TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, announced the results of its third annual vacation rentals survey of more than 1,200 U.S. TripAdvisor travelers, revealing an increased interest in rental properties this year. According to the survey, 46 percent of respondents are planning a vacation rental stay in 2012, while 40 percent said they stayed in one last year.
More Vacation for Less Money
Travelers say the chance to save money makes vacation rentals especially appealing. According to the survey, 82 percent of respondents said they’d book a last-minute rental stay if they found a great deal. Additionally, 85 percent said they’d choose a vacation rental over a hotel if it meant saving money.
It’s All About Space
One in four respondents say that having more space is the main draw of vacation rentals. In addition, one in five say vacation rentals offer a better vacation experience, while almost one in five (19 percent) like having access to a full kitchen in a vacation rental.
Vacation Rentals vs. Hotels: Biggest Benefits
Travelers say vacation rentals have benefits the hotels can’t always match. Nearly one in three respondents (32 percent) like the greater amount of privacy a vacation rental affords. More than one in four (27 percent) say it’s easier to spend time with family and friends in a vacation rental. And one in five say a vacation rental just feels more like home.
Top 3 Vacations for Renting a Home
What types of vacations are best suited to a vacation rental? Travelers list family vacations first (87 percent of respondents), followed by mountain getaways (80 percent) and beach vacations (73 percent).
Hottest Rental Regions and Seasons for 2012
- Among those planning a rental stay in 2012, the most popular U.S. region is the Southeast (33 percent), followed by the Southwest (15 percent) and Northeast (11 percent).
- Thirty-one percent plan to stay in a rental outside the U.S., with Europe (54 percent) the top pick, followed by the Caribbean (17 percent) and Mexico (14 percent).
- Summer will see the greatest volume of vacation rental stays (47 percent), while the spring (30 percent) and fall (30 percent) also project to be busy seasons.
Purposeful Planning: Tips from Travelers Who Rent
- Book in advance to land the best properties. Among survey respondents, 34 percent usually book their rental between three and six months out, while a further 22 percent generally confirm arrangements more than six months out.
- Try a new place each time. Variety reigns supreme when it comes to vacation rentals: 29 percent of travelers never stay in the same vacation rental year after year, while a further 40 percent rarely do so.
“The survey shows vacation rental stays continue to grow in popularity among TripAdvisor’s U.S. travelers, as more people turn to rentals for the comforts of home, additional living space, and overall value they have to offer,” said Dermot Halpin, president of vacation rentals at TripAdvisor.
Making the Most of Vacation Rentals: Expert Tips
Halpin offers the following expert answers to travelers’ three most common concerns about making a vacation rental booking:
- Will the property be as advertised? (39 percent): “There’s no substitute for fellow travelers’ first-hand experiences, so take advantage of the wealth of information in reviews and photos before you book. And don’t forget to share your thoughts with the community once you’re home.”
- Is it okay to send money for a property I’m unfamiliar with? (19 percent): “Payment requirements may differ according to the property, and a nonrefundable deposit can be part of the deal. Make sure you understand the payment conditions before you book.”
- Will the property have the amenities I’m accustomed to? (6 percent): “Make a checklist of the criteria you value the most – whether it’s Wi-Fi or a gas grill – and if you’re unsure whether any of the amenities will fit the bill, ask the owner or manager.”