We’re not going to lie, folks — this winter has been, well, quite vacant at many listings. Besides being our normal “slow” season, the number of visitors felt like it declined in Portland overall and overseas travelers to the US are down an average of 6% for the first half of 2017.
By the Numbers: Visitors vs. Active Listings
We say ‘felt’ because Portland’s final 2016/preliminary 2017 visitor numbers are still forthcoming, but last May’s Oregon Travel Impact report tracked a steady 2.6% growth year-over-year between 2010 and 2016. This would be wonderful if not for the explosive growth of competing short term listings during the same period– with more coming online every week. For comparison’s sake, there were about 600 listings in the city when we started hosting in January 2013. According to AirDNA, there are now close to 5,000.
Long-time hosts in local host groups have gnashed teeth over how vacant their rentals have been this winter. Some thought other listing platforms would be the golden ticket but have had zero reservations from them because they seem to have even less visitor traffic than Airbnb.
Nicely-situated downtown hotels were booking at $100/night recently and still have had last-minute vacancies. We’ve even seen über-luxe 2-3 bedroom penthouse suites booking for under $100/night, making it even harder for many of us to win reservations. When there’s a guest shortage, the impact is felt in concentric circles expanding outward from the core of downtown with areas in the outer NE hit the hardest.
While we have taken measures to compete by dropping the cleaning fees charged to guests and lowering nightly rates, it has been impossible to produce the tourists needed to maintain steady occupancy across all listings. We are eagerly looking forward to the late-Spring uptick we usually see in the rental market.
2018 will certainly prove to be another interesting year with more and more individual Airbnb units coming online– along with a few thousand new hotel rooms. We are optimistic that the city’s increased hotel/short-term rental capacity will lure larger conventions and that we’ll see more business travelers as Portland continues to attract companies of all sizes. In the meantime — tell some friends — this winter is mild and there are inexpensive places to be found in our city!