Vacation Rentals Popular For Spring Break Getaways;
Travel Outlook For Remainder of Year Appears Strong,
According to New HomeAway Report

  • More than 65 percent of travelers who looked into the availability of vacation rentals in the past say they plan to stay in one between March and May; Florida beaches still popular for spring travel, but New York City ranks in top five Spring Break getaways
  • Despite tough economy, nearly one in five travelers surveyed plan to increase their travel budget this year, while 68 percent say it will remain the same as last year

AUSTIN, TX, February 16, 2010 — The cold winter and record snowfall impacting several areas of the country has many travelers planning warm-weather getaways this spring, and many will be staying in a vacation home, according to HomeAway , Inc. – the world’s leading online vacation rental marketplace – which today released its quarterly “HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report.”
In fact, more than 65 percent of travelers who looked into the availability of vacation rentals in the past plan to stay in a property sometime between March and May. While most (66 percent) will use a vacation rental for a family vacation, approximately one in three travelers surveyed (30 percent) say they plan to stay in a vacation home for a getaway with friends.

“Vacation rentals are becoming a much more mainstream lodging option for travelers,” said Brian Sharples, founder and chief executive officer of HomeAway®. “Where people once used to think of motels and hotels as their only option when traveling, they’re now finding that vacation homes provide much more value because they can accommodate more people and they come with full kitchens and other amenities like private pools and barbecue grills.”

According to the HomeAway report, the following hot spots ranked among the most popular Spring Break destinations this year, based on traveler inquiries about stays in March and April 2010:
  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Miami, Fla.
  3. Panama City, Fla.
  4. New York, N.Y.
  5. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
  6. Destin, Fla.
  7. Daytona Beach, Fla.
  8. Fort Myers, Fla.
  9. Marco Island, Fla.
  10. Clearwater, Fla.

Travelers attracted to the value of vacation rentals compared with hotels may find even more value in the deals some vacation rental owners are offering this spring. According to the report, approximately 34 percent of owners say they will offer some type of special deal or incentive to attract renters during the Spring Break season. Of those:

  • 38 percent plan to offer a percentage off the rental rate
  • 34 percent plan to offer a specific dollar amount off the rental rate
  • 31 percent plan to offer a free night with the purchase of a specific number of nights
  • 21 percent do not plan to require a minimum-night stay
  • 20 percent plan to offer free cleaning services
  • 17 percent plan to offer complimentary products or services, such as free tickets to a theme park

Beyond Spring Break: Outlook for Remainder of 2010  

The most recent HomeAway report continues to show strong traveler interest in vacation rentals. More than nine in 10 travelers (93 percent) who looked into the availability of vacation rentals in the past say they expect to stay in one at some point in 2010.

And despite the tough economy, 17 percent say their travel budget will increase this year, while 68 percent say it will stay the same.

In addition, more than half of travelers surveyed (55 percent) say they would travel more this year if they had more vacation time. Money and bad news about the economy continued to factor into travelers’ plans, with 43 percent saying they’d travel more if they received a salary increase and 25 percent saying they would travel more if they felt more confident in the economy. Despite the economic woes expressed by many, some 33 percent say they would be prompted to travel more this year if it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Travel Planning: In Search of a Deal When it Comes to Accommodations

In planning their vacations, 72 percent of those surveyed say it’s most important to find deals on accommodations. Fifteen percent say finding a deal on transportation to their destination, such as airline or train tickets, is most important, while only 4 percent of travelers say it’s important to find a deal on a rental car. Five percent say deals on entertainment and attractions are most important, while 4 percent cite deals on food and restaurants.

“Accommodations typically account for the bulk of a family’s travel budget, so saving in that area is impactful,” says Sharples. “Because our customers can get a whole home for half of the cost of a hotel, we find that many of them are able to travel more frequently and take longer vacations.”

The HomeAway report also finds that, on average, the price per square foot for a U.S. hotel is more than twice the price per square foot of a vacation rental. However, in Phoenix, the hotels cost nearly five times more per square foot than vacation rentals.

Of the cities analyzed in the latest report, HomeAway finds the following markets offer particularly good value for travelers:

For the complete findings from the latest edition of the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report, click here.

For information contact:
Eileen Buesing
Director of Global Public Relations
HomeAway, Inc.
Office- 512-493-0375