The COVID-19 pandemic had many vacationers looking for quiet getaways within driving distance of home - resulting in a windfall for rural Airbnb hosts.
The online rental service said hosts in Greater Minnesota have raked in $23 million since the beginning of the pandemic. That's nearly double the amount they earned in 2019.
The "typical" rural Minnesota host has taken in $6,900 over the past 12 months, Airbnb told Bring Me The News. Normally, these hosts would earn about $3,300 over the course of a summer.
It's a trend the company said is continuing nationwide, with queries for remote staycations booming ahead of Memorial Day Weekend. Searches for rentals within 50-300 miles account for about seven in every 10 searches of late. This makes properties that are away from denser cities – "off the beaten path," as Airbnb puts it – an attractive option for vacationers.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources saw a similar spike in interest last year, and changed its lodging reservation policies in response to the booming demand.
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is also seeing a flood of interest.
People want tents, yurts
"Staycationers" aren't just looking for a typical rental. Airbnb is seeing a surge in searches for more atypical lodgings. The number of searches for yurts is up 167% this year compared to 2019, while "campsite" is up 153%. Here's a look at the data Airbnb provided about search trends:
- Tent +260%
- Yurt +167%
- Campsite +153%
- Earthouse +149%
- Houseboat +142%
- Dome house +140%
- Farm Stay +119%
- Treehouse +111%
- Tiny House +109%
- Barn +86%
Oddly enough, the most wish-listed Airbnb property in all of Minnesota is ... this artsy, one-bedroom home in Northeast Minneapolis known as the Wolf House.