Travelers’ Interest in Vacation Rentals Soars in 2010

  • Nearly 87 percent of travelers who looked into the availability of vacation rentals in the past plan to stay in one in 2010
  • Demand for vacation rentals in New Orleans is up by more than 300 percent in third quarter of the year
  • About 60 percent of vacation rental owners report bookings in the third quarter of 2009 were on par with or higher than the same period last year

AUSTIN, TX, November 10, 2009 — Vacation rental homes continue to grow in popularity among travelers in the coming year, according to HomeAway, Inc. – the world’s leading online vacation rental marketplace – which today released its quarterly “HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report.” In fact, 87 percent 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 percent 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 percent previously stayed in a vacation rental – 25 percent 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 percent) 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 percent plan to look for specials or deals on vacation rentals
  • 40 percent plan to stay in a vacation rental to save or split on the costs of accommodations
  • 21 percent will look for hotel specials or deals
  • 17 percent will vacation at a destination within driving distance from home
  • 7 percent 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.

Vacation Rentals Provide a Whole Home for Less than the Cost of a Hotel

Of the cities analyzed in the third quarter, HomeAway finds the following markets offer particularly good value for travelers, especially in Orlando, where the price per square foot for a vacation rental is nearly five times less than the cost per square foot of a hotel.


New Orleans Rebounds; Interest Grows in Miami as Super Bowl Nears

Not surprisingly, the 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.

“We believe we’re seeing renewed interest in New Orleans vacation rentals because the average daily rate for hotels in the city have increased in the past months, and there are now more vacation rental choices on HomeAway, with listings increasing 133 percent in the third quarter,” says Sharples.

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%)

Miami, which hosts the Super Bowl in February 2010, is also generating increased demand. Traveler interest in Miami vacation rentals are up 50 percent, compared to last year during the third quarter.

New Vacation Rental Listings on the Rise in Some Markets

As travelers focus on value and owners of second homes look to generate extra income in today’s economy, many markets are seeing significant increases in new vacation rental listings. Carnelian Bay, Calif., and Austin, Texas, retain their positions from the last quarter as the destinations with the fastest percent increase in new listings. The top 10 destinations with the largest percentage increase of new vacation rental listings in the third quarter of 2009, compared with the same time period last year, include:

  1. Carnelian Bay, Calif. (317%)
  2. Austin, Texas (155%)
  3. Beverly Hills, Calif. (145%)
  4. New Orleans (133%)
  5. Truckee, Calif. (122%)
  6. Canyon Lake, Texas (120%)
  7. Santa Monica, Calif. (116%)
  8. Lake Norman, N.C. (108%)
  9. Chicago (106%)
  10. Estes Park, Colo. (103%)

For those who rent out their second homes, approximately 60 percent say their bookings for the third quarter of the year are about the same or higher compared with last year, which represents a negligible dip from the second quarter of the year when 62 percent of owners reported bookings were the same or higher.

Vacation Rental Owners Offer Deals, Make Home Improvements to Attract Renters

To continue to attract travelers and generate income from their properties, approximately 55 percent of vacation rental owners say they will offer some type of special deal or incentive to travelers in the coming year – down from 66 percent earlier this year. Of those:

  • 69 percent plan to offer a specific dollar amount or a percentage off the rental rate
  • 35 percent plan to offer a free night with the purchase of a specific number of nights
  • 17 percent do not plan to require a minimum-night stay
  • 16 percent plan to offer complimentary products or services, such as free tickets to a theme park
Beyond adjusting the rental rate for their vacation homes, nearly three quarters of vacation rental owners (73 percent) have other plans for attracting potential renters in the coming year. Among owners who are making additional efforts to attract travelers, the following plan to:

To view the complete HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report, click here.

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