Hotel demand and bookings are clearly picking up thanks to the pent up leisure customer, but the acceleration on the hotel side remains no match for that out of the alternative accommodation (AA) industry.
We judge the outperformance in AA vs hotels a few ways (app data usage, downloads, desktop tracking, etc.), which we have shared via this email and published notes. For more evidence of AA’s outperformance, our Florida market proxy continues to provide a nice directional signal for consumers appetite for AA.
Certainly, there’s a lot of variability in the data and subject to a lot of revisions (especially the current month of reported data), but the direction of the booking trends is important.
Florida has been one of the bigger beneficiaries of pent up leisure demand thanks to its relaxed Covid regulations and with other states opening up we’re impressed to see how strong the growth has been.
March capped off a huge month for Florida AA bookings and although the data through 4/22 implies a slowdown in April (vs baseline), we expect a big acceleration to close out the month – as a reminder, we don’t have the absolute figures so we’re just measuring the rate of change.
So while Florida might not be a perfect proxy for broader leisure travel, it is a good one for the AA market and is likely a solid contributor for the online travel agents (OTAs), particularly Vrbo (EXPE) and Airbnb (ABNB) who are more dominant in the US market.
Recent growth in forward bookings have been very robust, even before the easy comps set in.
We like the alternative accommodation space and believe $ABNB is well situated, but have a strong bias towards $EXPE and Booking Holdings (BKNG) at present and both names feature on our Best Ideas long list.