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What:Last month, vacation-rental booking company HomeAway released the “HomeAway 2018 Trend Report.” The information, which is based on 2017 demand data, provides insights into where and how Americans will travel in the year to come. Findings include the top domestic destination (Panama City Beach, Fla.) and international city (Paris), as well as unique data such as “Hottest Alternative Accommodations” (converted barns, treehouses and houseboats).
Why it Matters:HomeAway calls itself the “world leader in vacation rentals.” There’s no doubt that the company has a massive amount of real-world traveler data, so this report should be taken seriously. Travel agents can use this information to anticipate requests for unique lodging or take the initiative and offer clients options that are not standard hotel properties.
Fast Facts:- The list of top domestic destinations includes Panama City Beach, Fla.; Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Ala.; Walton County, Fla.; San Diego; Four Corners (Disney area), Fla.; and Hilton Head Island, S.C.
- Top international destinations included Paris; Whistler, Canada; London; Rome; Puerto Penasco, Mexico; and Florence, Italy.
- Four Corners and Davenport in Florida took the two top spots for number of homes that welcome pets, with San Diego, Palm Springs and Big Bear Lake in California rounding out the list.
- HomeAway spotted places where demand for vacation rental homes grew dramatically over the past year. The list includes Broken Bow/Hochatown, Okla. (demand up more than 200 percent year-over-year); Davis, W.V. (up 300 percent), a mountain biking destination near Canaan Valley and Monongahela National Forest; Spirit Lake, Iowa (up 200 percent), the largest town on Lake Okoboji; Texas Hill Country (up 120–200 percent, depending on town), this area is rich with wineries and rivers, attracting short getaway visitors from nearby Austin and San Antonio.
What They Are Saying:“Last year’s unexpected new favorites for vacation home rentals, places like Hurricane, Utah, were near national and state parks, showing that groups and families want to combine outdoor adventure with the comforts of staying in a home away from home,” said Karen Fuller, senior director of global market research for HomeAway. “The trend continues with this year’s surprise destinations, which are all in beautiful outdoorsy places.”
“Travelers renting homes on beaches and mountains are a mainstay of the vacation home rental industry,” said Fuller. “But as more and more travelers rely on HomeAway and VRBO, it’s interesting to see their preferences evolve. I would not have predicted a demand for treehouses.”