Economic downturn, changes, staycations and trends have all been buzz terms in the tourism industry. Analyses have appeared repeatedly with discussions of what visitors are doing, how they’re spending and amenities they want. USA Today explores the rise of vacation rentals and reviews some website booking options in one of their May 2011 Travel sections.
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Interestingly, what’s old is now seemingly new as the travel tide has turned back to travelers selecting vacation rentals as an alternative to hotels. As the online market has been flooded with hotel sites, traveler review sites and social media tools and apps, the traveler is overwhelmed with choices. Simultaneously, visitors looking for deals, whether in their “backyard” or continents away, are increasingly becoming discerning to the amenities they seek. Free breakfasts, Internet and parking just doesn’t cut it anymore. Wanting to truly relax and live like a local, vacationers are opting to rent homes, with gourmet kitchens, spacious living areas, separate bedrooms and privacy to enjoy amenities away from other travelers are driving the appeal of vacation rentals again. The article cites that sales of vacation rentals grew about 9% to $26.4 billion in the three years between 2007 and 2010 (according to a 2009 estimate by travel research firm PhocusWright), a pivotal time in the economy.
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As always, anytime you book an overnight stay, know the terms and restrictions regarding the deposit and rate. Ask questions, get answers in writing and confirm information before you go. Vacation rentals are available for a range of budgets, so don’t dismiss the thought because once you figure your budget, with meals, excursions, etc., it will likely work in your favor to book a vacation rental instead of a hotel, and possibly a home that rivals any hotel suite you’ve ever taken. The payoff can be great, especially with perks seldom or never found with a hotel—private pool, use of car, personal chef, etc.