Vacasa Study: Vacation Home Rentals On The Rise. Here’s The Trends

by Carolee Chanona

The pandemic isn’t over, but vaccinations are helping open things up. And it’s obvious in Portland-based vacation rental management platform Vacasa’s 2021 Vacation Rental Search Report, sharing insights into how consumers searched and booked vacation rentals during a pandemic year. With summer now well underway, there are signs of pre-pandemic travel trends re-emerging as the ‘new, old normal’. Summer guest occupancy at Vacasa vacation homes is currently pacing up 57 per cent compared to 2019. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global vacation rental market size is expected to reach $113.9 billion by 2027.

Released this week, the 2021 report dives deep into 12 months of data from Vacasa.com, narrowing down tens of millions of site visits and thousands of vacation home reservations to 15 key findings about browsing and booking habits that the company believes will have a lasting impact on travel preferences. Below, find some of Vacasa’s main findings from the report.

Squad goals

Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle

Family travel remains a popular choice, with 31 per cent of guests who search by home size seeking out two-bedroom homes.

Even Stevens
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Blissed out on the beach. Photo by Kevin Quischan Photography

Homes that host an even number of guests are preferred to those with odd-numbered accommodations. The most popular searches are for homes that accommodate two adults [38 per cent] and for those fit for four [17 per cent].

Wide-open spaces — Belize’s specialty

While they may have a specific state in mind, consumers are open to new destinations. Of the top 20 searches, seven are for anywhere within state lines as opposed to specific cities or towns.

Water Babies Unite
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Various rentals by Vacasa. Pictured: Swan Villas.

Of the top seven amenities guests search for, six are water-related. Whether the home is beachfront or simply features a hot tub, guests are making a splash this summer.

Weeks are the new long weekend

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Seven-day trips make up 15 per cent of Vacasa’s bookings, up from ten per cent the previous year. While trips are getting longer this year, guests are looking for homes with lower nightly rates, with 49 per cent of price range-based searches looking between $50 and $249.

There aren’t enough rentals to meet demand

Red Ginger Caribe Island

Image courtesy of Vacasa

Many travelers prefer to stay in vacation homes over hotels, for a variety of reasons. In some cases, vacation rentals can be a cheaper alternative to hotels. These rental properties can also provide a more spacious setup and often have more comforts typically found at home. Plus, they usually offer a lot more privacy than a hotel—a strong selling point during COVID-19.

Caleb Donegan, VP of Digital at Vacasa, said: “As travel picks back up after a pandemic year, we are confident that several of the search trends we’re seeing will linger—including travel in smaller groups, staying a bit closer to home and interest in outdoor adventure. However, as more and more states remove restrictions, allowing activities such as races, concerts and live productions to resume, we know changes abound, but expect the increased popularity of vacation homes to stick around for years to come.”

The 2021 Vacation Rental Search Report can be found in full here. Header image shows MorningStar Breeze in Dangriga, Belize; Vacasa manages over 200 rental properties in Belize, like this one.

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