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Why the Vacation Rental Industry Beats a Classic Hotel Room

Step aside, hotels, the vacation rental industry has got you beat

The hotel as we know it has been around for 250 years, and the basic concept dates back much further (think Ancient Rome). It’s done a great job, really it has, but just as newspaper classifieds had to bow down to Craigslist and the taxi had to pull over for the Uber, the hotel industry must make room for the vacation accommodation alternative that is revolutionizing the hospitality sector: short-term rentals.

A survey by Goldman Sachs revealed that once you go rental you never go back, with the likelihood of respondents preferring hotels to rentals dropping by 50% after even one experience at a short-term vacation rental. It takes a lot to disrupt an industry that’s over two centuries old, so there have got to be some pretty compelling reasons people are browsing Airbnb and HomeAway rather than booking Room 4C at the Holiday Inn. Here are just some of the incentives behind the rising popularity of the short-term vacation rental industry. Hotels, take note:

Vacation Rental Industry

Money, Money, Money

What’s more relaxing than a beachfront vacation with the spouse and kids? Try a beachfront vacation with the spouse and kids that DOESN’T have you putting off your retirement for another two years. Though rentals may not be cheaper than hotels across the board, they usually save you a lot when it comes to traveling in packs. In other words, you get more room your buck, a shared space for the whole family rather than a line of (costly) adjacent rooms connected by a communal hallway. Plus, booking a property with a fully-functional kitchen can save you lots in dining costs if you’re up for some home-cooked goodness.

A Local Experience

Hotel rooms might be pretty, but they’re also basically the same everywhere you go. On Airbnb and similar short-term rental channels, you’ll find homes with unique character that often reflect the local architectural and design trends. Even subtle decor choices can give you a taste of the culture and enhance your traveling experience.

Vacation Rental Industry

Location, Location

On a similar note, for vacationers who want to truly immerse themselves in the local culture, hotels can be somewhat isolating as they are generally situated on the city outskirts, surrounded by – yep – more hotels. They provide the perfect formula to make tourists feel like exactly that – tourists. Short-term rentals, on the other hand, can be anything from a lone cottage at the top of a mountain to an elegantly aged brownstone right in the heart of the city. So instead of just seeing your destination, you can become a part of it.

Just You, Me, and the Moonlight

Hotels provide privacy… in the 325 square feet that comprise a standard room. Everything else – the dining room, pool area, patio lounge – you’ve got to share. So for those looking for a more intimate vacation and full (temporary) ownership over the pool, hot tub, and kitchen, a private rental is definitely the way to go.

Vacation Rental Industry

While these are tempting benefits, some travelers might still be reluctant to part from familiar hotel conveniences. But as the short-term rental market quickly matures, we’re seeing it incorporate a lot more hotel-style features, such as housekeeping, 24/7 concierge services, and of course, that crisp white bedding that we can’t wait to fall into after a long day of exploring.

In fact, the impressive momentum of the vacation rental industry has hotels starting to mimic the system by diversifying decor to add more character to rooms and even adding private apartments to the categories of accommodations they offer.

Think about it: if the internationally renowned Marriott is getting into the homesharing game, the short-term rental industry must be doing something right.

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