Holiday travel will look a little different this year for many reasons. With increased attention to health and safety, as well as the busiest travel period approaching, many are wondering if this will impact how and when we travel to see loved ones. And because Thanksgiving is right around the corner, Guesty, the software used by property managers to manage short-term rentals, provided insight on what is looking to be a not so merry season for the travel industry.

The software firm found that Labor Day accommodations bookings were 5% lower than in 2019, but advance reservations for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve this year are off by 16%, 35% and 33%, respectively, compared with a year ago at this time. Though this may not be surprising to most, as many are opting away from trips and travel in the era of COVID. This could also mean that there will be less cars on the road this holiday season (though you should still be prepared, if otherwise).

A survey by research firm Morning Consult also found that 47% of families are planning to cancel holiday get-togethers. Almost half say they will shift from in-person celebrations to virtual.

Many would think that a decrease in reservation volume would be the case across the board, but think again. In lieu of less people traveling this season, rates have already begun to rise and people are opting for longer lengths of stay (since they’re going through the hassle during COVID anyway). People will travel this holiday season for longer periods of time, but should be expected to spend extra coins on stays. Guesty tracked a 7% rise in average nightly rates for Thanksgiving rental stays this year compared with 2019. Travellers should book their first choice of stay now and take advantage of flexible cancellation policies that enable them to cancel up to a couple days in advance of the booking itself for circumstances outside of their control, such as the recent spike in cases across the country and impending state lockdowns if changes don’t occur.

And though hotel occupancy has improved since the coronavirus pandemic decimated all of our travel plans this year, many will still be opting for short-term rentals over traditional hotels during the holiday season. The main reason is preference in overnight stays that have full kitchens and outdoor spaces for hosting holiday meals, and socially distant accommodations for the whole family.

Bottom line: People are still traveling, but will have to pay more and will likely stay longer. Does this sound like you?