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The pandemic has changed the face of travel. The Airbnb market in Cyprus has also seen a radical shift due to several lockdowns and ongoing travel restrictions. Earlier this summer, Airbnb released a report and highlighted how 2021 would see a shift toward more meaningful travel as the pandemic continues to limit mass tourism and afflict the industry overall. When travel returns in 2021, it will be all about connecting with loved ones through more individual trips, with mass tourism unlikely to return in any proportion this year.

In the report, Airbnb Co-Founder and CEO Brian Chesky writes, “Once people feel safe to travel, they will. But it will look different than before the pandemic. Travel will be viewed as an antidote to isolation and disconnection. People don’t generally miss landmarks, crowded shuttles, and lines and lobbies packed with tourists. Mass travel is really just a different form of isolation—you are anonymous, herded around with other travelers, never really experiencing the people and culture of a community. What people want from travel now is what they’ve been deprived of—spending meaningful time with their family and friends.”

So what does it mean for Airbnb hosts worldwide, and in Cyprus in particular? First, let’s take a look at how the trends are shaping the market in 2021.

People miss traveling.

  • Travel for pleasure is the out-of-home activity that people have missed the most— more than going to restaurants and bars and attending sporting and other live events. 
  • Just thinking about travel makes people feel significantly happier (by 18 percentage points) and more hopeful (by 9 points) than they otherwise do on a typical day.
  • A majority is ready to travel again: 54% have already booked, are currently planning to travel, or expect to travel in 2021. 

This data is encouraging for everyone who has seen the market slow down due to travel restrictions in 2020. We are glad to see that in 2021, people are travelling to Cyprus again. We have, in fact, seen occupancy in the Aibnbs we manage to go up to 25 – 30 nights per month. These numbers are equivalent to the pre-pandemic levels. Interestingly, the guests arriving now are willing to pay more, as they are coming from more affluent markets and have been missing out on travel for a long time.

Travel will come back because people want to connect.

  • The type of travel people have missed the most is visiting with family and friends. Business travel is the type of travel they have missed the least.
  • Connecting with family and friends is also the type of travel that has grown most in importance as people look to travel after the pandemic: 41% say such travel has become “much more” important to them, almost twice the percentage who cite travel to accomplish personal goals (22%). 
  • Family travel has not only grown in importance for people post-pandemic, but other recent research conducted for Airbnb suggests that family travel is the type of travel communities most want.

This trend is one to pay attention to. Property owners who have large properties can accommodate families within multiple bedrooms and shared spaces. In addition, properties that offer private gardens and pools are currently very sought after. 

Enhanced cleaning and guest handling protocols. 

Airbnb has put out specific guidelines on how to prepare and clean your property between guests and how to make sure you minimize the risk of contamination when greeting guests. The protocols are contained in Airbnb’s cleaning handbook, which was developed in consultation with experts in the fields of sanitization and medicine. Hosts must adhere to this enhanced protocol and agree to it in their dashboard to keep receiving guests. After the host commits to the cleaning process, their commitment to enhanced cleaning will be shown to guests on their listing.

People want to stay safe.

One third (32%) want the “vast majority of people” at a destination to also be vaccinated in order to consider travelling there; 30% will want testing to be available there, and 29% will want to have urgent care available.

This is great news for Airbnb owners in Cyprus, as according to the latest reports, over 70% of the population has received their vaccine.

They are flexible on when and where they travel.

There is a strong desire to avoid the crowds of popular destinations. One in two (51%) are more interested in being isolated beyond major tourist areas than they are in being “surrounded by people and energy”. While in H2 2019, most nights booked on Airbnb were in larger cities, in 2021, it is the smaller destinations that are seeing major growth in demand.

What does it mean for Airbnb hosts in Cyprus?

The market is changing, and it’s important to adapt to new trends. As you can see, people are starting to travel again, and we see an increase in bookings over 2021. Also, people are prioritizing travelling with family or seeing relatives abroad. This is great news for hosts with larger properties or those that can offer the privacy and safety of private amenities such as a pool or garden.

Furthermore, people are more looking to find quiet and peaceful places where they can relax and get away from the crowds. While we have always said that renting your property on Airbnb is not just a summer business, this is now more true than ever. We have seen guests arriving to stay at a property for several months at a time during the winter and spring months.

On the other hand, there are new and elaborate cleaning rules and guest handling protocols to observe for your Airbnb rentals. These can be complicated and time-consuming to observe as a host, but they ensure the safety of both the hosts and your guests.

If you would like advice on how to rent your property on Airbnb in 2021, get in touch with our team for a free consultation.

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