Snow is falling and opportunity is knocking for vacation rental homeowners in mountain towns across the country. With the private accommodation sector growing twice as fast as the total U.S. travel industry, we wanted to explore what trends popular winter vacation destination markets are experiencing this year.
Welcome to Vacasa’s 2017 Mountain Markets Vacation Rental Report. Our analysts crunched numbers using comprehensive internal, partner, and industry data from nearly 20,000 homes in 11 markets to explore changes in everything from vacation rental inventory to pet friendliness and amenity identity.
There are so many incredible alpine destinations in this country. For this report, we chose to compare markets that offered regional representation and the most relevant vacation rental data: Lake Tahoe, Park City, Breckenridge, Bend, Stowe, Whitefish, Aspen, Big Sky, Telluride, Jackson, and Sun Valley.
We hope you find the insights both informative and interesting,
—The Team at Vacasa
Demand for short-term rentals is booming and, overall, vacation homeowners in mountain towns are increasingly opening their doors to guests. Two outliers include the Sun Valley and Lake Tahoe markets, which have seen an overall decrease in vacation rental inventory due to regulations in towns like Ketchum and South Lake Tahoe. With the regulatory landscape continually in flux, savvy vacation homeowners in mountain states should seize the opportunity to establish their homes in the market today.
When marketing a vacation rental home, knowing market search trends and where travelers are coming from informs strategy and can help drive more bookings. Travelers to the Lake Tahoe area search for “cabins” more often than “vacation rentals,” which is the more commonly searched term for travelers to Park City and Breckenridge. Vacation rental homeowners should optimize their listing copy for SEO to increase the chances their homes will be discovered by guests.
The right amenities can help a vacation rental stand out from the crowd and command premium pricing. Nearly all mountain town vacation rentals have a fireplace. Vacation homeowners in mountain towns where there’s an abundance of hot tubs have an opportunity to differentiate by investing in an outdoor grill or cable TV.
Today’s guests are savvy, well connected, and always online. What they say about your vacation home in their reviews is more important than what you say in your marketing materials. Positive reviews drive bookings by helping to establish trust and credibility with future guests. Vacation homeowners can help their communities benefit from review culture by recommending their favorite local businesses on Yelp and Google.
In some markets, spring break is party season. In mountain markets, spring break is all about families. Mountain communities can expect to see more vacation rental guests with children during peak season and around school holidays, with fewer families visiting during the off-seasons. Vacation rental owners in mountain towns can win kudos from vacationing families for stocking their homes with family-friendly games or outdoor sports equipment.
Fun fact: Over 50% of American households include a dog and more than half of these families will only stay in dog-friendly lodging. Overall, vacation rental inventory in mountain markets is trending pawsitive. With over 40% pet-friendly vacation rental inventory, Big Sky is the most pet-friendly market in our report. Homeowners who welcome furry friends in markets with less pet-friendly inventory (such as Park City) have an opportunity to stand out and make a lot of tails wag.