2020 was an unusual year to say the least and the vacation rental market on Cape Cod was no exception. Local hotels and motels suffered as many vacationers were either unable to travel or reluctant to be in shared spaces. However, when comparing our experience as short-term vacation rental brokers to the hotel industry, we found the comfort of a clean private vacation rental home to be an incredible draw during the pandemic. Let's unpack a couple points of interest from last season and determine if that may influence 2021 and beyond.
1. Renters were not discouraged from weekly home rentals
Let's review here briefly since March 2020 seems like it was a lifetime ago. Once significant lock-downs were put in place by the Commonwealth in late March of 2020, short-term vacation rentals were put on hold. This shutdown prevented new leases from being written and left a looming question mark over the entire season. However, in early June when the restrictions on vacation rentals were lifted, the floodgates opened and boy did they ever. Most of June was spent furiously making up for the past 6 months of lost booking time and, as a result, our 2020 summer season was unmatched in recent memory for occupancy. Vacationers, after spending months cooped up in apartments and cities, wanted to get away and felt safer doing it in a professionally cleaned private home, like the ones we manage, than in a hotel, resort or other accommodation where more people congregate and comingle.
Vacationers were suddenly reminded that Cape Cod is a delightful getaway merely a day's drive from anywhere in New England, New York, and even down as far as Washington DC and farther west. The appeal of a sunny beach or private yard where you can spread out and remain socially distant from strangers - while also enjoying a cooling dip every now and again - is something that makes Cape Cod both unique and delightful in the vacation market.
2. Peak Season and Off-season each got a little longer
In our experience the most popular "peak" weeks for vacation rentals on Cape Cod are the last two weeks in July and the first two weeks in August. Bookings usually are less competitive for the end of August (kids back in school) and earlier in July but last year saw our waiting lists extend to double digits, even for some of these off-peak weeks.
In addition to the unprecedented summer season, off-season interest was also exceptional in 2020. In a typical year, before mid June as well as after Labor Day are challenging to fill due to school schedules; yet both of these times saw far higher occupancy rates than usual. With students and parents working virtually, many were able to either extend vacation time or come to the Cape to escape even during the school year or normal work weeks. Additionally, we had a number of retirees and remote workers just looking for a change in scenery that filled many of these vacancies.
3. What can we expect in 2021?
Based on how much booking interest we are already seeing so far we expect that Cape Cod will remain top of list for summer vacations for this year at least, and hopefully for quite some time. After 2020's jarring nature of shutdowns, ever changing regulations, and palpable uncertainty, we also expect local businesses to be able to better cope with the nature of operating during a pandemic. Many local shops, restaurants, retailers etc... have spent the past 11 months honing their operations during a pandemic and will be able to manage the summer crowds without the uncertainty of last year. We see Cape Cod continue to be a delightful summer vacation destination and hope you can come and experience it for yourself this year or in the near future.
For more information on a summer vacation rental, see our available homes --HERE--