Vacation Rentals Growing as Option for Business Travelers

While there's been talk at Travel Agent about the rising popularity of vacation rentals among families and groups traveling together, HomeAway, Inc. finds in its latest "HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report" that the appeal of vacation rentals to business travelers also continues to grow in popularity.

According to HomeAway's sixth quarterly report, 10 percent of travelers say they have stayed in a vacation rental for a business trip and 42 percent say they would consider a vacation rental while traveling for business.  Respondents say they prefer a vacation rental over a hotel for a business trip for the following reasons:

*    Access to amenities, such as a kitchen and laundry room (69 percent)
*    More cost-effective (58 percent)
*    Provides a more home-like experience (49 percent)
*    More space (44 percent)
*    Has more bedrooms for coworkers or family (35 percent)
*    Ideal for extended stays (32 percent)
*    Provides more privacy (25 percent)
*    Ideal for entertaining clients (10 percent)

"Those traveling on business can avoid pricey hotel restaurants and mini-bars by dining in their own home away from home, and they have more space to work or relax – something that's not easily done in a cramped hotel room," says Brian Sharples, CEO of HomeAway.

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, when given the choice of renting an entire vacation home, apartment or condo, or staying in a private or shared room, 98 percent of travelers say they prefer to rent an entire home.  Less than 2 percent prefer renting a private room in a home and less than 1 percent prefer a shared-room experience.

Private rooms typically consist of a private bedroom in a home in which the owner or landlord is on site, and a shared room typically is a sofa bed or a similar sleeping arrangement in a shared common living area of a home.

In terms of the fastest-growing destinations among travelers, vacation rental owners in New Orleans continue to see increases in inquiries from people looking to visit the Big Easy, despite the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  In fact, New Orleans has ranked in the top three markets with the largest year-over-year percent increase in traveler interest for the past four quarters. In the most recent report for the second quarter of 2010, the following destinations had the largest year-over-year percent increase in traveler interest for vacation rentals:

1. New Orleans (up 160 percent)
2. West Hollywood, CA. (up 151 percent)
3. Santa Monica, CA (up 139 percent)
4. Chicago (up 131 percent)
5. Hot Springs, AR. (up 129 percent)
6. Lancaster, PA. (up 122 percent)
7. Snowshoe Mountain, WV (up 112 percent)
8. Phoenicia, NY (up 109 percent)
9. New York City (up 104 percent)
10. Beverly Hills, CA. (up 95 percent)

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