2016 Vacation Rental Survey: 10 Insights For Property Managers

Dec 4, 2015 | Expert Advice, Listing 101

The travel industry is constantly changing, adapting and growing to better suit the ways and wishes of the global traveler. As far as vacation rentals are concerned, they’re becoming increasingly popular for every type of trip, in every type of destination, at every time of year.

As the rental boom continues, we asked nearly 2,000 members of the TripAdvisor community what they want from their vacation rental experiences in the year ahead. Here are 10 key trends to keep in mind for 2016.

1. More Than Two-Thirds Of Respondents Will Stay In A Rental In 2016

This year, 67% of travelers plan to stay in a vacation rental, up from 59% in 2015 and just 52% in 2014. What does this mean? More bookings, more guests and a more lucrative 2016.

2. Long Stays Mean Full Calendars

The results show most travelers in 2016 plan on a week or longer stays when in their vacation rental, meaning a fuller calendar and less turnover. Here are the top three length of stay responses from the survey:

  • One Week – 43%
  • Three or Four Day Break – 28%
  • Between One & Two Weeks – 24%

3. Find The Pricing Sweet Spot

Naturally pricing will vary by location, home or demand in a given destination, but it’s interesting to note what travelers are expecting to spend on rentals in 2016. Most travelers are planning to spend somewhere between $100 and $300 per night. Here’s how they answered:

  • $100 – $199 per night – 46%
  • $200 – $299 per night – 23%
  • Less than $100 per night – 13%
  • $300 – $399 per night – 8%

4. Peak Seasons Are Becoming More Blurred

There are exceptions to the rule, but the summer months – July and August – are typically peak season for vacation rental stays. As increasingly more travelers choose to stay in vacation rentals, however, the peak season is expanding. We asked travelers when in 2016 they plan to stay in a vacation rental, and the top three answers were spread out between summer, fall and winter.

  • July – 24%
  • September/October – 22%
  • February/March – 21%
  • August – 20%

5. Certain US Regions Remain Popular

When asked where within the US travelers are planning to rent a home, 2016’s top three answers were consistent with last year’s results. The most popular area, and home to the family-favorite Florida, is the Southeast (45%). The Southwest (25%) was the second most popular, while the Northeast – offering picturesque summer retreats or powder-filled winter slopes – came in third (17%).

6. International Interest, Too

With over 740,000 available properties on TripAdvisor, travelers have more international vacation rental options than ever before. Of those renting outside of the US in 2016, the most popular destinations are Mainland Europe (50%,), the Caribbean Islands (29%), Mexico (18%), the UK (14%) and Central America (10%).

7. Views, Laundry, Outdoor Features Most Attractive

In a day where Instagram and Facebook document and share every detail of a trip, it’s not a huge surprise that vacationers are seeking a picturesque experience – in the form of amazing views. This was the most-selected answer when asked which amenities or features motivate our travelers to book a vacation home, followed by a washer/dryer. Folks seem to enjoy their outdoors time, too, with a private pool, hot tub and outdoor grill rounding out the top five responses.

  • Stunning Views – 82%
  • Washer/Dryer – 67%
  • Private Pool – 46%
  • Outdoor Grill – 33%
  • Hot Tub – 32%

8. 83% Of Guests See Dining In As Their Biggest Cost-Savings

That fully equipped kitchen is a huge draw and helps travelers avoid the daily expense of eating at costly restaurants. Hype your kitchen up and tell travelers what’s special about it. What equipment do you provide? Any fancy machines like a Nespresso or bread maker? Is there an outdoor grill for al fresco dining? Is your home near any local markets for guests to buy authentic spices and ingredients for their home-cooked meal? Aside from food bills, here are the top four ways travelers say vacation rentals help them save:

  • Dining at the property – 83%
  • Cost of rental compared to other accommodation – 72%
  • Free parking – 49%
  • Free laundry – 45%

9. No Reviews, No Thanks

Unsurprisingly, a whopping 99% of respondents said they would not consider booking a rental with mostly negative reviews, while 72% said they wouldn’t book a rental without reviews. Maximize your potential and encourage your guests to leave candid, honest reviews after their stay. A few sentences can make all the difference (plus a 5-bubble score doesn’t hurt, either)!

10. Create The Perfect Listing

Okay, so there’s no formula for the perfect listing. All travelers are different, and thus search for different priority points. Group size, location and budget are just a few factors you can’t control. But your property listing is your window to the world. Our survey respondents reveal which parts of your listing are “most important” to them when considering a rental. Location, reviews and images were unsurprisingly high on the list.

Most Important

  • Location Map & Details
  • Reviews
  • Pictures
  • Property Description
  • Amenities
  • Calendar
  • Property Name/Headline

*Survey is sent annually to over 1,800 US members of the TripAdvisor community.

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