Weekend getaways have been a saving grace for New Yorkers who, trapped in their apartments, came down with the pandemic version of cabin fever. And Hudson Valley rentals have been profiting.
In 2021, Ulster County, which includes Kingston and Woodstock, had $85 million in bookings, 30 percent more than in 2019, according to a report by rental business StayMarquis. Immediately to the north, another Catskills destination, Greene County, had $67 million, an 80 percent increase.
The report was put together using data from Airdna, which includes all bookings made on Airbnb and VRBO.
Most of the market is concentrated in Ulster and Greene counties. But smaller countries have seen rental revenue surge over the two-year period. Sullivan County bookings totaled $29 million in value, up 64 percent, Delaware County’s rose 46 percent to $22 million.
“Towns like Roxbury or Narrowsburg that historically have not been rental markets versus Ulster or Greene County are now really growing as people are pushing out into these new markets for vacation rental destinations,” said Max Schuster, chief revenue officer of StayMarquis.
Lodging was still easy to find, however. Occupancy rates ranged from 20 percent to 65 percent, varying across months and counties. Properties in Ulster, Columbia, and Delaware counties had the highest annual occupancy, with peak occupancy above 60 percent in summer months. Properties in Greene County, however, have relatively higher occupancy in the winter months as they are near ski destinations.
Entrepreneurs responded to increased demand by adding supply. The number of available properties rose by 10 percent from 2019 to 2021, while the number of booked properties rose by about 20 percent, according to Schuster.
“What that means is, while more things are coming on the market, the number of properties that are getting booked is actually outpacing that,” Schuster said.
Owners increased prices as well. Ulster County had 48,000 bookings at an average nightly rate of $441, up from $308 in 2019. Within the county, Saugerties led in gross booking value with $15 million.
Greene County had 32,000 bookings last year at an average nightly rate of $549, up from $403 in 2019. Hunter led the county in gross booking value with nearly $15 million.