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50 Vacation Rental Industry Statistics that You Won't Believe

In this article we curated a list of the 50 most eye opening statistics that tell the state of the vacation rental industry and grouped them for easy navigation.

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Jordan Hollander in Vacation Rentals

Last updated May 09, 2024

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We probably don’t need to tell you that vacation rentals play a major part in the travel ecosystem these days. Airbnb and its peers showed homeowners that their real estate could be monetized by selling rooms to short term renters like hotels and it created a whole new market for travel as vacation homes soon became available to the masses on a short term basis.

 

Vacation rentals are popular worldwide, from urban to rural markets, and range from tiny homes to apartments to palatial compounds

 

What started as a niche product for family reunions or vacations with groups of friends has turned mainstream, with booking sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com offering millions of vacation rental properties around the world. But just how big in the vacation rental industry? Where’s the industry heading in the future? And how did it fare during the pandemic? Get ready for 50 mind-blowing statistics about the vacation rental sector that will show you just how massive this segment of the travel industry really is.

Overview of the vacation rental industry

Hospitality is one of the oldest industries in the world, but vacation rentals represent a newer sector of the travel space. Let’s take a look into the vacation rental industry, from how much revenue it generates to how many guests it includes.

  1. Just how big is the vacation rental industry? The US vacation rental industry’s total revenue is estimated to reach $19.7 billion in 2024, up from $19.4 billion in 2023.

  2. Vacation rentals are on the rise. With a steady year-over-year vacation rental market growth rate, the US vacation rental industry should surpass the $20 billion mark in 2025. 

  3. By comparison, the US hotel industry was projected to hit $197 billion in revenue in 2023 based on expert forecasts, so vacation rentals still make up just a small piece of the accommodations industry pie.

  4. Globally, the vacation rental industry is on track to generate just over $100 billion in 2024, and it’s expected to continue growing by 3% through 2028.

  5. Europeans love vacation rentals; vacation rental bookings in Europe make up over one-third of the global vacation rental revenue.

  6. There are a lot of vacation rental fans out there; approximately 62 million people will stay in vacation rentals in the US in 2024.

 

Gulf Shores, Alabama is one of the most popular vacation rental markets in the US. Source

 

  1. Nightly rates for vacation rentals were projected to increase in 2023 compared to 2022, signaling that this sector of the accommodation industry is healthy and competitive.

  2. According to industry data firm AirDNA, the supply of vacation rentals has grown by more than 15% each quarter since Q1 2022. In comparison, the supply of hotel rooms has grown by less than 5%.

  3. In the US, hotels are still the primary accommodation option, with 85% market share. Vacation rentals’ share of the market, at 15%, is nearly double what it was in 2018, when only 8% of market share went to non-hotel inventory. 

  4. In 2023 travelers spent 207 million nights in vacation rentals in the US. 

 

Nightly rates for vacation rentals vary significantly, from inexpensive studio apartments to luxurious multi-bedroom homes.

  1. The average nightly rate for a vacation rental in the US was $308 in 2023. If this sounds expensive, note that the average nightly rate varies greatly based on the size of the property. The ADR for shared or private rooms was $97, while the ADR for 3-bedroom homes and larger was $337.

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All about vacation rental guests

  1. How many people have stayed in a vacation rental? In 2023, user penetration was 18.3%, so around one in six people have been vacation rental guests.

  2. Why do travelers choose a vacation rental? According to a 2016 study, the top reason why people book a vacation rental is to have access to a kitchen, with 64% of respondents picking that amenity. 49% of respondents also said they would choose a vacation rental for more privacy.

  3. Travelers likely also opt for a vacation rental because they want more space. The average hotel room is around 325 square feet, while the average vacation rental spans more than 1,300. Who doesn’t want to spread out and relax while on vacation?

  4.  

    Lake Anna, Virginia is one of the hottest markets for investors looking to buy vacation homes.

     

    1. Millennials love vacation rentals! In 2023 guests in the 25-34 year age range made up 30% of vacation rental guests, and guests between the ages of 35-44 accounted for 27% of guests. Only 11.5% of vacation rental guests were between the ages of 55-64.

    2. Men are slightly more likely to opt for a vacation rental than women are; in 2023 men accounted for 55% of vacation rental guests, and women accounted for 45%.

    3. Vacation homes are the most popular type of accommodation booked by travelers searching for vacation rentals, making up about 47% of the total vacation rental revenue in 2022. The rest of the share is made up by apartments, condos, and more unique property types.

    4. But vacation homes might not be the most popular for long; millennials are booking more and more condo units, and this property type is seeing strong year-over-year growth. The condo segment’s revenue is expected to grow at 5.4% per year through 2030. 

     

    Condo units are becoming more popular among vacation rental guests, like this one in Miami Beach.

     

    1. Vacation rental guests are becoming more last-minute and booking their reservations within 14 days of arrival. Property management company Evolve saw a 27% increase in last minute bookings in summer 2023 compared to the prior two summer seasons. 

Vacation rental booking patterns

How do people typically book vacation rentals? Like hotels, guests can book vacation rentals in many different ways. The popular vacation rental booking channels are somewhat different than the booking channels for hotels, though. Let’s learn more about the distribution landscape in the vacation rental sector.

  1. While there are still many travelers who book their vacation rentals over the phone or through a travel agent, the overwhelming majority of vacation rental reservations are booked online. In 2024 it’s estimated that 79% of vacation rental revenue will be generated online.

  2. Vrbo is one of the oldest OTAs for booking accommodations online. Founded in 1995, Vrbo (then known as Vacation Rentals By Owner) predates Expedia (1996), Booking.com (1996), and Priceline (1997), though it’s a bit younger than Hotels.com, which was launched in 1991 as Hotel Reservations Network. With the explosion of OTAs came many challenges that are now solved by channel management software which automates rates, availability and inventory distribution (as well as content).

 

The Vrbo homepage, circa 2000

 

  1. Vrbo also is not just one website. Within the Vrbo family of brands (which is owned by the Expedia Group), you’ll find HomeAway, plus several international brands like Abritel.fr, FeWo-direkt.de, Bookabach.co.nz, and Stayz.com.au.

  2. Just how big is Airbnb? As of September 2020, the site had 5.6 million active listings in over 100,000 cities across the globe including the US, Europe and all markets combined. These listings include around 24,000 tiny homes, 3,500 castles, 2,600 treehouses, and 140 igloos - so there’s no “typical” Airbnb property. Airbnb also works with over 4 million hosts!

  3. Airbnb went public in 2020, with a valuation of more than $100 billion, making it the biggest IPO of the year. What made the company’s IPO even more impressive is that the company’s revenue was down 30% in 2020, due to the pandemic. Airbnb generated $3.4 billion in revenue in 2020, down from $4.7 billion in 2019.

  4. If you think about Airbnb like one big hotel, you’d need a lot of front desk agents. On average, around 200 guests check into an Airbnb every minute!

  5. For the average vacation rental host, nearly half of bookings (46%) came from Airbnb in 2023, according to vacation rental software company Hostfully. Direct was the second-highest booking source (19%), followed by Vrbo (17%).

 

Over 5 million hosts globally use Airbnb to market their vacation rental properties

 

  1. Booking.com is another big vacation rental platform. Although most of the available inventory on Booking.com is made up of rooms at hotels and resorts, the site reported that 32% of room nights booked were at “alternative accommodations” like vacation homes and condos in 2022. 

  2. Looking to shop around? Booking.com boasts a selection of over 6.6 million vacation rental listings.

Leading vacation rental companies

Who are the big players in the vacation rental space? The hotel industry has titans like Hilton and Marriott, but the leaders in the vacation rental segment might be less well known to the average traveler.

  1. Hotel companies are trying to get into the vacation rental game. In 2019, Marriott debuted Homes & Villas by Marriott International, which went live with 2,000 properties. Today, the program includes over 25,000 homes worldwide.

  2. One of the largest vacation rental property managers is a European firm called Awaze, which operates over 110,000 vacation rentals in 36 countries. That’s a lot of beds!

  3. The largest vacation rental property manager in North America is Vacasa. Vacasa hosts over 3 million guests every year across its portfolio of over 44,000 vacation homes.

 

Vacasa manages thousands of vacation rentals across North America, including these ski-in/ski-out condos in Vail, Colorado

 

  1. Evolve, another large US-based property management company, works with over 30,000 owners and has hosted over 10 million guests.

  2. Both Vacasa and Sonder, another large property management company, went public in 2021. But the story isn’t all roses; both companies’ stock prices have decreased over 90% since their respective IPOs.

  3. It’s estimated that there are over 25,000 vacation rental property management companies in the US; globally, there are over 140,000! 

 

Most vacation rental property managers run small operations of less than 100 properties

 

  1. However, most of these property management companies are small and only manage a handful of properties. Just 10% are large property managers that manage over 100 properties.

  2. 45% of vacation rental owners say they purchased their property to generate income, rather than flipping the property or holding it to gain appreciation.

  3. According to Hostfully, the top goal for vacation rental hosts in 2024 is increasing occupancy, followed by adding more properties to their portfolios. 

Vacation rental trends

What’s new in the world of vacation rentals? Taking a look at vacation rental trends can help us understand the current state of the industry and speculate where it will go in the future.

  1. Vacation rentals fared better than hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of March 2020, global occupancy in hotels had dropped to 17.5% from 77% (a 77% decrease) during the same period in 2019. Studio and one-bedroom vacation rentals saw occupancy of 36.4% compared to 66.3% in 2019 (a 45% decrease), and vacation rentals with two or more bedrooms ran occupancy of 32.6%, which was down 60.6% in 2019 (a 46% decrease).

  2. A growing number of vacation rental guests have four legs; according to Vrbo’s 2022 trend report, the site saw a 40% increase in demand for vacation homes that allow pets compared to the prior year.

 

Many guests search for a vacation rental that allows pets to come along on the trip

 

  1. There are approximately 9 million second homes in the US, and about one-third of them are rented out to guests.

  2. Although 2020 was a tough year for travel overall, vacation rental ADR actually increased over the course of the year. Vacation rental ADR hit an all-time peak of $202.50 in June 2020.

  3. There’s nothing like a trip to the woods! According to Vrbo, demand for cabin rentals is up 25% year-over-year, and demand for chalets is up 20%. And 61% of families responding to Vrbo’s survey said they were more likely to pick an “outdoorsy destination” than a city for their next trip.

  4. Properties in rural destinations are enjoying some serious surges in popularity. Some of Airbnb’s fastest-growing markets include Hudson Valley, NY (revenue is up 85% year-over-year); Big Bear, CA (up 73%); and Lake Tahoe, CA (up 67%). In contrast, demand for short-term rentals in New York City is down 55%.

 

Rural locations like Big Bear, California saw a surge in popularity during the pandemic. Source

 

  1. Vacation rental guests are staying a lot longer on their post-pandemic trips. Prior to March 2020, most vacation rental bookings were for one week or less (80%). After the pandemic, stays under 7 days were the minority - only 30% of all reservations - according to AirDNA.

  2. The pandemic propelled contactless technology forward in the vacation rental industry. As of 2024, Hostfully’s annual survey found that the majority of vacation rental hosts use contactless check-in methods. 66% of hosts use PIN codes, and 9% use lockboxes, compared to 24% of hosts who opt to greet guests in person.

  3. Artificial intelligence is coming to vacation rentals: the same Hostfully survey reported that 75% of hosts were interested in using a combination of AI and human input to communicate with guests, while just 16% of hosts were not interested in leveraging AI.

  4. According to The Distinguished Guest, 68% of vacation rental operators use white bath towels, and over 75% use white bed sheets. In addition, 75% of hosts use feather-free pillows, which is good news for travelers with allergies!

  5. AirDNA’s data shows that much of the demand growth in the vacation rental industry is for larger properties, like vacation homes. Demand for studios and shared rooms has not surpassed 2019 levels.

 

Savvy vacation rental operators took full advantage of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, even putting up Swift-themed decor to delight fans

 

  1. Vacation rentals capitalize on special events and major demand drivers in their local markets. For example, rates for vacation rentals in Paris during the 2024 Summer Olympics have skyrocketed from an average of $435 to $932 per night.

  2. Another pop culture moment that benefited the vacation rental industry was Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. AirDNA reported that the total vacation rental revenue impact from her tour dates was over $27 million, including bookings in cities like Los Angeles, Nashville, and Phoenix.

 

 

What’s next for the vacation rental industry? At this rate, it seems like anything’s possible. Want to learn more about vacation rentals and property management? Check out our vacation rental resource center.

 

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Jordan Hollander
CEO @ HotelTechReport Linkedin profile
Jordan is the co-founder of HotelTechReport, the hotel industry's app store where millions of professionals discover tech tools to transform their businesses. He was previously on the Global Partnerships team at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Prior to his work with SPG, Jordan was Director of Business Development at MWT Hospitality and an equity analyst at Wells Capital Management. Jordan received his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management where he was a Zell Global Entrepreneurship Scholar and a Pritzker Group Venture Fellow.