Following a surge in bookings of 28 days or more, Airbnb has analysed why customers are booking apartments for longer than before. Rose Dykins reports

According to Airbnb, travellers are booking longer-term accommodation due to Covid-19, so they can relocate to be closer to loved ones, use their time to explore somewhere new, or work remotely in comfort.

Last month, the accommodation rental provider surveyed those who had booked a longer-term stay – a single booking of 28 nights or more – in the past three months.

Airbnb’s survey found that the pandemic was the reason 54 per cent of respondents had booked a longer-term stay. Airbnb Mexico CityBefore the pandemic, 10 per cent of guests said that the need to relocate was the reason they booked an Airbnb stay of at least one month – this has risen to 18 per cent over the past three months, which suggests long-stay accommodation has been a useful solution to those relocating due to Covid-19.

The Airbnb survey found a range of reasons why the pandemic has been a catalyst for relocating to long-stay accommodation. “Guests told us longer-term stays enabled them to escape their daily routines, be closer to loved ones, nature, or outdoor activities, enjoy access to different amenities (like a pool), have more space, or save money staying somewhere with a lower cost of living,” reads Airbnb’s website.

The survey also found that most respondents were not staying alone in the longer-term Airbnb accommodation.

While 40 per cent of longer-term stays were booked for one person, another 40 per cent were booked for two people – most often the customer’s significant other – and a further 20 per cent were booked for three or more people – with most respondents saying their trips included their partner and their children.Airbnb

Where and why Airbnb guests stayed for longer

In terms of where travellers were choosing for their longer-term stays, familiarity of the destination seemed fairly important. Some 46 per cent of trips were booked for places customers had visited three or more times in the past, have lived before, or currently live.

Similarly, having a network of people close by also seemed to influence the destination of choice. For trips within 50 miles of where customers lived, 78 per cent of guests knew someone in their destination.

Meanwhile, for trips take more than 300 miles away, 63 per cent of guest had people they knew close by. 54 per cent of guests knew at least one acquaintance in the destination they stayed, while 26 per cent had family there, and 24 per cent had friends.

In terms of what guests were using longer-term accommodation for, the top answers were to live, work or learn remotely.

Some 60 per cent of respondents were studying or working during their stays, and 65 per cent of these said that Covid-19 was their reason for booking a longer stay. Airbnb says that, most often, they reported a “new-found freedom to temporarily relocate while not commuting to offices or schools”.

What longer-stay guests were looking for from Airbnb accommodation

Airbnb Downtown LAAirbnb asked longer-stay guests what features were most important to them from the places they stayed. All of them rated high-speed wifi as their top priority, while being close to frequently visited locations (like nearby family) ranked second.

Airbnb also identified several different trip “types” from the longer-stay customer responses: leisure travellers wanting to be close to points of interest (such as national parks), remote workers seeking listings with comfortable workspace, large groups seeking family-friendly listings, and finally, retirees looking for neighbourhoods with good “walkability”.

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