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2013 Starts with a Bang for Vacation Rental Industry

By January 3, 2013 42 Comments

fireworksAdios 2012. Hello 2013!

Happy New Year. Hope y’all enjoyed your holidays.

But no time to rest. It seems 2013 will be a big year for the vacation rental industry.

I closed 2012 with a post proclaiming that Property Automation [Would] Help Shape the Vacation Rental Industry in 2013. Here we are on January 3, 2013, and I’m more convinced than ever.

Shortly after hitting enter on that post, I came across an article that predicted 2013: The Year of the Vacation Rental. Having watched the growth in the vacation rental industry over the past five years, I agreed with the sentiments. It’s time for the vacation rentals to go “mainstream.”

But I’ve thought that for the last five years. The vacation rental industry has seen great growth, but it’s still a “mom and pop” industry at the core, and the mass population still leans heavily towards the hotel industry. Will 2013 really be the year that we witness a tipping point for the vacation rental industry?

It just may be.

As I fired up my computer on January 2, 2013 (yesterday :)), I was welcomed by some big news in the vacation rental industry.

  1. Booking.com is HomeAway’s New Vacation Rental Competitor
  2. Wyndham Vacation Rentals Continues Global Expansion; Acquires Three Vacation Rental Management Businesses

On the surface, perhaps these are just small advances on the growth trajectory of the vacation rental industry. But as we look at the bigger picture, I think we are seeing a significant trend begin to solidify – hotel-focused businesses, with deep pockets, are beginning to develop a strong presence in the vacation rental industry.

There are some big implications as these trends continue to develop. And it’s only January 3rd!

Let’s dive in a little deeper on these articles to see what the implications may be…

1.  Booking.com is HomeAway’s New Vacation Rental Competitor:

  • Booking.com is owned by Priceline.com.
  • Priceline.com is in the process of buying Kayak.com for $1.8B. Yes, that’s billion! Deep pockets.
  • Booking.com is quietly adding vacation rentals to their search results as they work out the kinks.
  • Is this really HomeAway’s new competitor? Or a very good “exit” strategy for HomeAway?
  • HomeAway CEO, Brian Sharples, also happens to be a member of the Kayak.com board of directors. Hmmmm.

2.  Wyndham Vacation Rentals Continues Global Expansion; Acquires Three Vacation Rental Management Businesses:

  • It was announced yesterday that Wyndham Vacation Rentals acquired three vacation rental managers (VRM’s).
    • Kaiser Realty in Gulf Shores, Alabama
    • Oceana Resorts in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
    • Cumbrian Cottages in the United Kingdom
  • Wyndham Vacation Rentals is the world’s largest professionally managed vacation rentals business, and is part of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals and the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands – a publicly traded company. Right, deep pockets.
  • Wyndham has over 100,000 vacation rental properties in over 500 destinations worldwide.
  • Wyndham now consists of more than 25 rental brands.

Wow. That’s a lot to take in…and only the 2nd day of the year!

The first trend that seems clear is that the hotel industry has taken notice of the vacation rental industry. But they are not only taking notice. They are getting in the game. Big names and big money are moving towards the growing vacation rental industry.

This is fantastic! Attention from big names and big money will surely help push the vacation rental industry over that tipping point of mainstream acceptance.

However, it’s a double-edged sword. The “mom & pop” industry is going to be forced to grow up quickly as big business enters the game. What exactly this means is yet to be seen. We need to continue wait to see how some of these big moves play out.

But the vacation rental industry – the “mom’s & pop’s” – doesn’t need to sit on its heels and wait for big guys to act. In fact, VRM’s need to get out in front and leverage the expertise they bring to the industry.

It’s great to have deep pockets, but deep pockets don’t create an instant level of knowledge and expertise. VRM’s that have been at this game for 10, 20, or 30+ years know the challenges managing a large number of scattered homes brings. The big dogs still have to figure those challenges out.

Booking.com is already seeing this as they try to integrate vacation rental listings but have to manage different requirements from their hotel inventory. This is no easy task.

And Wyndham is experiencing these challenges first-hand as they try to manage 25+ brands with 25+ unique business practices and 25+ unique sets of inventory. No easy task indeed.

At this point smaller VRM’s still have a leg up, but the big competition is gaining momentum. VRM’s need to recognize the challenges and find ways to overcome and streamline their businesses.

To some degree, the vacation rental industry needs to emulate the hotel industry. VRM’s need to be sleek, efficient, and streamlined.

And this is why I am more confident than ever that property automation will have a HUGE impact on the future of the vacation rental industry starting right now.

PointCentral property automation offers VRM’s hotel-like control.

With PointCentral home automation, vacation rental managers have the ability to manage a scattered inventory of homes like a hotel! Property control like they’ve never experienced. And to be efficient, VRM’s will need to leverage this type of control.

2013 sure is starting off with a bang! Looking forward to “the year of the vacation rental!” 🙂

PointConnect property automation services enable vacation rental managers to improve…

  • Operating Efficiency
  • Guest Experience
  • Energy Management
  • Security

You can reach us at info@www.pointcentral.com to learn how PointConnect can deliver all of these “smart home” capabilities.

42 Comments

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