Home for the Holidays ... But Don't Stay Too Long: New HomeAway Survey Finds There's a Few-Day Limit to Family Harmony

Dec 02, 2010, 08:12 ET from HomeAway

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ --

  • More than 50 percent of people say their relatives overstay their welcome after a few days or less during the holidays; about a third say their relatives never wear out their welcome
  • Holiday hosts are most annoyed by guests leaving belongings all over the house, while holiday house guests say they've endured some unpleasant accommodations, including having to sleep in a bathtub
  • Fathers and fathers-in-law are the most welcome overnight guests during the holidays

Spending time with a cranky uncle or an overbearing mother-in-law during the holidays has long been a source of discomfort for hosts and guests alike, but a new survey from HomeAway®, Inc. – the world's leading online vacation rental marketplace – finds some relatives can overstay their welcome in less than a day.

According to a special holiday edition of the "HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report," about one in five people (22 percent) say relatives overstay their welcome after a day or less, with some saying their family members wear out their welcome as soon as they arrive.  Another 29 percent say relatives overstay their welcome after just a few days.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101202/DA09870-a)

The report also found men (11 percent) are more likely than women (3 percent) to want to show relatives the door as soon as they arrive, while women (41 percent) are more likely than men (32 percent) to say relatives never overstay their welcome.

Playing host or hostess during the holidays can serve up a number of additional stressors, especially with family and friends staying overnight.  According to the HomeAway report, the most annoying habits of house guests during the holidays are:

  • Leaving their belongings all over the place (31 percent)
  • Not helping with the cooking/cleaning (26 percent)
  • Wanting to be entertained constantly (21 percent)
  • Going through cabinets and drawers (2 percent)
  • Dominating the television remote (2 percent)
  • Other (17 percent)

Of those who answered "other," about 40 percent said their house guests don't bother them at all.

"It appears that hosting extended family in your own home or apartment can be stressful and exhausting for many people," says Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway.  "The results of this survey came as a bit of a surprise.  For the record, my wife and I love having our extended family stay as long as they wish!"

Sibling Rivalry Alive and Well; Dear Old Dad Still Near and Dear to Many

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101202/DA09870-b)

When asked if they could find separate accommodations for one visiting relative, more than a quarter of respondents (27 percent) say they'd send their sibling packing while 20 percent chose the usual suspect: the dreaded mother-in-law.  Fathers and fathers-in-law were the most welcome during the holidays, with only 5 percent saying they'd want to find separate accommodations for dad and only 8 percent naming their father-in-law as an ideal candidate to stay somewhere else.

No Room to Spare: Relegated to the Sofa and Floor

It's not just holiday hosts that suffer; guests also feel the pain of sharing cramped quarters.  According to the report, travelers who've stayed with relatives during the holidays say the worst sleeping situations they've endured are:    

  • Sleeping on a sofa or futon (28 percent)
  • Sleeping on the floor (21 percent)
  • Sleeping on a roll-away bed (14 percent)

Other uncomfortable holiday sleeping arrangements reported include:  having to share a room with a child relative (4 percent); sleeping in a bed with someone who's not part of the immediate family (3 percent); sleeping in a camper in the driveway or on the porch (3 percent); and sleeping in a bathtub (1 percent).

"By staying in a vacation rental near your family's house, you can still celebrate the holidays with your relatives and you get a home-like experience without feeling like you're on top of each other the whole time," says Sharples.  "Affordable vacation homes and condos are available in every part of the country, from rural areas to suburbs to large metropolitan cities."

Checking into a Famous Beach Home That's Ideal for More Than 'Two and a Half Men'

Over the holidays, some people want to escape from their own homes completely.  If they could spend the holidays in a famous house from a TV show, about 60 percent of travelers who chose a home would check in to Charlie Harper's oceanfront Malibu, Calif., beach house from the sitcom "Two and a Half Men."  Other TV homes appealing to travelers include:

  • Jules Cobb's comfortably chic, beachy abode in fictitious Gulf Haven, Florida, from Cougar Town (16 percent)
  • The beachfront bachelor pad by the boardwalk in Jersey Shore (9 percent)
  • Jay and Gloria Pritchett's contemporary Los Angeles home from Modern Family (8 percent)
  • Bree Van de Camp's picture-perfect traditional Wisteria Lane abode from Desperate Housewives  (7 percent)

About the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report

Data for the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report was collected via surveys that poll travelers on vacation rental-and travel-related issues. Survey data collected from HomeAway, Inc. internal customer satisfaction research are based on 838 responses collected between November 13-19, 2010.  In addition, some data included in the report was collected from a survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of HomeAway among 1,007 U.S. adults between November 15-17, 2010.

About HomeAway, Inc.

HomeAway, Inc., based in Austin, Texas, is the worldwide leader in online vacation rentals, representing more than 540,000 paid vacation rental home listings throughout 120 countries. HomeAway offers an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, including more room to relax and added privacy, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodations. The company also makes it easy for vacation rental owners and property managers to advertise their properties and manage bookings online. The HomeAway portfolio includes the leading vacation rental websites HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com in the United States; HomeAway.co.uk and OwnersDirect.co.uk in the United Kingdom; HomeAway.de in Germany; Abritel.fr and Homelidays.com in France; HomeAway.es in Spain; and AlugueTemporada.com.br in Brazil.

In addition, HomeAway operates BedandBreakfast.com, the most comprehensive global site for finding bed-and-breakfast properties, providing travelers with another source for unique lodging alternatives to chain hotels. For more information about HomeAway, please visit www.HomeAway.com.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090330/DA91188LOGO)