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Covid-19 Forces Greece’s Short-term Rental Market to Adjust

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the short-term rental market in Greece and abroad to re-set its targets and focus on covering lost ground with experts expecting a return to normalcy in 2023-2024, according to findings of the 3rd BnB Greece Conference held online last month.

More than 1,400 professionals managing a total of 10,500 properties participated in the two-day event, which focused on short-term rentals & villas activity in Greece and Europe.

Covid & Short-term Rentals in Greece

Citing data from short-term rental platforms Airbnb and Vrbo, AirDNA analysts found that the number of overnight stays at Airbnb-style accommodation in Greece in 2020 came to 4.2 million compared to 8.3 million a year earlier, down by 49.3 percent.  

At the same time, the number of listings on platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo dropped by 11.6 percent to 72,591 in 2020 from 82,138 in 2019.

The number of listing nights dropped by 30 percent to 11.6 million in 2020 from 16.6 million in 2019.

The number of bookings fell by 28.5 percent to 37,355 in 2020 from 52,235 in 2019.

The average daily rate (ADR) dropped by 6.7 percent to 111.29 euros in 2020 against 119.24 euros a year earlier.

Revenue per available rental (RevPAR) was down by a 32.5 percent to 40.22 euros in 2020 from 59.55 euros in 2019 as a result of sinking occupancy levels and overnight stays.

For the first time, Athens attracted domestic travelers, followed by visitors from the UK, France, Germany, the US and Spain. Over the 2017-2019 period, US and UK tourists were main Airbnb-style customers in the Greek capital.

According to search data, travelers planning to visit Greece in the future are interested in renting out tents, farms and treehouses, said Vice President of Research at AirDNA, Jamie Lane.

At the same time, Greece should be prepared to see a rising interest by digital nomads and remote workers seeking short-term rentals.

Other key takeaways of the BnB conference:

– Covid year 2020 took a toll on Europe with Southern Europe suffering significant losses compared to Northern Europe and cities such as Paris, London, and Berlin seeing no nearly traffic. Coastal areas however fared much better 

– Europeans aren’t interested in traveling outside Europe and prefer short haul destinations.

Photo source: Airbnb

Looking Ahead

– more travelers appear to be opting for short-term rentals, which they consider to be safer, more private and affordable 

– people are keen on traveling with 42 percent saying they want to travel more in the future and make up for lost time 

– more than half (53 percent) said they want to visit more destinations, while half said they want to return to a destination they have already visited. Of those polled 43 percent said they want to explore new destinations in their own country 

– in view of Covid-19 concerns, 75 percent said they will seek health insurance and adherence to hygiene protocols

Other interesting findings indicate a growing interest, particularly among German tourists, to rent short-term accommodation. Last year, a large number of travelers who had never stayed at an Airbnb-style option chose to do so placing priority on flexibility in terms of reservations, open spaces (terraces, gardens), cleanliness and fast internet. Indicatively, in 2019, 70 percent of Europeans had never stayed in a short-term rental.

At the same time, the duration of stay increased for those combining travel and work.

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About the Author
Chicago-born and raised, Maria Paravantes has over two decades of journalistic experience covering tourism and travel, gastronomy, arts, music and culture, economy and finance, politics, health and social issues for international press and media. She has worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine, Time Out Athens, the Athens News, Odyssey Magazine and SETimes.com, among others. She has also served as Special Advisor to Greece’s minister of Foreign Affairs, and to the mayor of Athens on international press and media issues. Maria is currently a reporter, content and features writer for GTP Headlines.

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