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The Spring Break Impact On Vacation Rental Markets

Each March, thousands of families and university students throughout the United States set out on their spring break vacations. Some flock to the mountains for a last-ditch chance at spring skiing, while others head to the warm-weather destinations of Florida and California.

While the tastes for each traveler vary widely across the nation, one thing is certain: vacation rental markets experience a substantial boost during March. In fact, besides the short-lived holiday weekend spikes, March is the second-best time for short-term rentals after peak seasonality during the summer months of June, July, and August.

In order to paint a clear picture of the degree to which spring break affects Airbnb (and how much it contributes to Airbnb’s projected revenues), AllTheRooms Analytics has examined the top 15 destinations which experienced the most month-on-month growth from February 2019 to March 2019. While some places are household names that need no introduction, there is also a good handful of eyebrow-raising underdogs. Here is how spring break affected the vacation rental market in 2018 and 2019.

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15. Scottsdale, AZ

Rising from the expansive deserts of Arizona is Scottsdale, a rapidly-growing metropolis with enough pool parties, nightlife, golf, and sunshine to keep any eager spring-breaker entertained for a week. Not to mention, Arizona is the de-facto hub of Major League Baseball’s spring training programs where 16 teams gather to polish their chops before the season begins.

This past March, Airbnb hosts in Scottsdale reeled in over $25,400,000 — up 38% from the previous month of February. As a testament to how fast the Scottsdale market is growing, hosts earned 30% more revenue in 2019 than they did in March of 2018.

14. Bahamas

Coming in at #14 is the Bahamas. While not technically located in the United States, it’s a hugely popular destination for American tourists and its vacation rental numbers are worthy of note.

Like many of the locations on this list, the Bahamas’ peak season (November through mid-April) aligns perfectly with spring break. And, because the country’s weather during February is about on par with its weather during March, the 42% uptick in month-to-month revenue can only be attributed to spring break. Furthermore, March of 2019 saw 10% higher ADRs and 15% higher occupancy rates than that of February 2019.

13. Siesta Key, FL

Located on the archipelago of keys off the southwest region of Florida, Siesta Key experienced some of the most dramatic upticks in month-on-month revenue in the Sunshine State. Revenue increased 47% from February to March of 2019, but also saw a 56% year-on-year growth compared to the previous March, showing that this year’s spike is not an anomaly. February ADRs in Siesta Key hover around $300, while March’s spring break impact bumped ADRs up over $350.

12. Daytona Beach, FL

Despite holding the Daytona 500 each February — an event pulling in hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the country — Florida’s Daytona Beach vacation market still harnesses impressive uplift from spring break during the month of March. ADRs increased by 12%, occupancy rates by 20%, and revenues by nearly 50%.

11. South Padre Island, TX

Located on the southern tip of Texas, South Padre Island is about as close as you can get to Mexico without actually crossing the border. The island is home to only just over 1,500 Airbnb properties in total, but the market performs extremely well come spring break. ADR jumps up nearly 40% ($209 to $289) from February to March, translating to a month-by-month revenue increase of 53%. Occupancy rates actually dropped by 2%, but this is likely due to hosts inflating listing prices in accordance with increased demand.

10. Tybee Island, GA

Just 30 minutes outside of Savannah, Georgia’s coastal town of Tybee Island has all the characteristics of a perfect vacation rental destination. Sprawling white-sand beaches, delicious food, wildlife, bike trails, charming cottages, and plush beachside mansions create the paradise-esque location and draw travelers nationally and internationally.

Tybee Island is no stranger to spring breakers either, as it’s within a quick drive of many universities in eastern Georgia. During March of 2019 the getaway island boomed with a 57% increase in month-on-month revenue, as occupancy rates jumped up by 27%, and ADRs increased by a modest 9%.

9. Las Vegas, NV

Due to optimal springtime weather, primetime events, and spring travelers, Las Vegas’ short-term rental market experiences a significant jolt come March. In 2019, revenue increased 62% from the previous month, ADRs increased by 22%, and occupancy rate increased by 17%.

8. Panama City Beach, FL

In October of 2018, hurricane Michael ripped through Panama City Beach, damaging thousands of properties, and rattling the vacation rental market. For a county that relies on tourism as its primary source of income, the natural disaster was devastating.

However, targeted advertising campaigns are now letting travelers know that Panama City is open for business. ADRs jumped from $165 in February of 2019 to over $236 in March, while revenues earned by hosts grew by 64%. More impressive still, are the year-on-year trends: Panama City now has 30% more properties listed than it did before the hurricane, and is earning 42% more in revenue — investment that has been invaluable for a recovering community.

7. New Orleans, LA

Between Mardis Gras in February, the internationally-renowned jazz festival in April, and optimal weather, springtime is the time to visit New Orleans. Despite all other events across the year,

March stands out among the pack in terms of rentability — 2019 saw ADR increase by 14%, occupancy rates increase up to 71%, and total revenue shoot up by 68% up to $31,656,174.

6. New Braunfels, TX

Known for leafy parks, winding rivers, and natural caves, Texas’ New Braunfels is a city near San Antonio that sees a huge influx in tourists during the spring months. New Braunfels is an anomaly in the sense that it isn’t a major brand-name destination, nor is it a particularly tropical beach destination. The suburb’s 74% month-on-month revenues, 24% increase in ADRs, and 21% increase in March occupancy rates secure it as sixth place on our list.

5. Cannon Beach, OR

Flanking the jagged Pacific coast of Oregon is Cannon Beach, a beautiful coastal town that’s home to some of the most impressive natural scenery in the region. While the weather in Oregon during March wouldn’t traditionally be considered tropical (temperatures hover around the mid-50s), Cannon Beach’s impressive vacation rental numbers during this time are a testament to the impact of spring vacationers. This year, revenues grew 83% from the previous February, and occupancy rates shot up from 34% to 54%.

4. Nashville, TN

Outdoor concerts, sporting events, barbecues with southern cajun cuisine, and endless green spaces are all on the agenda for those visiting Nashville during March. Nashville is a hub of the southern United States that is still fairly accessible from the northeast, making it an excellent option for spring break. This year, the roughly 5,300 properties in downtown Nashville experienced an 84% month-on-month revenue growth, a 21% increase in ADR, and a 32% increase in occupancy rates.

3. Destin, FL

Making it into the top three of cities with the highest spring break impact is northwest Florida’s Destin. Destin is located on the Panhandle on the banks of the Gulf of Mexico, just a quick drive from Pensacola. Destin’s numbers for March revenues more than doubled compared to 2018, with a 101% increase in revenues. ADRs and occupancy rates improved as well, with upticks of 36% and 40%, respectively.

2. Austin, TX

Austin is a city booming with springtime activities, so it’s no wonder it ranks second on our list of profitable destinations. Average temperatures hover around the mid-70s, there is a ton of outdoor festivities, and it has a huge supply of Airbnbs. Month-on-month revenue growth was boosted by 108% from February to March 2019, ADRs increased by nearly 50% (from $174 to $261), and occupancy rates jumped up by 21%.

1. Williams, AZ

Williams, Arizona is a city that undoubtedly had the most springtime seasonal growth this year. Whereas hosts in second-place Austin reported a 108% increase in earnings, hosts and property managers in Williams reported a month-on-month increase of 140%. Occupancy rates nearly doubled up to 46%, and the sheer number of properties increased by a staggering 50%. The reason? Williams is known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon National Park and with the recent wave of diversification among vacation rental property types (log cabins, tiny homes, and apart-hotels), Williams is proof of the vacation rental market’s changing image.