Forget Long Weekends: During the Pandemic It’s All About Short Weeks

Reservations at TurnKey Vacation Rentals, a rental management company with more than 6,000 homes across the United States, are increasing by about one day per month, over last year. The median length of stay for October is five nights (up from four last year); November is six nights, up from five; December is seven, up from six.

Jennifer Grimes, the founder of Red Cottage Inc., which manages independently owned rental homes throughout the Catskills and the Hudson Valley, has seen such a year-over-year difference in booking patterns that she’s changed the company’s rate structure. Barring normal seasonal or holiday fluctuations, weekends and weekdays now cost the same.

“We were always functionally more about weekends, long weekends and longer stays for major holidays,” Ms. Grimes said. “And now it’s just totally changed. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday night — people want to get away.”

Red Cottage’s public availability calendar shows the “What day is it?” pandemic-era joke in action: There are reservations from Sunday to Friday, from Friday to Tuesday and even a Monday check-in or two. In response, Ms. Grimes said, the company has adapted.

“We basically have had to tear down and rebuild our housekeeping department,” said Ms. Grimes. “There was a business model that ran under certain assumptions — checkout dates, gaps between bookings. Combine that with the fact that people are living in these houses — three meals a day, more wear and tear — and there has been a huge shift.”

Short-week stays are also on the rise at hotels. Club Med Sandpiper Bay, an all-inclusive resort between Miami and Orlando, has seen a 9 percent year-over-year increase in four- and five-night reservations from June to October. Four-to-six-night stays are up 55 percent over last year at The Foundry Hotel, a boutique hotel in Asheville, N.C. At The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, the average stay this month is 5.2 nights — double last October’s figure.

New hotel packages spur — or reward — guests who submit to an extra night or two. The fifth night is free for every four nights booked at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort; the offer also includes a $50 food-and-drink credit per stay. At the Hotel del Coronado, near San Diego, families who stay six nights or more get discounted room rates and a $350 resort credit per stay. The WFP: Work From Paradise package at Conrad Punta de Mita, in Western Mexico, includes a $75-per-night resort credit for rooms booked for least four nights.


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