When people think of vacation rentals, usually the serenity of the beach or mountains comes to mind, not the hustle and bustle of a city. There is a growing debate in the vacation rental/short-term rental industry if urban properties really are vacation rentals. Short term is considered anything less than 30 nights, which comprises most U.S. vacationer’s length of stay.
My vacation rental property company is in the Midwest, in a city that not many people would consider top-of-mind for vacations. While 75-80 percent of our guests are here for business, the remaining 25-20 percent are here visiting friends, family, and touring the city of Indianapolis. As a matter of fact, we recently had a guest from Saudi Arabia who came to Indianapolis for vacation. She’s a returning guest (she was here last year for work) and stayed with us for three weeks this time, strictly for vacation.
The urban market is a HUGE segment of the vacation-rental industry. Should we only be catering to vacation guests? Absolutely not. Don’t business travelers deserve the same wonderful benefits as our other guests? Now that more businesses are accepting vacation rentals as a choice for their employees (Airbnb has over 900,000 businesses signed up for Airbnb for work purposes), this is another avenue to grow our market share in the actual vacation space. When travelers stay with us for work, they see how great it is to have an entire house, with all the amenities of home — more space, privacy, and a fully functioning kitchen that they don’t have to clean!
An associate who has a 9-year-old daughter and travels often, just stayed in a hotel for the first time. She had to explain to her daughter why they didn’t have an entire house on that particular trip. This young child has grown up only on vacation rentals for work and vacation trips for the family. We have a whole generation coming up who are growing accustom to staying in vacation rentals, no matter the reason for the trip.
Airbnb has made vacation rentals mainstream for just about every location on earth, except where stringent regulations and laws prohibit it. In the end, the market always drives demand. The market is loud and clear on wants and needs, which is a strong demand to stay in well-stocked, well-designed and professionally managed vacation rentals whether that is in Honolulu, Hawaii for pleasure or good ole Indianapolis, Indiana for work. The urban market for vacation rentals is alive and well, so embrace it and capitalize from it.