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How the Vacation Home Rental Market is Changing

14 September, 2016

Since Airbnb first came onto the scene back in 2008 things have been changing worldwide for vacation home rentals, and the current trend is showing no signs of slowing down. The implications of these changes can be good and bad, mostly depending on how savvy buyers go about investing in – and marketing – their investment properties in the future.

“This is a more challenging event in the history of the lodging industry than almost any other,” Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor of the Center for Hospitality and Tourism at New York University told the New York Times. “There are things that are happening at traditional lodging companies that are accelerating related to Airbnb, and that is less uniformity.”

Also, more and more people aren’t waiting until they reach retirement age to buy investment properties in popular vacation destinations since the rental market is booming... And also more competitive than ever before.  In fact, the median age of buyers decreased from 55 years old in 2004 to just 43 years of age in 2015. Also, according to HomeAway, about 23 percent of vacation home buyers today say the main reason for buying a second home is to realize a greater return on investment, rake in guaranteed rental income and/or to help overall with their portfolio’s building wealth strategies; this number is compared to just 7 percent of buyers in 2004.

“One in three leisure travelers in 2015 used private accommodations, up from one in ten in 2011,” wrote the New York Times. “Hoteliers say they have noted changes in consumer preferences, resulting in new social-oriented brands, homier settings and more functional apps.”

In today’s market, more buyers are also purchasing investment properties that are in another country in order to capitalize on guaranteed rental income and building wealth in the world’s most popular vacation destinations. Thanks to modern-day online tools and technology, it’s now possible to stay in touch and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening with your investment properties no matter where they are located, but even these advancements come with new challenges.

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For example, it can be very time consuming to answer all queries promptly – something Airbnb demands of its successful renters – and it can also be expensive to list your property on all of the main rental websites, not to mention keeping the information up to date on all the different platforms. Every time you decide to offer new services or amenities, for example, everything has to be updated. In short, this can quickly become a full-time job, especially if you own a turnkey rental property in one of the world’s most popular destinations. 

In addition, it’s important to have “troops on the ground” wherever your rental property is located, so there is a reliable system in place for handling maintenance requests 24/7, as well as providing a personalized check-in and check-out service. 

“Hotel managers are empowering employees to connect with guests on a more casual basis, offering local tips not unlike an Airbnb host,” wrote the New York Times.

The National Association of Realtors also reports that 2015 had impressive vacation home sales, with a 57% increase, with most homeowners living hundreds of miles away full time. There’s no doubt about it: The turnkey rental market is continuing to grow and shift under the pressure of new forces and savvy vacation home owners will continue to address the ever-changing needs of their clientele and the industry as a whole.

As the market for turnkey rental property continues to change and adapt to customer demands for services and amenities at near breakneck speed, it’s more challenging than ever to stay ahead of the curve and maximize rental income.

Are you thinking of investing in a turnkey rental property? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to learn more about successfully managing vacation home rentals? Download our guide: 10 Tips to Improve Your Vacation Rental Returns now!

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