The following are some recent trends from polls conducted by Travel Guard and TripAdvisor:
- Vacation rental properties continue to be a great value, especially for traveling families. In fact, there is an increased interest in rental properties this year, with 46% of respondents planning a vacation rental stay, versus 40% who said they stayed in one last year. And more than one in four (27%) respondents shared that it’s easier to spend time with family and friends in a vacation rental, selecting the greater amount of privacy and feeling of home, as two of the biggest benefits over hotels.
- Shorter (but with guests spending more) appear to be the trend in 2012. Nearly 30% of respondents noted shorter stays versus longer vacations (18%) being booked this year. The most encouraging trend, shared by 24% of respondents, is travelers spending more money at their vacation rental locations while on vacation. And like the TripAdvisor survey, 13% in the Travel Guard reader poll predict more families will vacation together at a rental property. Less significant but interesting, 3% of respondents noted vacation rental stays are being booked further into the future, and another 3% saw more conference attendees booking a rental property for their business needs in 2012.
- Amenities are beneficial to increasing guest retention with large flat-screen TVs and accompanying DVD libraries leading the list (31%), followed by swimming pools and hot tubs (22%), and wireless internet coming in a close third (19%). Providing guests an outdoor area for lounging or grilling was beneficial to 14% of respondents and providing guests with region-specific gear like a ski locker, bikes, beach towels, canoes and kayaks was important for 6%. Surprisingly, less than 3% rated great customer service as the amenity most beneficial to increasing guest retention. Likely, this is because great customer service is practiced by most rental managers, day-in and day-out.