Local Airbnb home in Houston Heights. 

Image: Brad Mack

Almost a full month into the new year, passengers are packing their bags once again to embark on vacations across the world. COVID-19 largely impacted the short-term rental market, with booking rates tanking from March 2020 to May 2021. Now, in 2022, reservations for vacation rentals are on the mend, and Houston is becoming a hotspot for out-of-towners一and locals一looking for a unique, low-cost getaway

In fact, according to Airbnb, on New Year’s Eve, nearly 4.5 million guests stayed in Airbnbs in more than 53,000 places around the world. Houstonia previously reported that more than “30,000 Texan residents currently share their homes via Airbnb,” and the vacation rental search engine All The Rooms found that Houston ranks within the top 10 cities with active Airbnb listings, with over 9,000 rentals. Not to mention the Bayou City is home to some of the most popular Airbnb rentals in the Lone Star State, so in the new year, many are taking a peek at what the city has to offer. 

While we’re still attempting to figure out how to maneuver in the city’s post-pandemic landscape, some of Houston’s most coveted happenings are making their grand return. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are back and better than ever in 2022, and its comeback feels promising一for both the city and its potential tourists. 

Brad Mack, Airbnb Host of remodeled Heights warehouse is anticipating a big push in 2022 following the pandemic-stricken year the business had in 2020. 

“Once everything began to open back up, things were really slow,” Mack says, recalling the bleak period where he received little to no bookings. “People were very hesitant and either canceled or rescheduled.”

In order to retain profits, Mack and his business partners had to pivot their business model and focus less on non-Houston residents and more on the city’s locals. Their Airbnb transformed into a multipurpose rental space, hosting parties, weddings, and family staycations. 

“We just really focused on people that are local, because that became the majority of our business and obviously it's right down there by midnight Park and downtown. So, you know, we do get people that like to stay ahead of different events.”

The inside of Houston Heights Airbnb. 

Image: Brad Mack

Though it’s been a slow start to the year, Mack says that he’s optimistic, and he’s seeing bookings all the way out through April. Local Airbnb host James H, shared a similar sentiment in regards to both of his Montrose-area listings. 

“The patterns are typically the same,” he explains. “It’s slow around January but picks up closer to the rodeo, and I’m usually booked from February to late November.

As cases have risen一and fallen一due to COVID-19 and its variants, Airbnb hosts like Mack remain optimistic. Mack realizes that the novel virus will become something that we have to learn to deal with. 

“My projections in 2022 is that it will definitely be a boom for several quarters, and I hope that everything can really come back fully.”



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