The Independence Day holiday was anticipated to be the most popular weekend to travel this summer. According to a poll by Vacasa in which over 1,000 people were surveyed, almost half (46%) of the respondents stated that they would be traveling - compared to 31% for Memorial Day weekend and 25% for Labor Day weekend. And even with increasing prices, there was almost no correlation between the number of new guest reservations being made per active vacation rental unit and the price indexes for gasoline and airline fares. To date so far in 2022, guest bookings per active property are hovering around 2.6; less than in 2021 (3.1), but more than in 2019 (2.3). So, just how did this highly anticipated holiday weekend perform?
Beach Markets like 30A, FL; Myrtle Beach, SC; and Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, AL were true standouts over the holiday weekend. All three of these markets outperformed not only 2019, but 2021 as well. All three saw increases of 2-3% in adjusted paid occupancy (guest nights booked out of the guest nights available), increases in nightly rates over 2021 ranging from $16 in Myrtle Beach to $100 in 30A, and corresponding increases in revenue per available rental. Markets like Ocean City, MD; the Oregon Coast; and the Outer Banks of North Carolina experienced slight (1-2%) decreases in occupancy over 2021, but still saw marked increases over 2019 (+14%, +16% and +11%, respectively). Still, these slight decreases in occupancy did not take away from their bottom line; nightly rates and RevPAR all increased steadily over the past few years. Galveston, TX, like during Memorial Day weekend, struggled. Occupancy decreased roughly 24% over both 2019 and 2021. Nightly rates increased only $33 over 2019, which was not enough to offset the sharp decrease in occupancy, and RevPAR decreased by $11.
Performance in Mountain Markets was extremely varied. Occupancy in some markets, like Lake Tahoe, CA, and the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee increased over both 2019 and 2021, but rates decreased over 2021. In Lake Tahoe, the 3% increase in occupancy was enough to offset the $61 decrease in nightly rates, keeping their RevPAR from decreasing from 2021. However in the Smoky Mountains, a less expensive market, a slight (1%) increase in occupancy combined with the decrease in nightly rates (-$13) lead to a decrease in RevPAR of $25. Occupancy decreased in Asheville, NC, by 11% from 2021, but increased over 2019 by 1%. This pattern continued with nightly rates, but was not enough to keep RevPAR above, or even equal to, 2021 or 2019 figures. Jackson Hole, WY, and Park City, UT, both primarily winter markets, experienced very different results. While rates steadily increased in Park City, occupancy fell significantly compared to 2021 (-21%) and 2019 (-16%). This decrease impacted RevPAR; in 2022, the $66 amount was $7 lower than in 2019 and $24 lower than in 2021. In Jackson Hole, occupancy, rates and RevPAR rose over 2019 (+2%, +$236, +$143), but decreased from 2021 (-8%, -$19, -$67).
Most Urban Markets are making a comeback. Atlanta, GA, and Austin, TX continue to see increasing occupancy, though nightly rates were lower. With rates for both markets lower than in 2021 (-$3, -$72), RevPAR also decreased (-$4, -$25), but increased over 2019 (+$1, +$77). Washington D.C. saw an incredible increase in occupancy over both 2019 (+23%) and 2021 (+18%), but RevPAR suggests that rates were not optimized. With rates at the same level as in 2019, a 23% increase in occupancy only brought a $15 increase inRevPAR. Los Angeles, CA, and Palm Springs, CA, both increased their rates over previous years, but saw decreases in RevPAR. Their occupancy performances were also completely different; Los Angeles increased paid occupancy over 2021 (+8%) but decreased from 2019 (-4%), while Palm Springs decreased from both 2021 (-16%) and 2019 (-5%).
As a whole, the United States vacation rental industry experienced a lucrative Independence Day weekend. Adjusted paid occupancy was equal to 2021, while rates increased an average of $28 per night, and revenue increased $13 per available unit. Overall, we found that beach markets were the most successful over the 4th of July holiday weekend while urban and mountain performance was more variable. Key Data can also help you compare your inventory to others in the market. Interested in learning more about the July 4th travel trends in your region? Schedule a personalized demo here!