Posted on 1/4/2022 by Angie Schnell

What We Learned in 2021!

Back in 1977, Don Stone took ownership of Island Realty and made it the family-owned and operated business that it is today! We were the first property management company on the island, and we've seen so many things change in the last 45 years. Even when you've had as much experience as us, there is still plenty to learn, and we are striving to always know more! 2021 brought on its own set of challenges and celebrations, and on this week's blog, we're doing a recap! Keep reading to learn more about trends in the vacation rental market, changes in our demographic, and what we're looking forward to in the new year!

2021's Successes:

  • This year was a benchmark year for sure! After everything that 2020 brought us, people were ready to travel more than ever and craved normalcy.
  • Our occupancy was up over 10% from years prior, even in the off-season!
  • People were staying longer! Bookings for over a week were more common throughout the entire year. As more and more people were able to work and take classes from home, people were taking "working remote" to a whole new level and doing their work from the island!

Who's Visiting IOP?

  • While South Carolinians are usually going to be our #1 visitors, 2021 brought people from all over the country to the Isle of Palms! Here's the top 10:
  1. ​South Carolina
  2. North Carolina
  3. Tennessee
  4. Georgia
  5. Ohio
  6. Pennsylvania*
  7. New York*
  8. Kentucky*
  9. Indiana
  10. Virginia

*'s indicate states who are newcomers to the top 10, or have moved up on the list!

  • We even had some international visitors! People from Canada, the Netherlands, England, and France were choosing Isle of Palms for their vacation destination. 
  • For comparison, here's where our guests came from most in 2020:
  1. North Carolina
  2. South Carolina
  3. Georgia
  4. Tennessee
  5. Ohio
  6. Indiana
  7. Maryland
  8. Florida
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Virginia
  • ​Age Range: In 2020, our largest demographic was shared between the 20-34 age range and the 55-64 age range. In 2021, the 20-34 age range rose to the top at 21%, followed by the 45-54 age range at 19%! 

What's different about stays in 2021?

  • In 2021, guests made more bookings at condos as opposed to private homes! One-bedroom condos like the Sea Cabins and Port O' Call saw the most bookings among all of our condo rentals. 
  • More guests were booking online! We've been fine-tuning every aspect of the guest booking experience. While the split between booking online and by calling in is usually right down the middle, in 2021 online booking crept ahead.
  • Travel insurance! People are adding travel insurance to their stays more than ever. After everything that's happened in the last two years, people are learning more about all of the benefits of having this added to their stays. It's not just for hurricane evacuations, and can end up saving you money if something happens during your stay!
  • People tend to book months in advance! With everything that happened in 2020, people were skewing towards booking more last-minute stays. In 2021, we've seen these numbers return back to "normal"
    • We call the number of days between time-of-booking and arrival date the "lead time." Here are the stats from the past few years:
      • 2019: 99 days
      • 2020: 82 days
      • 2021: 99 days

**Use these numbers to your advantage!!** If you're looking to stay in a peak season, you'll need to book your stay at least 3 months in advance to have the best selection!

What's ahead for 2022?

Looking at what people are already booking for 2022, we're seeing continued growth and improvement! We've already seen a few bookings for multi-week stays during the summer which is away from our norm, so we're excited to see what the trends are for vacationers this year!


Previous Last Minute Trips: January 2022 Why You Should Be Traveling in the Off-Season Next