While working in the vacation rental industry is very people-focused, it also comes with a lot of facts and figures. When you break down the numbers associated with rental income, marketing, scheduling, and maintenance, there are some things that may surprise you. Here are ten interesting vacation rental statistics that we bet you didn’t know.
Average Nightly Rate
One of the most significant questions vacation homeowners ask is how much to charge for their rental. Staying competitive with your prices is one of the most important factors in running a profitable vacation rental business, after all. So, what’s the average rate for a nightly stay? DRUMROLLLLLLLL… The average nightly rental rate in America is $217 per night, according to research done by HomeAway. But don’t go changing your rates just yet. Finding the right rate for your home depends on a number of different factors. These include rates of competitors, the season, the location and extra amenities your home has to offer.
A detailed analysis of your local market can help determine the best price for your rental in order to maximize profits. According to VacayHomeConnect, most travelers expect to spend somewhere between $100-300 a night, so finding the pricing sweet spot in that range is critical. But again, be sure to take these vacation rental statistics with a grain of salt—as your local market should be what’s driving your decisions.
Social Media Inspiration
In a world where we post, like, comment and share everything we do on social media, it makes sense that a vast majority of travelers use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms for vacation inspiration. In fact, 52 percent of travelers seek out recommendations from friends on social media when planning their trip. They browse Facebook pages, search hashtags and stalk their friends’ vacation photos as part of their planning process. The takeaway? Having a substantial social media presence is vital in keeping your vacation rental occupied year round.
The Kitchen Is Where It’s At
Before you pour a bunch of time and money into new landscaping or updated bath towels, take a look at your kitchen. Why? Well, 64 percent of renters say the vacation rental kitchen is the top amenity that motivates them to pick one house over another. Families love the idea of saving money by making meals at home and look forward to family dinners together in the comfort of their own home away from home. A fully stocked kitchen can add to the comfort and convenience of your guests’ stay. A modern kitchen with updated appliances, ample counter space, and extras like wine openers, baking sheets, Tupperware and kid-friendly cups and plates is crucial in accommodating the modern vacationing family.
Choose Advertising Carefully
Travelers are much more likely to try (or avoid) places that their friends tell them about. Today, word of mouth, online reviews, and social media play a much more significant role in attracting travelers than traditional advertising. In fact, 92 percent of travelers say that they trust their reviews of their friends over commercial advertising.
For a vacation rental homeowner, this is good news. It means that by focusing on creating a pleasant experience for current guests you are automatically advertising for guests in the future—at no additional cost to you. Making sure your current guests feel appreciated, safe, and have their expectations met is much cheaper than buying a generic ad in a magazine. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proactive about reviews. Be sure to politely ask your guests for reviews, and consider offering discounts for referrals. There are tools available to help you get more reviews as well!
Mobile Friendly Is A Must
Having a user-friendly website may not be enough anymore. Having a website that is easy to read and use from a mobile device is something all vacation rental homeowners should consider. Ok, maybe that’s not a surprising vacation rental statistic. But did you know that 42 percent of travelers use their smartphones to research and book their vacations?
To better engage guests who are using their phones, be sure to:
- Be available via text for guest questions and concerns
- Offer incentives for “checking in” on Facebook when they arrive at the rental
- Install “smart locks” on the front door
Last Minute Availability Is Key
In 2012, last minute bookings (reservations made within 30 days of arrival) was at 12 percent. Last year, that number jumped to a whopping 52 percent. This means that more people are aware of the ease and conveniences of a vacation rental and are more likely to book a last minute trip because of it. Having your home available for last minute bookings could mean the difference between staying vacant or earning new business. Keeping your calendars synced plays a major role in scoring these last minute bookings, and making it easy to “instantly book” your property online caters to last-minute travelers. And make sure you have someone available to field those late-night booking requests, so you don’t have to!
Starting Slow Works
If you’re new to the vacation rental game, you don’t have to have a full calendar of availability to make a profit. When you’re first getting started, aim for an occupancy rate of 18 weeks a year. If done correctly, filling 18 weeks a year could cover up to 75 percent of your mortgage payments! You can also use these 18 weeks to get honest feedback from guests and create a vacation rental experience that will make guests eager to come back.
Travelers Want Space
One of the main reasons travelers choose vacation rentals over hotels is because they offer more space. A traditional hotel room is 400 square feet, while the average vacation rental is closer to 2,000 square feet. Travelers appreciate being able to spread out a little and not feel cramped. Even if your vacation rental is on the smaller side, focusing on furniture and design elements can make each room feel more open and inviting.
Cater To Millennials
The millennial generation is known for spending their money on travel and experiences more than their parents and grandparents ever did. They take last minute weekend trips and well-planned cross-country trips. The average millennial spends $2,915 on travel each year, and they try to get away at least four times a year. To make sure your home is millennial-friendly, make sure it has lighting speed Wi-Fi, grab-and-go breakfast foods, coffee! and a pet-friendly option.
You’ve Got 59 Seconds
Travelers are used to having things at their fingertips, and they’re highly dependent on the web when making their travel plans. Living in such a fast-paced world means travelers don’t have time to deal with a sloppy website or difficult to read online listings. Travelers will spend about 59 seconds navigating your website and clicking through your pictures. If they aren’t impressed, they’ll move right along. Your pictures, a catchy headline, and a well thought out description are vital to keeping travelers looking at your rental long enough to make a difference—and a reservation.
Bookfull Keeps It All Together
If these vacation rental statistics weren’t surprising to you, great—you’re a well-informed property manager. But did you know there’s a way to gain deeper insight into your properties while reducing your workload and increasing your bookings? Bookfull is a comprehensive vacation rental management system that does it all. The best part? It’s FREE!
Request your demo today, and get more bookings!