The Future of Short-Term Rentals, as Seen by Industry Executives

Skift Take

Several executives speaking at the recent Skift Short-Term Rental Summit offered predictions for the future of the sector, and here are some noteworthy ones.

From mid-term rentals to the regulatory environment and artificial intelligence, executives speaking at the recent Skift Short-Term Rental Summit in New York addressed a myriad of topics pertaining to the rapidly booming sector.

Several of them offered predictions about the future of the sector, and following are some of the most noteworthy ones.

Matt Curtis, Smart City Policy Group founder

Curtis spoke about whether industry executives would still be having discussions in the future about navigating the regulatory environment.

“I have a feeling the short-term rental regulatory discussion will always be with us. I think it will level and we’ll be talking about tweaking it a little bit this way and that. And I think the really smart thing we’re going to see, and we’re already seeing it from so many of America’s mayors and other local leaders is how we’re having a real discussion to make effective housing policy to create the housing our community (is) calling for.”

Alex Chatzieleftheriou, Blueground co-founder and CEO

Chatzieleftheriou discussed the growth of the mid-term rental market.

“It’s going to grow multiples faster than short-term or long-term over the next five to 10 years. There’s just too many reasons, on both sides, that capital and tenants are going to want to meet in the middle, because there’s more money to be made,” Hurst said.

Jeff Hurst, Furnished Finder president and CEO

Hurst discussed the demographics of the mid-term rental market.

“I think the opportunity to serve …. both the youth and then I think, in particular, actually the aging population … There’s a lot of people we used to call snowbirds in Texas who actually go live somewhere for months at a time. [They] are going to explore different platforms and probably have more word of mouth effect… For people who are going to go live two months in Austin by their grandchildren or three months here by the summer in a way that’s not really a short-term rental but is going to be a part of a growing category that feels more like living somewhere than vacationing somewhere.”

Brian Egan, Evolve co-founder and CEO

Egan believes artificial intelligence will play a critical role in the future of the industry.

“Everything that’s software-led in your business is going to be something that AI touches, or it should be — it will be for us.”

“(AI) will disproportionately advantage scale players in the space and we fully plan to take advantage of it.”

Dustin Abney, Portoro CEO

Abney said Portoro doesn’t use AI currently, but he sees its potential and the need to maintain or enhance hospitality.

“I think there are certain applications where (AI) makes sense you know right off the bat, so you don’t lose the local hospitality or the personal touch … AI is sort of this big space that’s accelerating and changing very dramatically — so you know, pricing, algorithms, communication … I think scheduling and routing people on the ground can help us scale … efficiently through markets. But we don’t have anything today AI-related.”

Jamie Lane, AirDNA senior vice president of analytics and chief economist

Lane believes that short-term rental listings aren’t growing as quickly as they have been in the past due to high interest rates.

“This is actually a good sign (for current operators),” he continued. “Because we see demand growth growing, and at some point those lines will converge. And convergence means occupancy growth.”

Jay Carney, Airbnb‘s global head of policy and communications

Carney delved into what steps he wants New York City officials to take after enacting legislation that essentially banned most short-term rentals in the city.

“We hope that over time, because of some of the organic, authentic lobbying, city officials will look at this again and redo the regulation in a way that actually addresses … legitimate concerns around the business, but also allows Airbnbs.”  

“We take the long view that the folks will want to come back and have conversations about the right way to do it, having now experienced the wrong way to do it.” 

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