HomeExchange recently shared some data on exchanges during the first year of the Covid pandemic. They claim over a million home swaps. And from the HE team I learned that 80% of the exchanges done in 2020 were domestic.
Here’s the email from HomeExchange:
One year ago…
…everything changed. Lockdowns began, social distancing and mask wearing were encouraged, we were told we should take a break from travel. As the world changed, many of us had to change travel plans that we were looking forward to.
Over the last year, our members rose to the occasion with their characteristic loyalty and generosity. Thank you for your compassion, supportive messages to our team, the help you offered to guests, and for giving up your homes for front line workers.
Thanks to our community, 1,298,530 exchanges took place over the last year, and members shared memories, vacation photos, and encouraging messages in our Facebook groups.
As we look forward to the year ahead— hopefully a year of vaccinations, travel, and a (cautious) return to normalcy— know we’re here to help you travel affordably and authentically.
Overall I think HomeExchange has done a good job of responding to the pandemic. They put a lot of work into helping people figure out cancelled swaps and changed travel plans. It was a really tough year. Especially early on when everyone had to cancel travel plans, I’m sure it was a lot of work behind the scenes.
As the pandemic progressed the HomeExchange team began encouraging local exchanges. Driving distance swaps that could be much safer during the pandemic. I agree with this direction. Keeping travels within a short drive, and then staying in a home where you can cook nice meals and avoid restaurants, is a great way to reduce the risk of catching and spreading Covid.
Overall I think home exchanges are lower risk than hotel stays. You know the exposure is limited to just your exchange partners. And you are almost certain to end up in a home that has windows and doors you can open to air it out. But still, staying home is the safest option during a pandemic. So I think it’s super interesting to see how many home exchanges did happen.
To clarify: there were not actually more than 1 million exchanges in the past year on the home exchange platform. HE does something a bit odd when calculating exchanges. They multiply the number of nights in the exchange by the number of people to get a total “number of exchanges.”
#People x #Nights = # of Exchanges
This means 14 exchanges might be 2 people on a 7 night exchange. Or it might be 7 people each on 2 night swaps. But it’s definitely not 14 distinct exchanges.
I’m going to guess that on average there are two people in each exchange. And during a year when short local swaps were probably the norm, I’ll guess 4 nights per swap was average. That gets me around 162,316 exchanges during the first year of the pandemic. That’s still a lot!
I know it’s been a tough year for everyone. But the pandemic isn’t over yet. Let’s all remain cautious until we’re truly out of this.