A Phocuswright Special Project

U.S. Short-Term Rentals

What comes after a boom?

Contact us about becoming a sponsor: sales@phocuswright.com

Lead the Way in the Short-Term Rentals Segment: Sponsor Pivotal Research to Elevate Your Industry Standing

Our research into STRs has continually paced ahead of the curve

Phocuswright recognized the significance of short-term rentals (STRs) early on. Our deep-dive studies have continually paced ahead of the curve, identifying critical market trends:

  • 2008: The category steps into the spotlight
  • 2013: A steady shift towards online is led by vacation rental management companies
  • 2016: New waves of small, professionalized property managers bubble up, while inventory shifts towards urban destinations
  • 2019: STRs cross the bridge from alternative accommodation to mainstream lodging; rising guest expectations increase pressure to professionalize
  • 2021: Tides of COVID lift business, but research warns of heated post-pandemic competition with hotels

⬇️ Scroll to see Research Objectives, Key Questions to be Addressed and the benefits of sponsoring like getting the data.

Short-term rentals are in a whole new world compared with 2021

On the B2C side

  • Increased consumer familiarity with rentals
  • Higher rates of international travel
  • Remote work swung back towards in-person
  • Hotel room availability recovered post-lockdowns and as labor shortages ease
  • Mixed press coverage on STR market

On the B2B side

  • Supply saturation in many markets
  • Increasing regulatory headwinds
  • Expansion of property managers
  • Several major SPACs and IPOs, with varying success
  • Interest rate hikes impactinvestments and rental ROI
  • Hotel brands entering the rental game

What comes after a boom?

Despite marketplaces like Airbnb reporting healthy growth, there has been chatter about an “airbnbust” among hosts noticing a drop in bookings. Does this indicate a maturing market with slowing growth or is it a short blip before another growth spurt? This study will tackle that question from the perspective of both consumers and providers. Are STR guests loyal to the category, or is it just another lodging option?

Are STRs preferred for domestic travel only, or a serious consideration for international travel too? How has press coverage on issues like chores, cleaning, services or pricing affected travelers’ relationship with the category?

Suppliers and distributors are grappling with much more competition since the pandemic, shifting consumer tastes and constant changes in regulation. Have professionalized PMs really perfected the management process, or is there still a long way to go? Which players will flourish in the new normal? 

With a maturing U.S. market, the outlook is varied and uneven. This Special Project will give companies the insights they need to understand deeply the state of the STR market.

Through in-depth interviews, user surveys and proprietary market sizing methodologies, this research will uncover B2C and B2B implications for companies interfacing with the U.S. STR segment.

Phocuswright will work with you to set the research agenda, giving you access to unpublished and customized data.

Email us at sales@phocuswright.com

Research Objectives


  • Explore evolving consumer preferences in lodging selection and drivers of satisfaction in lodging, including differences across demographics and tiers
  • Examine traveler perceptions of STRs compared to competitive lodging categories
  • Test traveler awareness and associations with major STR marketplaces and management brands; enhance understanding of consumer relationships with major marketplace brands
  • Track key trends in shopping and booking


  • Size the U.S. short-term rental market and project growth patterns through 2028​
  • Investigate state of market professionalization, in management and in outsourcing key services​
  • Understand B2B usage of technology and outstanding tech needs​
  • Track key trends in distribution​
  • Analyze inventory increases/saturation’s effects on traveler decisions and STR providers​
  • Assess how host business goals are changing post-pandemic, and in reaction to current economic, real estate, and staffing conditions​
  • Identify opportunities to boost guest satisfaction and increase competitiveness with other STRs and lodging sectors​

Key Questions to be Addressed


  • How do travelers view the advantages and disadvantages of using STRs as a category?​
  • How have expectations of service standards changed since the pandemic? ​
  • How did the increased exposure to STRs during 2020/2021 affect consumer views of the sector?
  • Will press coverage of the category have lasting effects on consumer decisions?​
  • How much do consumers recognize major STR brands?
  • What are the brand associations?​
  • Do consumers understand the difference between small hosts and larger PMs?
  • Are different types of providers perceived to offer different qualities or types of stays?​
  • What are traveler attitudes and expectations towards different tiers of stays and properties? ​


  • How have business goals and practices changed since the high tide of 2021? ​
  • How are suppliers approaching distribution strategy?
  • Did COVID affect their relationships with platforms? ​
  • What’s the state of the “professionalization” of the market?​
  • How has increased inventory/saturation affected business practices?​
  • What are providers doing to stay competitive in the face of changing guest expectations?​
  • What are primary challenges that providers are grappling with? ​
  • What types of tools are hosts utilizing in their tech stack?​
  • What services are hosts doing in-house, and what are they outsourcing?
  • Where can tech companies or ancillaries address their needs?​
  • How are changing regulations affecting hosts? ​

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Growth of global short-term rental bookings slowing as significant volume shifts back to hotels

After two plus years of remarkable expansion fueled by booming pandemic-era demand, during which time travelers experienced the category's strengths and flaws, growth of global short-term rental bookings is slowing as significant volume shifts back to hotels. According to Phocuswright’s latest travel research report on the segment Global Short-Term Rentals 2023-2027, the slowdown can be attributed to the following:

  • Rebounding demand for hotels, which were hit harder during the pandemic
  • The recovery of business travel, which tends to be hotel-centric
  • A return to offices, resulting in fewer people working while traveling - a trend which was conducive to STR stays
  • Increasing regulations on STRs in many key markets

Phocuswright's U.S. Consumer Travel Report 2023 highlighted the shift back to hotels: The incidence of U.S. hotel stays was at parity with 2019 in 2022 (67% vs. 66%) after a dip in the intervening years, while for U.S. STRs it remained lower than 2019 (25% vs. 28%).

Funding for short-term rental startups cooling but more resilient than other verticals

Funding to the STR space is cooling dramatically in line with the rest of the travel industry, but has stayed more resilient in comparison to other travel categories. An analysis of Phocuswright's Travel Startups Interactive Database reveals that when comparing 2022 through 3Q23 to the past 10 years, the STR category has clearly been one of the strongest verticals across both time periods (see figure). That said, while there are typically multiple $100 million-dollar-plus funding rounds that occur in the short-term rental space in a given year, 2023 only featured one, when property management company Hostmaker raised $175 million in private equity in May.

Economic uncertainty is increasingly a reason for cautiousness, in addition to the restrictive factors outlined in this report. Yet 2023 was another record year for Airbnb on the wave of persistent demand, indicating a resilient market for what is still an emergent product with plenty of room for growth. In the coming years, STRs will continue to attract investment, reach new audiences, implement new technologies, and provide an increasingly high-quality guest experience on par with hotels on the path to mainstream travel adoption.

Readying for regulation in the U.S.

“While there’s been a spike in short-term rental regulation as the segment has expanded, enforcement has been a persistent challenge for municipalities who need to identify, shut down or penalize illegal listings,” said List. “These laws aim to create more uniform standards of practice for destinations that struggle with this.”
Madeline List, senior analyst, Phocuswright

Read the full PhocusWire Story: STR industry faces new rules in Europe; Airbnb welcomes change

More Phocuswright research on STR:

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