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WEB EXCLUSIVE COVID or not, the Fourth of July typically means travel for many Americans. And while it may look somewhat different during a pandemic, plenty of us in North Carolina are still taking a vacation.
For this holiday weekend, leading online short term rental company Airbnb reports three destinations in the state that are trending this year: the North Carolina Coast, with searches for listings up by more than 40 percent over this time last year; the Outer Banks, with searches up by nearly 40 percent and, somewhat surprisingly, Greensboro, with searches for listings up nearly 100 percent compared to this time last year.
While the coastal and Outer Banks beaches and towns make sense to us—check out our North Carolina Beach Cheat Sheet for more on all they have to offer—Greensboro, the state’s third most populous city, seems like a bit of an outlier. The centrality of its location in the state may offer some clues.
“We cannot say for sure what is driving this uptick,” says Liz DeBold Fusco, an Airbnb spokesperson, of the rising interest in Greensboro as a destination for Fourth of July travelers this year. “Across the country, we have seen increased interest in new areas, as individuals and families are choosing to discover places within driving distance of their homes as they look to safely get outside, turning places like Greensboro into destinations.”
The company has also seen growing interest in travelers searching for listings in more rural parts of the state, including in in towns located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as in cabin listings, the No. 2 searched-for type of listing in the U.S. in early May.
“With guests still following public health guidance and practicing social distancing, many are looking for listings in places with things to do outside, like nearby trails and other outdoor activities,” says DeBold Fusco. “[Cabins and rural areas] offer these amenities, filling travelers’ needs while providing a private and idyllic setting to get away while still remaining within driving distance of home.”
DeBold Fusco says, following the COVID outbreak, renting an Airbnb listing versus a traditional rental home, condo or hotel room has become an even more attractive option to travelers due to the company’s enhanced cleaning standards for hosts and privacy for guests. The company implemented an enhanced cleaning protocol, including a step-by-step cleaning handbook, with CDC-informed guidelines, that hosts can opt into to help them clean and prepare their homes for guests and that travelers can search as they browse listings. The company reports that, for 94 percent of all Airbnb reviews, guests score their rental homes 4 or 5 stars for cleanliness.
“In addition, roughly three out of four guests recently surveyed by Airbnb said they would be more comfortable staying with their families in a listing than in a hotel with other people—as listings provide amenities like private kitchens and laundry, along with offering guests more control over their environment and travel experience,” DeBold Fusco says.
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