VR News Round-Up: Vacation Rentals Prove Their Worth

Astrid LindstromLeave a Comment

VR News Round-Up March 17

How’s 2017 been treating vacation rental so far? We dive into HomeAway’s site changes, the international tourism market, and the proof that cities should embrace vacation rental as a huge benefit to their local economies.

HomeAway Nixes Owner Phone Numbers

Owners’ phone numbers used to appear on their HomeAway and VRBO listings so that travelers could call and query directly, but no more. HomeAway wasn’t able to see queries made by phone, which interfered with its ability to track how many travelers converted to paying guests directly from the website. While guests can still get an owner’s phone number after they make a query online, their queries are now fully trackable – which is unwelcome news for those who wanted to work around HomeAway’s traveler fee, but great news for those setting their sights by Best Match.

2017 Sees Dip in International Tourists Visiting the U.S.

Vacation rental owners in tourism destinations may hear from fewer international tourists this year. After a record-breaking international tourism year in 2016, 2017 is off to a rocky start. As the dollar rises in value and the Trump administration makes major changes in travel policy, there has been a 6.5% decrease in net bookings to the United States. Meanwhile, flights and accommodation in European countries have become less expensive to visit, which may have tourists choosing to stay on that side of the pond.

Airbnb Shows Real Numbers in Local Economy Benefits

While vacation rental owners often struggle to convince their city councils that their rentals are a boon to their neighborhoods rather than a burden, Airbnb is helping by creating case studies for the impact of short-term rentals on city economies. The company reports it has had a $10.5 million impact on Detroit’s economy in 2016, $7.4 million of which went to local businesses. Airbnb also reports that it creates 730,000 jobs worldwide in hospitality and tangential industries like cleaning and maintenance.

Cities Need Vacation Rentals

More good news for vacation rental owners who want to show their rentals are an asset to their local economy: a recent article in Priceonomics shows that cities like Austin wouldn’t be able to host all visitors for events like SXSW without the assistance of vacation rentals. With 40,000 hotel rooms available nightly and some 500,000 visitors attending at least one day of SXSW, vacation rental is coming to the rescue with affordable lodging for large groups.

Who Has the Social Proof to Appeal to Millennial Travelers?

Millennials just became the largest generation, and despite their romance with technology they’re being shown to value one thing above all else – the human element. They rely on reviews and trusted contacts to influence their purchasing, which is great news for vacation rental owners with 5-star reviews and the willingness to reach out personally to their guests. Vacation rental may well surpass hotels as the preferred lodging option for the maturing Millennial generation.

Travel Just Got Even More Local

Airbnb recently launched a new branch of its platform called Trips, which gives travelers locally-sourced recommendations on everything from restaurants to neighborhood sightseeing. Recently valued at $31 Billion, the company is clearly betting hard that the trend toward unique, curated, and above all local experiences are what the next generation of travelers wants most. Again, this is great news for owners, whose properties are often located near amazing local gems that travelers increasingly want to know about and visit.

Want to enjoy more bookings even as the vacation rental industry continues to change? Evolve has been … well, evolving alongside the industry, and we’ve kept our owners’ booking rates high so they can continue to enjoy great revenue from their vacation rental properties. Learn how Evolve gets your vacation rental more bookings here.