Vacation rental homes will continue to grow in popularity among travelers in the coming year, according to a new report by HomeAway, Inc. In fact, 87% of travelers who looked into a vacation rental in the past say they plan to stay in a vacation rental in 2010 — a significant increase from the 67% who stayed or plan on staying in a vacation rental in 2009. Of those travelers who stayed or will stay in a vacation rental in 2009, 75% previously stayed in a vacation rental — 25% were first-time renters.
"The fact that so many travelers who've stayed in a vacation rental home are returning to rent again shows the high satisfaction they had with their experience," said Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway. "And in this economy, vacation rentals are also attracting many first-time renters who are looking for greater value from their travel dollar. We expect this trend to continue even as the economy improves, as there has been a significant shift toward value in the overall consumer mindset."
Travelers Look for Value and Ways to Still Get Away in 2010
While more than one-quarter of travelers (28%) say the economy will not impact their vacation plans in 2010, most travelers will look for ways to save when it comes time to get away next year.
When travelers were asked how the economy will affect their 2010 vacation plans:
- 41% plan to look for specials or deals on vacation rentals
- 40% plan to stay in a vacation rental to save or split on the costs of accommodations
- 21% will look for hotel specials or deals
- 17% will vacation at a destination within driving distance from home
- 7% will shorten the length of the vacation
The average booking window (how long travelers book a property before their trip) has begun to climb to its pre-recession pattern. Travelers are booking an average of 94 days out in the third quarter — up from an average of 76 days during the second quarter of the year.
In 2010, only two percent of travelers say they will be unable to take a vacation due to the economy — a decrease from the eight percent who were affected in 2009.
Not surprisingly, the "HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace" report shows beach destinations continue to draw travelers, with eight out of the top 10 most popular destinations booked in the third quarter located in coastal areas. New York and Las Vegas stand as the two exceptions. The HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace report also identifies some emerging and reemerging vacation destinations among travelers. Demand for vacation rentals in the Big Easy is up by more than 300 percent in the third quarter.
The top five destinations with the largest percent increase in traveler interest from the third quarter of 2008 to the third quarter of 2009 include:
1. New Orleans (307%) 2. Estero, Fla. (149%) 3. Austin, Texas (141%) 4. Wear Valley, Tenn. (129%) 5. Manhattan Beach, Calif. (121%) "HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report," conducted by HomeAway Inc., November 10, 2009. Website: www.homeaway.com.