The vacation rental industry is a massive and growing $170B market. In the United States, there are over 2,250,000 potential rental properties ranging from coastal condos to glamping environments. Most people are aware that Airbnb is the industry innovator and disruptor. Since their 2008 inception, over 400 million guests have stayed at one of their designated properties. The global vacation rental industry is rapidly growing with management, software and supplemental service providers to more accurately and efficiently manage listings. Therefore, the landscape is becoming more competitive for owners. Guests are rewarding owners that provide the best experience with excellent reviews, referrals and repeat bookings.

Remember, the vacation rental industry is part of the hospitality industry. The same standards for a five-star resort apply to your vacation rental.

Competition exists between surrounding vacation rentals, hotels and resorts. Based on these baseline comparisons, guests have high expectations for vacation rentals. These five-star standards begin at their point of search via their mobile device and extend to the online booking process, photography quality, interior design, property layout and functionality, location, amenities and access to nearby dining, entertainment, sightseeing, shopping and other adventures.

If you own or are considering owning a vacation rental, one of the first points of consideration involves identifying property target audiences. Here are some statistics that may be of interest:

  • Travelers are looking for a spacious and comfortable place to stay that is also affordable and functional.
  • Travelers are searching for properties that provide memorable moments including Instagram-worthy areas to serve as backdrops for social media posting.
  • Travelers’ list of necessary amenities include smart TV’s, gaming systems and Wi-Fi.
  • Previous guest reviews are an essential element of their decision-making process.
  • 54% of Airbnb guests are female.
  • 46% of Airbnb guests are male.
  • The fastest-growing Airbnb host demographic is seniors, with over 200,000 senior hosts and over 120,000 senior women hosts. Senior women are also consistently rated as the best hosts on Airbnb.
  • Most of this growth is driven by the tremendous increase in multi-generational travel needs booked by the family matriarch.
  • 88% of Airbnb’s reservations are for groups of two to four people and 60% of the reservations were for an entire home or apartment.
  • 700,000 companies use Airbnb for work.
  • Millennials account for roughly 60% of all guests who have ever booked on Airbnb.

The above vital statistics are important details that should factor into your ownership and hosting decisions. Other elements include the type of property to invest in, location, local laws, budget (purchase, updates, interior design and maintenance), potential ROI and your overall temperament for the risk and reward of owning a vacation rental.

It is important to remember that people vacation for a variety of reasons: to explore, educate, relax, reconnect, disconnect and make memories. In most cases, travelers are acting on some type of fantasy life that is outside of their norm. If you have the resources to make your and target audience of vacationers’ goals come to life, then analyze the next necessary steps in the evaluation process to compete in this progressively growing hospitality category.


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