Impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals

The time is nearly upon us again – just 6 months to go until the FIFA World Cup!

 We’ve seen before the collateral of international events in certain markets (Champions League final). So, what is the impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals? We explore current vacation rental data for not just Qatar, but neighbouring Arabian nations also, including:

  • Current occupancy on the books for 2022 World Cup

  • Current advertised rates for 2022 World Cup

  • Supply changes for December 2022 ahead of the competition

Impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals occupancy

Worldwide, the occupancy on the books for the first week of the 2022 World Cup is 14%. This level of interest in advance has heightened since COVID restrictions were lifted, but it is a good benchmark for understanding the direct impact of the competition. For this study we have looked specifically to Arabian nations in the vicinity of the World Cup finals; partly to compare with comparable areas, and partly to visualize any impact to neighbouring markets.

Impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals - occupancy on the books for world cup vs 2019 graph

Our first chart, above, shows occupancy currently secured for the weeks of the competition in each of our selected markets. All have seen significant growth over 2019 levels at the same relative time point.

Qatar recorded the biggest jump, with a pretty undeniable 2059% increase. This brings OTB occupancy to 26%, 6 months ahead – almost double the worldwide occupancy on the books for the first week. This increase also dwarfs that of neighbouring markets (with only Dubai also exceeding worldwide levels).

Impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals pricing

So, what has this increased demand meant for how hosts are pricing their vacation rentals?

While vacation rental rates have in general seen a 24% increase in 2022 so far (over 2019), as a result of demand resurgence, this pales into insignificance compared with the escalations seen across the majority of our markets in question.

Impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals - average daily rate in arabian nations through world cup period vs 2019

While Bahrain has seen rates fall, Dubai and more particularly Abu Dhabi have seen very significant increases, both up to around 400 USD per vacation rental night. Hosts in Qatar meanwhile have reacted very strongly to demand, with prices across the host nation’s short-term rental supply up 800% at $1100 per night – already! To put this further into context, these rates are for 2 bedroom listings, meaning a per head, per night of $550.

Impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals supply

While Arabian supply has generally seen a ‘boom’ over recent years (even during COVID where destinations were at times considered havens), supply is the one area where Qatar is not experiencing a stratospheric rise.

Impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals -  Short term rental supply change in arabian nations December

In our final chart (left), Abu Dhabi and Dubai display impressive growth of around a third in terms of short-term rental supply inventory. While Bahrain is more moderate, Qatar has actually seen a decline in listings.

So in spite of the undeniable and predictable demand peak, why has stock declined? The answer lies in regulation. When the 2022 World Cup was announced for Qatar, a series of regulations were launched surrounding Qatari short-term rentals. These changes centre around licensing and were designed to abate the raft of new hosts who could potentially fall short of expected standards in terms of provision, health and safety, environmental concerns and more.

In light of this move, inventory in Qatar has dropped 10% from December 2019 to December 2022. Yet, when we compare November and December (when the event is due to take place) with shoulder months, active supply is actually 4% higher, showing appetite for the demand despite the regulation.

Impact on Qatar tourism

The general effects felt by Qatar as a destination and its tourism will clearly be significant. Short-term rental supply may not be huge, but is still significant, and the demand and pricing confidence still tell a story. General demand is even more plain to see when we refer to Lighthouse‘s flight index for Doha (Qatar).

Impact of Qatar 2022 World Cup on short-term rentals - flight search evolution index qatar graph

International sporting events of this magnitude can bring billions in revenue, and Qatar have that to look forward to.

Importance of vacation rental data

The above data constitutes yet another example of market compression well in advance of events, and the impact to short-term rental strategy. This kind of market visibility through data, on a continuous basis, positions property managers to make proactive decisions. Pricing and management strategy for their listings is optimized based on market conditions and competitive set activity.

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