AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Vacation rental owners reported year-over-year increases in occupancy rates and average weekly rental rates during this year's key summer travel season, signaling a continually strengthening travel and tourism industry, according to a new report from HomeAway, Inc. – the world's largest online marketplace for vacation rentals.
The latest "HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report" finds nearly three quarters of owners (72 percent) who consider summer to be their peak season1 reported occupancy rates of 76 percent or higher, up from 68 percent last summer. These owners also reported an average weekly rental rate of $1,493 or $213.29 per night.
By comparison, Smith Travel Research, Inc. – a hotel industry research firm – reported the average occupancy rate for U.S. hotels between June and August was approximately 70 percent (versus 68 percent for the same time period last year) with an average room rate of $106.97 per night, representing just a 5 percent increase over the same time period in 2011.
Overall, nearly nine in 10 vacation rental owners (87 percent) say their summer business was about the same or better than last summer.
"We're pleased with the feedback we're getting from our vacation rental owners. Even owners with properties in destinations where summer is typically a shoulder season or an off-season have reported a good season in terms of occupancy," says Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway®. "It's clear that owners who invest just a minimal amount of time marketing their vacation rental can generate valuable income."
A Little Effort Goes a Long Way
According to the report, vacation rental owners spend an average of 8.6 hours per week marketing and managing their vacation rental properties, and that time is well spent, considering owners generate an average of about $26,0002 per year in rental income. "That's about $58 HomeAway vacation rental owners are making an hour, which is a nice supplemental salary," says Sharples.
In fact, about 43 percent of owners use the income generated from their vacation rental almost like they would a salary – for everyday living expenses, discretionary spending, and savings for the future.
About 59 percent use the income to maintain or make upgrades to their rental property. New linens, furniture, electronics, exterior maintenance, and interior painting/wallpapering are among the most common improvements made by vacation rental owners in the past 12 months.
According to the report, 47 percent of owners also report using their rental income to help pay the mortgage on the property. Among those owners who have a mortgage on their vacation rental home, nearly half (49 percent) are able to cover at least three quarters of their mortgage payment.
Leisurely Retreats Become Profit-Generating Assets
Most vacation rental owners say they originally purchased their second home for personal use (33 percent) or as a long-term investment (31 percent), and half of all owners (50 percent) say they spent between one and 28 days in their vacation rental within the past 12 months. Another 27 percent stayed for one month or longer.
While many owners say work and family obligations, along with limited vacation time, prevent them from using their vacation home more frequently, they also say they're able to rent out their homes when they're not using them to generate extra money. More than six in 10 owners (65 percent) say they decided to rent their homes to travelers to cover some or all of their expenses and another 23 percent started renting with the intent to turn a profit.
According to the HomeAway report, vacation home owners along the Jersey Shore were among the most inclined to list their vacation homes for rent in the most recent quarter. In fact, three of the top five markets with the largest increase in new vacation rental listings were along the Garden State's coast. Sea Isle City, N.J., had the largest increase in people listing their vacation home for rent on HomeAway.com during the second quarter of 2012, followed by Lavallette, N.J.; Balboa Peninsula, Calif.; Angel Fire, N.M.; and Long Beach Island, N.J.
For those who are thinking about buying a vacation property with the intent to rent it to travelers may want to consider the Balboa Peninsula, which saw a 222 percent increase in inquires from travelers looking to rent a vacation home on HomeAway.com during the second quarter of 2012.
The top 10 markets where traveler demand is on the rise, based on a year-over-year analysis (Q2 2011 vs. Q2 2012) of inquiries from travelers looking to rent a vacation home, include:
- Balboa Peninsula, Calif. (up 222%)
- Reunion, Fla. (up 137%)
- Aspen, Colo. (up 127%)
- San Diego (up 124%)
- Folly Field, S.C. (up 116%)
- Honolulu (up 115%)
- Kissimmee, Fla. (up 114%)
- New Orleans (up 114%)
- Vail, Colo. (up 111%)
- Gulf Shores, Ala. (up 108%)
About the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report
Data for the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report was collected via surveys that polled HomeAway customers who own vacation rentals. Based on HomeAway, Inc. internal customer satisfaction research, owner results are based on 900 responses received between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3, 2012. Market trends were based on a combination of in-depth research of renter and traveler information from the HomeAway, Inc. database.
About HomeAway, Inc.
Home Away, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWAY), based in Austin, Texas, is the world's leading online marketplace of vacation rentals, with sites representing approximately 735,000 paid vacation rental home listings throughout 168 countries. HomeAway® offers an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, especially more room to relax, 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 of websites includes 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, Toprural.com in Spain; AlugueTemporada.com.br in Brazil; and HomeAway.com.au in Australia.
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 Home away, please visit www.HomeAway.com.
 Vacation rental owners were asked whether they consider summer to be their peak season, a shoulder season or an off season.
 The average HomeAway vacation rental owner rents their property 17.4 weeks out of the year at an average of $1,493 per week.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Adam Annen, HomeAway, Inc.
512-505-1548 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Larry Meltzer, MM2 Public Relations
214-379-3701 or email@example.com
SOURCE HomeAway, Inc.