Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on key performance metrics of accommodation properties by elaborating on the roles of business models (i.e. franchised, chain-managed and independent hotels, and the sharing economy) and state-level restrictions in the US. Design/methodology/approach: The pandemic is considered a variable interference against the average daily rate, occupancy and revenue per available room, which permits the examination of the before and after effects of the pandemic. The panel data model is used to examine the effect of the recent pandemic on the accommodation sector in the USA. Findings: The results showed that chain-managed hotels were the most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, while independent hotels were the least adversely impacted. Interestingly, and consistent with emerging consumer needs suggested by spatial distance theory, the pandemic does not have significant negative effects on Airbnb. The adverse impact of the pandemic on hotels was exacerbated in more restrictive states, while Airbnb remained immune to regulatory differences. Research implications: This study addresses the dearth of research on the types, roles and efficacy of business models in the accommodation industry and makes important theoretical contributions to the study of business model resilience in the accommodation industry, leveraging the resource-based theory of the firm and spatial distance theory. Originality: The findings of this study make a significant contribution to the extant literature on the resilience of business models in the accommodation industry and have important implications for hotels, Airbnb owners, accommodation brands and destination and health policymakers. They demonstrate that a lower level of corporate control and greater flexibility in brand and operational standards allow for a more effective response to business disruptions such as a global pandemic.