-based survey respondents felt extremely positive about the likelihood of travel in the near future. 84% expect to be on the move within the next 12 months.

Breaking this down, 36% said they would expect to be travelling again by the Autumn of 2020, and a further 20% felt travel would be possible even earlier – by the Summer of 2020. Whether this will be possible remains to be seen, but is a strong indication of an appetite to travel as soon as possible.

Next travel destination

Next travel destination graphic

The survey results highlighted a fairly close call between European and domestic UK-based travel destinations after Coronavirus. 63% of survey respondents said they would choose to travel to Europe if possible, and 57% would opt for UK-based travel plans.

It is interesting to note that travel to Europe is the top choice, despite COVID-19 hitting many popular European holiday spots like Spain and Italy the hardest. This may be an indicator of our desire to get back to normality as soon as possible. Conversely, the popularity of UK-based travel may also demonstrate a desire to stay closer to home for the time being. After European and UK-based domestic travel destinations, North America was the third most popular choice, with 14% saying they’d choose to travel there.

Most popular trip type

Most popular trip type

It is clear that lockdown has us yearning for warm sunshine, beautiful beaches and open spaces rather than cities and urban exploration. When thinking about the next trip away, the top trip choice for our survey respondents was a beach holiday, chosen by 33%. This was closely followed by a rural/countryside break – favoured by 30%. Beach holidays and rural/countryside breaks were the two most popular choices by a significant margin. The next most popular choice was a city or sightseeing break – only chosen by 16%.

Transportation preference

Transportation preference graphic

We asked survey respondents to tell us about the different types of transport they’d be willing to use on their next trip. An overwhelming majority – 88% – would prefer to use their own car to travel. The impact of social distancing measures may be responsible for this strong preference to not mix with other people when travelling. The next choice – travelling by plane – was more than 20 points behind at 55%. 44% said they would prefer to travel by train, and only 22% in a hire or rental car. 

Holiday accommodation preference

Holiday accommodation preference

When it comes to where we want to stay on our next trip away, the preference for a vacation rental or holiday let property rather than a hotel is clear. 66% said they’d choose a vacation rental, and 33% a hotel. Vacation rentals are likely to be more popular post-COVID-19, as unlike hotels, they offer reduced opportunities for contact with other people, even where social distancing measures are implemented.

Trip duration

Trip duration graphic

The survey reveals a preference for trips of a longer duration, rather than short breaks after Coronavirus. 33% said the duration of their next trip would be between 1 and 2 weeks, and a further 32% said their next trip would be between 5 and 9 days duration. This appetite for longer trips away is potentially a reaction to being in lockdown for a significant period of time – we are keen to get away on a trip for longer periods of time.

Trip spending

Trip spend graphic

Attitudes towards spending on travel and holidays post-Coronavirus remain broadly consistent, as 74% of survey respondents said they would spend the same amount of money on a trip as the would have done before Coronavirus. Interestingly, 13% of survey respondents said they would spend more than they usually would on a trip before Coronavirus. Again, this is good news for the travel and tourism industries, as people are not looking to significantly rein in spending on travel. 

We also asked respondents to tell us how their holiday spending habits would change if their financial position worsened due to Coronavirus. 41% chose the statement: Holidays are important to me – after Coronavirus I would spend around the same as I usually would. This shows that even where household incomes are reduced travel remains a high priority.

Vacation rental amenities and services

Vacation rental services and amenities graphic


We asked survey respondents to tell us which vacation rental amenities and services would be most important to them for any stays after Coronavirus. Cleanliness is travellers’ primary concern, as ‘Professional deep clean before my stay’ was the most popular choice at 83%, followed by ‘Cleaning supplies in the property’ at 73%. ‘Checklist of cleaning procedures available before booking’ was ranked in 5th place overall at at 61%. 

The top five most popular vacation rental amenities and services were:

1. Professional deep clean before my stay – 83%
Cleaning supplies in the property – 73%
3. Free cancellation – 69%
4. Free parking – 66%
5. Checklist of cleaning procedures available before booking – 61%

However, whilst professional deep cleaning before each stay is highlighted as important, it is not something that the majority of our survey respondents would be willing to pay a little extra for. Only 24% said they would be ‘very willing’ to pay extra for a professional deep clean before their stay. This suggests that professional deep cleans are likely to become part of the ‘new normal’ when it comes to vacation rentals. Guest will expect owners and hosts to take precautions on their behalf as part of the overall cost of a vacation rental stay.  

Also of note is the importance of free cancellation – ranked in 3rd place by 69% of survey respondents. Hosts and owners with strict cancellation policies are likely to receive fewer bookings post-COVID-19 than those that offer a flexible cancellation policy.

Commenting on the survey results, TravelNest’s VP of Marketing Cameron Boal said: 

Our Vacation Rentals Optimism Survey provides a snapshot of how people are feeling about future travel in the wake of COVID-19, and more importantly, how their travel plans will change. Despite the huge restrictions placed on our lives by Coronavirus, appetite for travel remains strong, with a number of interesting trends within the data - particularly when it comes to accommodation preferences and trip spending. The results are welcome news for the vacation rentals sector and overall give a strong indication of a forthcoming upswing in bookings once restrictions ease.

About the survey

TravelNest’s Vacation Rentals Optimism Survey was conducted in May 2020.

The survey was completed by 350 UK-based respondents.

For more information, contact Cameron Boal, VP Marketing at cameron.boal@travelnest.com

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