Trends in the Vacation Rental Industry: Q1 2014

The vacation rental industry is poised for success in 2014. Here's a look at the new opportunities- and challenges- VRMs will face this year.

This is the first in what is intended to be a quarterly review of the top trends in the vacation rental industry. It is impossible to make a piece like this completely exhaustive, but hopefully it will still be useful to many of you.

What do you believe are the top trends? What can vacation rental managers (VRMs) do to benefit from the positive ones, and to limit the detriment caused by the negative ones?

Top Trends
I discuss each trend in more detail below, but so far in 2014 the trends dominating the vacation rental industry appear to be:
Below I will briefly touch on what each trend is, and its implications for VRMs as well as the industry as a whole.

It is probably too early to make any believable claims about the growth of the industry in 2014, but one thing is certain: the experts say it will be a great one.

2013 was the year that people really began to notice how travelers were starting to replace
hotel stays with vacation rentals. Though this trend fueled growth for the vacation rental industry last year, there was no guarantee it would continue. Despite this, experts believe the trend will not only continue, but actually accelerate
This is great news for VRMs. A rising tide lifts all boats. More travelers looking to stay in vacation homes rather than hotels means higher occupancy and higher rates for you. But there is also a danger associated with this. As hotels start
losing business to vacation rentals, hotel bosses are beginning to get scared.  And as successful business people, they know the best defense is a good offense. This has led some of them to publicly call for more regulation, which brings us to our next trend.

If 2013 was the year of Airbnb v. The City of New York, then 2014 is shaping up to be the year of Vacation Rentals v. The World. As the vacation rental industry continues to grow in size and visibility (see the trend above), it is also growing the size of the target on its back. Those with vested interests in the status quo, such as hotel chains, are not surprisingly starting to fight back. As they seek to stymie innovation and change, they are increasingly using their lobbying power to combat the growth and popularity of vacation rentals in the courts, as well as in state legislatures and city councils.
Just a few months into 2014, and this fight has spread well beyond New York. Across the United States, from
Palm Springs to Savannah, proposals for increasing regulation are cropping up. Even the state of Florida, once a reliable friend of the vacation rental industry, may soon turn foe. And this trend does not stop at the U.S. border. Even the French President has gotten involved, pushing to “slam the door on Parisian holiday rentals.”
This is a worrying trend, not just for vacation rental managers, but also for those travelers who enjoy increased choice, as well as the unique experience that vacation rentals can provide. Fortunately not all regulatory changes are in the same direction. Breaking from the protectionist trend noticeable in so many other places, Amsterdam has now “
legitimized Airbnb with new short-term rental rules.”
As a vacation rental manager, this is a trend well worth staying abreast of. Though the battle may not yet be at your front door, there is no telling when this might happen. Fortunately groups such as VRMA and the 
Short Term Rental Advocacy Center are working to get ahead of this issue before it becomes a real problem. 

Perhaps the best way to combat the trend of increasing regulation is to be vigilant in the fight to make the vacation rental industry more professional. This is obviously part of the mission statement of the Vacation Rental Managers Association, but that is not why I list it in this post. I list professionalism because it is a trend that has been picking up pace for a while now, getting coverage in such national outlets as the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, and it has huge implications for those involved in the vacation rental industry.
The beginnings of this trend could be noticed towards the end of 2013. During that time HomeAway made a number of announcements that made clear its intention of being on the forefront of this professionalization of the industry. From launching its curated
Andrew Harper line of luxury properties, to instituting its partnership program allowing homeowners to more easily work with professional managers, HomeAway began aligning itself more with professionally managed rentals than the RBO side of the market for which it is so well known. Add to this its push for instantly bookable properties, and the launch of a new pay-per-booking model (including an expansion of that model to VRBO in 2014), and the intent is even clearer. In addition, towards the end of the year HomeAway announced a number of partnerships, including ones with Interhome and Expedia, even further aligning itself with the largest professional players in the travel space.
As can be expected from the largest company in the industry, where HomeAway goes, others soon follow.
Airbnb has long claimed that its most common user is someone who has a little extra space, and chooses to rent it out to help make ends meet, not professionals renting out their property as a business. Despite this, and maybe due to concerns regarding the long-term prospects of such an unprofessional model, 2014 is beginning to see a shift in Airbnb's stance. Not only has Airbnb's Co-Founder publicly stated that the industry could actually benefit from more regulation, but Airbnb is finally embracing its hosts who are renting as a business, including supporting them by providing professional cleaning services. And it is this shift that leads us to our fourth trend.

New Entrants
In an industry as large and as dynamic as the vacation rental industry, there will always be new entrants, so at a high level this may not seem like an interesting trend. However, I mean a very specific type of entrant. For a long time many have believed that the large listing sites were the biggest “brands” in the vacation rental industry. But we are beginning to see this is a misunderstanding of what these companies actually are.
With the huge variety in their offerings, from couches to luxury villas or even entire villages, it is hard to argue that any of the large companies in this space have true “brands” in the way the large hotel companies have brands. Rather, these companies are portals or even platforms; more akin what OTAs are to hotels rather than being the new Hilton or Marriott.
And it is on these platforms that new and exciting entrants are working to build brands, and beginning to change the vacation rental industry. From
onefinestay's “unhotel”, to Beyond Stays' “stress-free hosting”, to MyVRHost's “seamless vacation rental management”, to TurnKey's low cost management model, to the plethora of “Super-Hosts” now active on Airbnb, the list of startups building on the backbone of companies like HomeAway and Airbnb grows almost daily.
With so many new entrants, the increased competition may be concerning to some. Though there will no doubt be winners and losers from all of this, increased competition means increased innovation, and that benefits us all. On top of that, this industry is so large, and growing so quickly, that there is plenty of room for quite a few “winners.”

The vacation rental industry continues to grow apace, and with growth comes change. Some of the changes are exciting, while others are scary. The best any of us can do is take advantage of the industry's growth, and adapt with the ever-changing environment as best we can. For more on how you can ensure you benefit as much as possible from many of these trends, please see an earlier post on this topic, or feel free to contact me directly at I look forward to hearing from you, and to seeing what Q2 brings.


By: Barry Cox
On: 02/18/2014 16:59:24
thanks for the synopsis with lots of links to view the details. re: regulation and professionalism, i'm wondering if anyone has generated a list of the licensing requirements for states (or internationally) for managers in the industry. seems pretty basic and perhaps something VRMA should develop. in my research (i'm not an attny of course), SC and NC and MT have licensing requirements with their real estate commissions, but the states of CO, UT, AZ, FL and TX do not. Anyone know one way or the other for sure on other states?
By: Andrew
On: 02/25/2014 11:29:43
Great suggestion, Barry. Also, as an update for those who are interested, yet more evidence that Airbnb is pushing towards professionalization - they are now providing free first aid kits and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors to some of their hosts.
By: John Dalgleish
On: 06/26/2014 04:34:06
Interesting article Andrew. Corporates like Wyndham moved into vacation rentals in Europe, following decline in timeshare demand. It will be interesting to see how their hotel programs will pan out with growth in vacation rentals.
By: does 3 week diet work
On: 12/10/2015 16:44:49
Wonderful work! This is the kind off info that should be shared
aceoss the internet. Shame onn Google for nnow not positioning this puhblish upper!
Come on over and discuss with my website . Thank you =)
By: online computer shop
On: 12/10/2015 17:04:33
It is appropriate time to make some plans for the
future and it's time to be happy. I've read this poet and if I could
I desire tto suggest you few interesting things or tips.
Maybe you can write next articles referring too this article.
I wixh to read more things abolut it!
By: sleep apnea treatment options natural
On: 12/11/2015 18:34:25
First of all I want to say superb blog! I had
a quick question that I'd like to ask iff you do not
mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and
clear your mind before writing. I've had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out.
I truly doo enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally
wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or
tips? Many thanks!
By: audio receivers
On: 02/05/2016 15:19:55
Yes! Finally someone writes about bluetooth speakers 2015 india.
By: seo affiliate case study
On: 07/13/2016 13:33:35
I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this website.
I am hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as
well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very
own website now ;)
By: curar y tratar la ansiedad
On: 08/26/2016 07:16:02
I am sure this post has touched all the internet visitors, its really really nice paragraph on building up new webpage.
By: Virtual Reality Entertainment
On: 09/12/2016 06:28:25
Hey! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to look it over.
I'm definitely loving the information. I'm book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
Wonderful blog and brilliant style and design.
By: Biox4 Ingredients
On: 09/30/2016 14:14:10
This is a topic that's close to my heart... Many thanks!
Where are your contact details though?
By: legal sounds
On: 10/29/2016 03:01:32
Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your site by accident, and I'm surprised why this accident did not took place earlier!

I bookmarked it.
By: Carri
On: 12/10/2016 16:39:11
Some truly interesting info, well written and generally user genial.
By: have a peek at this web-site
On: 12/21/2016 09:28:44
What's up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting
anywhere, when i read this piece of writing i thought
i could also make comment due to this brilliant
By: Manual
On: 01/03/2017 10:08:53
Wonderful, what a website it is! This website provides helpful information to us, keep it

Leave a comment

Please complete the form below to submit a comment on this article. A valid email address is required to submit a comment though it will not be displayed on the site.

HTML has been disabled but if you wish to add any hyperlinks or text formatting you can use any of the following codes: [B]bold text[/B], [I]italic text[/I], [U]underlined text[/U], [S]strike through text[/S], [URL][/URL], [URL=http//]your text[/URL]

Please enter this number in the box below: 482