To summarize a resent survey conducted by Trip Advisor, a travel review site, there are 5 trends that should be noted to prepare for what lies ahead in 2011 for the vacation rental industry. Keep in mind that this survey has a relatively small sample group but it is deemed sufficient to indicated trends for the coming year. Their survey included over 1,400 travelers.
1. Good reviews for vacation rentals – The survey reported that in the year 2010, 33% of the sample group had stayed in a vacation rental home. Better yet was the report on the survey that 40% of the sample group actually plan in staying in a vacation rental home in 2011. If these modest survey results hold true we should be able to expect a year of expansion in the vacation rental home industry. Currently the US vacation rental home industry is estimated at $24 billion annually. Good news.
2. What makes vacation rental homes so appealing? The results of the survey indicated to us that comfort and space may still be the driving force behind the decision to choose a vacation rental home. The results offered by this group indicated that almost 30% of the respondents cited space as the main reason for choosing vacation rental homes. This is compared to a significant but much lower 13% who thought vacation rentals were priced better than hotels. We believe these results to be a bit of a surprise in lue of the economic conditions. Travelers still like comfort and may be tired of feeling like a sardine.
3. Photos tell the story for renters – Over 40% of those in the survey indicated that they chose a particular vacation rental because of the vacation rental photos. It is the pictures that give the renter the confidence to move forward with the vacation rental. While reviews seem to be important is was only about half as important as the imagery displayed to the traveler. Surprisingly enough, price was the determining factor to just over 10% of those surveyed.
4. Web presence matters most – Where are travelers looking to find their vacation rentals? Well I believe we are all confident that they are looking on the internet but we were even surprised to hear this report of about 70% of travelers finding their vacation rentals online. However, still impressive is the importance of referrals as about 25% made the decision based on feedback from a friend or family member.
5. Still Growing – The survey indicated one very important statistic. There is a huge portion of the travel demographic that simply have not thought to rent a vacation rental home. Whether it is life long habit or simply a lack of education, there is still a lot of consumer awareness that can positively impact the vacation rental industry. This should come a wonderful news to anyone associated with the vacation rental industry.
This may have been a small sample group but the results of this survey are certainly positive and a strong indicator of where the consumer is focusing their attention when it comes to travel accommodations.