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Guest Blog: How to capitalize on the growing short-term and flexible rental market in 2022

By Emmanuel Lavoie, CEO, Jetstream Hospitality Solutions

In the post-pandemic world, workers are being encouraged to go back to the office, but I believe a vast majority will be reluctant to do so. In most countries, including the US and the UK, workers have the right to demand flexible working. Now that many people have experienced the benefits of working remotely, it is likely that companies will be inundated with requests for flexi-work.

It would be foolhardy to turn them down. Research from shows 81% of those surveyed want to continue working remotely in the future.

Companies forced to mandate remote working during the pandemic have discovered that it has led to happier, more productive employees – and who wouldn’t want that? Employers can take advantage of the surge in remote working by recruiting top talent from pretty much anywhere in the world, something that just hasn’t been possible before in any meaningful way.

The past two years of the pandemic have made people realize that they can work from anywhere, provided they have their laptop and an internet connection. Once travel restrictions are fully lifted, people will be free to move around and experience new countries, cities, and cultures. And when their work is done, they may want to lengthen their stay, which will have enormous implications for the short-term rental sector.

Booming demand for short-term rentals

There has already been a massive uptick in demand for short-term rentals, with the US leading the way, and we expect this to continue.

Remote, flexible working could be the long-searched solution to work stress, not least by freeing up time usually spent commuting to relax and spend time with family and friends. There are also implications for our broader travel aspirations. As our living/working habits become irreversibly blended, the way we choose to travel is also changing. This is a significant driver of the flex living appeal.

The flex living appeal

Travelers have recognized the benefits of self-contained accommodation. They enjoy the privacy and safety this type of accommodation provides. Workers are also choosing this option for the same reasons.

As we start to recover globally from the pandemic in 2022, travelers will continue to search for short-term rentals instead of pure-play hotels because of the individuality of the space and home-from-home amenities such as kitchen areas and a dedicated living room.

In 2022, as workers choose to live, work and travel in a new, flexible way, the demand for more extended stays is also likely to grow. As Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky said: “People can travel anytime, they are traveling to more places, and they are staying longer.”

Flex living can also refer to accommodation tailored to guest/resident requirements such as the need for a desk to work from, to switch from a short stay to a longer stay. At Jetstream, we advise property owners and managers to embrace this change as we predict that the trend for mobile working and traveling will continue to grow. Significantly, an eye-watering 87% from a five-country Airbnb survey said they prioritize the importance of flexibility when they travel.

The role of Build to Rent (BTR)

The ever-increasing demand for short-term rentals has been noticed by property developers and investors, many of whom are turning their attention to providing BTR apartment blocks as this is a sector experiencing a post-pandemic boom. So long as these apartments are offered on a flexible basis, they will likely be of huge appeal to nomadic workers and travelers looking for a homely place to stay.

Demand will also be driven by the Millennials, and the older end of Generation Z, who are now in their twenties. Both groups are increasingly choosing to live in purpose-built rentals with luxurious decor and state-of-the-art gyms as part of the package.

Indeed, experts at JLL estimate that the BTR market has the potential to increase ten times in size. The developers and investors that meet their tenants’ needs stand to make impressive gains in terms of the potential for rental growth and investment returns.

How technology will be the game-changer

The winners in both the short-term rental and BTR markets will need to go a step further than providing fabulous amenities. The key to attracting the best tenants, be they workers or travelers, will be including smart technology that makes everything work seamlessly.

This is an absolute must for property managers, as PropTech can do all the heavy lifting for them, from marketing and dynamic pricing to guest screening, keyless entry, answering guest queries, scheduling maintenance and cleaning, and much more.

We are excited by the changes happening in the real estate industry. There are signs that developers, property managers, and realtors are building flexibility into their businesses so that they can respond to changing tenant demand in an agile, tech-driven way. It is these, more entrepreneurial operators, that stand to reap the most benefits in the fast-changing, post-pandemic property sector.