AirDNA, a Snowflake customer, provides data and analytic services in relation to short-term vacation rentals. The Denver-based company tracks the daily activity of more than 10 million rentals from companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo. The analysis spans more than 80,000 rental markets across the globe, and provides insights to rental property owners, property managers, and real estate investors. 

But AirDNA’s analysis has also revealed what many people are doing to reduce their exposure to COVID-19. While short-term rentals in urban areas continue to drop, suburban and rural rentals are on the rise. The data, and anecdotal evidence, indicates people are sheltering in place by renting properties in areas with fewer people. AirDNA data reveals that short-term rental revenue in rural areas of the U.S. has surged from $1.04b in March 2019 to $1.32b in March 2020.

Since its founding, AirDNA has focused on providing data at local levels so Airbnb and Vrbo property owners and managers can accurately price their rental properties. They also use the information to display how demand and supply are trending in their local areas, among other metrics. But the data services company is now producing data at the state and national levels, adding historical and other data, and making it freely available to media and other organizations. With hotels closing and demand for airline travel declining, the recent changes in short-term rental activity have emerged as an indicator of how people are responding to COVID-19.

“A lot of our data scientists and engineers have been helping with new (data) models so we can deliver trending and recent data from short term rentals that relates specifically to booking behaviors in certain areas” AirDNA’s director of marketing, Eric Fullerton said. “We have data that shows movements of people around the world and what they’re doing in terms of  consuming a rental product. And travel has become a kind of fulcrum point for understanding where we’re at with the virus.”

AirDNA is also working on new data models that will hopefully reveal additional insights about travel and movement in response to COVID-19. “Instead of just urban and non-urban types of things, we’re now looking at driving distances from various metropolitan areas and seeing if we can identify any additional trends that are emerging,” Mr Fullerton said.

The company is also looking at short-term rental data in countries that were first to experience a COVID-19 outbreak. “Once China begins to emerge from the virus, and some of these other countries where we track short-term rentals, that’s when we hope to see an uptick in demand and a light at the end of the tunnel. It gives people a sense of, ‘Hey, this isn’t going to last forever’.