Vacation Rentals for the Non-Tourist

Vacation Rentals for the Non-Tourist

Inhabit Vacations offers vacation rentals that are hand-picked by “curator” Rebecca Rosenfelt, herself a vacation rentals owner and life-long traveler. Inhabit’s properties are infused with local character and chosen to join the Inhabit network because they offer unique style and high quality for the discerning traveler. These special properties are for the “non-tourist.”

I want comfort, luxury, and pampering when I travel — and more.  I go to Inhabit’s site and dream of staying in this treehouse home or mountaintop vineyard cottage, both in  California wine country north of San Francisco. And didn’t I read about staying in a yurt on Inhabit’s blog? Beats the Hyatt any day.

A kitchen is a prime selling point for travelers when they decide to rent a vacation rental instead of a hotel room.

My problem with other vacation rental sites is that schlocky properties co-exist with beautiful ones and I have to wade through to find the flowers amongst the weeds.  I advertise the vacation rental properties that I represent here in Barbados on these mish-mash sites but only because Inhabit doesn’t yet include Caribbean properties in its listings. It’s the notion of curating properties that sells me on Inhabit.  I suppose one reason I like Inhabit is because I myself “curate” the properties I represent — my feeling is that if I wouldn’t myself stay there I’m not going to promote it to travelers who contact me about Barbados rentals.

A full living room: another benefit of a vacation rental over a hotel room. (Both photos are of vacation rentals I represent in Barbados.)

Vacation rentals is a fairly new option for travelers. Inhabit’s latest blog post discusses the trend toward travelers choosing vacation rental properties over hotels. I thought it interesting and asked Rebecca’s permission to use it as a guest-post here on PlanetBarbados. With thanks to Inhabit, here you go:

5 Vacation Rental Trends for 2011

By Rebecca Rosenfelt

The travel review site TripAdvisor released the results of its annual survey this month. After tallying results from over 1,400 travelers who responded, here are 5 key trends that can help us all better prepare for the year ahead.

1. People are falling in love with vacation rentals

In 2010, 33% of respondents had stayed in a vacation rental. A full 40% plan to stay in a vacation rental in 2011. The US vacation rental market, already estimated at $24 billion, is clearly set to expand in the coming year.

2. Elbow room and amenities matter more than price

While travelers love the value vacation rentals offer, they prioritize things like the extra space and convenience of having a kitchen. Specifically, 28% of travelers cite space as the main draw of vacation rentals, compared with 13% who cite the lower cost compared with hotels. Price matters, but it isn’t what matters most.

3. Photos, photos, photos

The biggest determinant of whether someone rents a particular property is the photos. In the survey, 42% of respondents cited photos as the biggest influencer, compared with 27% for traveler reviews, and 13% for price.

4. Internet is king, but friends matter too

A whopping 70% of travelers found their vacation rentals on a vacation rental site; 55% found their rental on a travel site. Word of mouth still counts for a lot, as 25% found their vacation rental through a friend or family member.

5. Opportunity knocks

Perhaps the most poignant finding from the survey is what a large opportunity still awaits this industry. While some savvy travelers have rented vacation homes for decades, out of the 2/3 of travelers who did not stay in a vacation rental last year, 22% said they simply hadn’t thought of it. Another 14% said they felt they had a better idea of what they were getting from hotels. A big opportunity exists for us all to tell travelers about the world that awaits them, once they let vacation rentals unlock the door.

As a little addendum, another trend some Inhabit hosts are noticing is that travelers are booking more during the low season to take advantage of off-season rates.

Note from Jane: Thanks, Rebecca and Inhabit. Anyone wishing more info on northern California vacation rentals, please stop by Inhabit Vacations.

PlanetBarbados blog readers, have you rented a vacation rental property anywhere in the world? If so, what did you like best? What did you not like?

2 Responses to “Vacation Rentals for the Non-Tourist”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for the lovely plug! I think travel curation is another major trend for 2011, and I’m so thrilled to have a fellow curator join the cause!

  2. Greg says:

    Beautifully written as usual, and you both make excellent points. Bravo!

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