I haven’t used Airbnb since finding two pinhole HD cameras in my host’s downstairs bathroom. That was in 2014. Since then I have stayed exclusively in hotels during my travels. This has its drawbacks. For example, I like to sleep in adjustable beds due to back issues, but I’ve yet to come across one in a hotel. Oh well.
The reason I mention Airbnb despite not using it myself is that the company just outlined the top travel trends for 2021 on its website. Needless to say these trends are dictated by the the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, as well as Airbnb’s marketing objectives. People are traveling less and, when they do travel, they’re a little wary of hotels. Airbnb is ready to spin this in their favor with rhetoric like this:
“safety and cleanliness will continue to be top of mind for travelers, driving a preference for private, entire homes over crowded hotels.”
Of course, logic dictates that if you’re afraid to stay in a hotel because of Covid-19, you’d be equally afraid to stay in a stranger’s home, if not more so. Hotels rooms are cleaned every day, after all. How often does the average Airbnb host clean his or her bathrooms, bedrooms, sofas, kitchens, etc.?
Anyhow, Airbnb’s travel trends are based on a survey of 1,010 US adults carried out last month. The top trend is remote working which, according to Airbnb, will result in a lot of people (83 percent, in fact) relocating so they can “live where they want.” We’ll see about that. My guess is a lot of businesses will put the kibosh on remote working as soon as they can.
The second trend is more people turning to the dreaded “staycation.” In 2019 the most popular travel destinations were the major European capitals; now they’re all domestic. National parks, coastal towns and the like. The survey found that 62 percent of people currently prefer a trip within driving distance of home.
“Pod” travel is the third trend. If you’re wondering what the hell that means, Airbnb explains it like this: “Whether it means traveling to be close to family members, or reuniting to quarantine with a group of friends, ‘pod’ travel is here to stay for those who want to safely be together while reducing risks associated with socializing with others.”
So there you have it: Airbnb’s self-serving 2021 travel trends. Make of them what you will.