The Impact of April’s Solar Eclipse on Short Term Rentals

Event-based travel continues to hold rank amongst consumer motivators. Consequently, Lighthouse’s year-end market report predicted a rise in “destination diversity” for 2024. This is projected to drive demand for short-term rentals, which have a wider range of locations than traditional hotels. Budgetary considerations will exert diminished influence, as the report shared: “consumers seem to be putting even more of a premium on attending a major cultural or sporting event, happily splashing out on a trip while tightening their purse strings elsewhere.” Following the trend, the next event that will have a substantial impact on bookings comes next month. 

On April 8th, a total solar eclipse will be visible along a narrow track stretching from Texas to Maine. Short term rentals across the United States will see a boost in occupancy and average daily rates (ADR) as a result. 

Event Scarcity and the Impact on STRs

A total solar eclipse is viewable from any single place once every 400 years. After April, the next will happen in 2026 and will be visible from the Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, and northern Spain. The continental 48 states, however, won’t see another until 2044.

What does this mean for vacation rentals along the eclipse path? As demonstrated by the 2017 eclipse, the impact on booking is projected to be substantial.

In 2017, millions of people traveled to witness the two-minute event. This led to 95% occupancy, 77% ADR and 244% RevPAR for hotels in the eclipse path. On the day of the eclipse, Wyoming state doubled in population. Outside of the path of totality, total U.S. RevPAR, excluding markets within the eclipse’s path of totality, grew by 9%. That 9% lift for non-eclipse hotels is significant, and suggested accommodations within a few-hours-drive of the eclipse path also benefited.

The duration of totality in 2024 will be up to 4 minutes and 27 seconds, almost double that of 2017. The 2017 total solar eclipse was witnessed by about 20 million people from Oregon to South Carolina, and the upcoming will be witnessed by many millions more. 

Occupancy on the Rise

In 2024, major US cities have already seen an increase in STR performance, with higher occupancy, ADR and RevPAR levels along the path of totality and partial totality. This is expected to further increase for both the days leading up to the event, and the eclipse day. 

The following map shows the comparison of booking performance from April 5th through April 9th, 2024 to previous years along the path of totality. Impact on booking data along the path of totality.Source: PriceLabs

Texas is experiencing a major surge in occupancy, with increases of 170% for Waco, 86% for Austin and 139% for Dallas. Vermont, which would typically see off-season rates post-ski season, is sitting around 80% occupancy, representing a 214% increase for Burlington and a 22% increase for Montpelier. 

Little Rock, Arkansas has seen a staggering 200% increase in occupancy so far, and Indianapolis, Indiana tops the list with a 225% increase. 

Market Opportunities and First-Party Data

The 2024 solar eclipse is another demonstration of the financial impact cultural events can have on local economies. For vacation rental managers, the impact of these events underscore the importance of actively tracking market opportunities. They serve as an opportunity to leverage data and tailor marketing strategies to both attract target guests, and position rental offerings competitively amongst market opportunities.

For unexpected events, Aidaptive’s Predictive Hospitality platform actively monitors booking rates to alert vacation rental managers of trends happening in real-time. Schedule a demo today to learn more about how you can capitalize on opportunities that may otherwise be missed. 

Resources for Guests 

Guests can follow NASA’s interactive eclipse map to track timing of partial totality and totality.

Except during the brief period of totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun, it is not safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing. When watching the partial phases of the solar eclipse, you must look through safe solar viewing glasses – “eclipse glasses.” For safety, advise guests that eclipse glasses are thousands of times darker than traditional sunglasses, and ought to comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

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Katie Keyser
Katie is part of the marketing team at Aidaptive. She's a key strategic resource for the go-to-market execution.

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