According to Property Wire, many areas of the US are reporting a downturn with competition high and the expectancy of a last-minute market driving discounts and deals, while here in Ontario, we’ve just experienced our most active first quarter since our business began.
It’s a two-handed market that is being driven by the economy with more renters staying close to home – boosting domestic reservations in some places – and more owners putting their vacation homes up for rental.
Brian Sharples, founder of the rental giant Home Away says in a Fox Business report, "The down economy has had a significant positive impact on the vacation rental market,"
"Not surprisingly, HomeAway is experiencing strong new listings growth across our sites. This increase in supply is being met by an upswing in demand from travelers, who continue to discover the exceptional value that vacation rentals offer compared to hotels," says Sharples.
The balance in some areas is working for the owners who are seeing a boost in reservations, and in others, the increase of properties on the market is tipping the balance in favour of the renter. But, this is a volatile market and uncertainty is the overriding factor across the board. Most reports suggest there will be brisk last -minute activity but with the growth in available properties, renters can probably afford to be picky and will be looking to strike deals and look for those places that have increased amenities and updated features.
There is one constant out of all the uncertainty. Expectations are rising, and owners who are complacent in any way will suffer if their listings don’t show quality, even in the smallest of properties. Yes, I’m beating that drum again, and will continue to do so until people ‘get it’.
I’ve heard recently of owners losing bookings because they won’t provide linens without a charge, or arrange for a cleaning service, if asked. A colleague sent me some photos of a property his client wanted to list showing blank-walled bedrooms with mis-matched bedding and stained pillows. Another owner expected his guests to bring their own propane tank for the barbecue. Another has refused to get a TV because his family don’t watch TV on vacation therefore he won’t be convinced anyone else will.
These attitudes will not win bookings and from my point of view, don’t deserve them anyway. This industry must move with the times and respect the changing needs of rental clients. Those owners who don’t become complacent and look for continuous improvement instead, will be the winners in the end.