US: Property management company Vacasa has taken a deep dive into the travel trends from 2019 and compiled a list of data-driven predictions to watch in the year ahead.
The predictions centre around Americans’ vacation preferences and the short-term rental industry at large.
The first two predictions were based on a study that Vacasa conducted in partnership with Allison+Partners in May 2019. The company asked 1,003 Americans above the age of 18 about their travel plans over the next 12 months.
Vacation trends and predictions
- People crave hidden gem travel destinations
Vacasa asked travellers what factor was most important to them while on vacation – and unsurprisingly, the majority [57 per cent] said it is all about location with more people opting for destinations off the beaten path.
By choosing charming towns and smaller cities outside major hotspots, travellers can save money and escape the crowds. Vacasa expects the trend to continue in 2020, especially given the larger cultural focus on the environment and broad awareness of overtourism.
- Dogs play a huge role in determining where and when their owner will go on vacation
These days, many American households view their dog less like a pet and more like a family member. This trend is extending to travel, with people believing their dogs should not be left behind during vacations.
Vacasa found that more than half of dog owners (61 per cent) choose vacation destinations with their furry companion in mind, while 64 per cent plan accommodations for trips specifically so they can bring their dogs. Since dog ownership has been increasing in the country year-on-year, the company anticipates that more people will have their eyes on dog-friendly travel destinations in 2020.
- Interest in alternative accommodations is increasing
According to Phocuswright, nearly one in three American travellers used private accommodations in 2015, up from fewer than one in ten in 2010.
Vacasa says it has seen this trend continue over the years, as more people crave authentic travel experiences. Vacation rentals often deliver a more personalised touch than standard hotel rooms, and they are more integrated into the surrounding communities.
Short-term rental industry trends and predictions
In October 2019, Vacasa commissioned a study through FocusVision, surveying 984 individuals who own one or more vacation rentals across the United States to get a better grasp on the evolving [and rapidly growing] short-term rental industry for its predictions.
Here is what they learned:
- Vacation rentals reign supreme over other types of investments – even entrepreneurs and millennials are taking note
Among owners who are currently using their property as a short-term rental, 82 per cent say their vacation home is equal to or better than their other investments.
However, over a quarter of the homeowners that Vacasa surveyed said they chose the specific location of their second home because it provides a good return on investment.
This trend extends to the younger generation who grew up during the vacation rental boom.
Vacasa’s Vacation Rental Buyers Report found that 61 per cent of those buying vacation rentals in their 30s are investor buyers. Approximately a quarter of them are also business owners—compared to only about ten per cent of the general U.S. population, according to Pew Research Center.
- Owners do not want home upkeep to feel like a second job
The average owner spends almost three weeks per year on regular home upkeep—and those with second homes say maintenance is the most difficult part of owning additional properties. With all the stresses of daily life, who really has the time or energy to take care of everything themselves?
Revenue optimisation takes work too – among owners who use their second homes as self-managed vacation rentals, only 13 per cent change their nightly rates at least once a month, and only 15 per cent list their home on more than two booking channels. This means they are missing out on a lot of revenue potential.
In 2020, Vacasa says it expects homeowners to increasingly search for support so that they can spend more of their valuable time decompressing or embarking on a well-earned vacation.
- More family homes are becoming vacation rentals
Among owners of second homes, 28 per cent received the property through inheritance. These individuals want to hold on to the home for its sentimental value, which explains why 61 per cent of those surveyed said they intend to rent out their inherited home.
For its predictions, Vacasa learned that Americans want to travel to under-the-radar destinations, bring their dogs along, and have a consistent yet unique experience.
Meanwhile, people across the United States are purchasing vacation rentals to make memories with loved ones and earn more “bang for their buck”. Those who inherit second homes are converting them to vacation rentals for the same reasons.
The common theme Vacasa is detecting among all of its findings is that 2020 is the year to invest time and resources into building real connections—and that is what vacations are all about.
For more information, visit the Vacasa website here.