For vacationers seeking the country’s hottest destinations this summer, there’s just not enough inventory to go around, according to one travel executive.
“When we think about the supply side and vacation rentals in particular in the U.S., the reality is for most peak days there are not enough,” VRBO President Jeff Hurst said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). VRBO, previously known as Vacation Rentals by Owner, is an American vacation rental online marketplace.
In destinations like the Gulf Coast, Southeast beach communities, and the Midwest’s lakes region, Hurst said “those are already booked up for Independence Day and large parts of the summer,” because “there's just not enough homes for how many travelers want to experience this type of whole-home vacation” that VRBO offers.
Despite the lack of inventory, Hurst stressed that potential travelers shouldn’t be discouraged, suggesting that they opt for the road less traveled while remaining flexible.
His biggest advice is to consider destinations like the Poconos, Gatlinburg Smoky Mountains, and Park City, Utah and an “acceleration in international” locales like Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean where there is still availability.
Taking into account the demand on VRBO’s marketplace for larger homes that can accommodate more guests, the majority of those bookings will be reunions with friends and family after pandemic-era measures have been lifted and will likely be priced accordingly, Hurst predicted. Some short-term renters might notice a pricing spike, but Hurst said it’s because rental homes have always been more expensive than hotel rooms and not related to the pandemic.
“Some [property] owners are able to charge more than they might have been able to charge two or three years ago,” he said. “But overall in the vast majority of cases, the reason a home's more expensive than a hotel room is because you're getting two or three hotel rooms for that same price point.”
Structurally, he explained, it “does cost more to clean a four-bedroom five-bath house on the beach than it does a hotel room” but he maintained the platform still offers an “incredible value.”
“A lot of the top dates and top destinations are booked up,” Hurst said. “But we've really been encouraged by how many people are willing to try different drive-to destinations.”