Stock Downtown Dubai
Short-term stays in Dubai could be getting longer as guests seek a change in scene. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

The short-term rental market in Dubai and other cities had taken a hard hit since the beginning of the pandemic. From flight cancellations to total city lockdowns globally – the whole industry was shaken.

However, we are beginning to see the light - vaccines have been rolling out from city to city, and the outlook has turned generally more positive.

In the initial period of the pandemic, hysteria took over with many saying that tourism is officially over and will never return. Time has shown that this is not the case. Every city that opened up saw an increase in travel.

Read More

Mapping a turnaround

So, what’s next for the short-term rental market?

We will definitely see a boom in short-term letting as the worldwide lockdowns lift and pent-up demand is unleashed. We have already seen this trend in some cities, including in Dubai. It’s simply impossible for people to stop wanting to travel for pleasure, while it will be up to the governments to continue to regulate and curb the spread.

What we are seeing - and continue to see post-pandemic - is the increase in the length of stay. We don’t anticipate work travel to return to the same levels as before. Companies have realized the massive savings they can do while working over Zoom.

Make them stay longer

How this affects short-term lets is that travelers may choose to extend their vacations with the ability to work from their destination. It will become more important to ensure high-speed wi-fi and other ‘office’ facilities.

Another point of growth is travelers choosing short-term lets due to space and ability to travel ‘safely.’ After being cooped inside for long periods, people will not want to spend more time in small spaces – especially as they may still want to spend more time inside for an extended period (until vaccines come into full effect).

We will continue to see an increase in demand for larger apartments. In turn, there will be more options in new and more affordable areas, something we are already experiencing.

The attention to sanitation will remain post-pandemic, increasing the general cleanliness of short-term rentals. We will see more strict rules surrounding this, to the benefit of the guests.

Let tech help

Finally, we will see an increase in technology supporting the need for less in-person interactions. There is a growing demand from guests for self check-ins, another trend that has accelerated since the pandemic. Technology will fill many gaps… and facilitate the guest experience.

What COVID-19 has shown is that short-term rentals are necessary. In normal times, they provide much needed alternative accommodation for a growing tourism market. At the height of lockdowns, they become essential for anyone in limbo and needing a short-term solution.

What is certain is that this market will continue to grow far and beyond the end of the pandemic.