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The growth of the vacation rental industry has reached new heights in recent years. According to a 2014 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors Investment and Vacation Home Buyers, real estate sales for the purpose of becoming vacation homes have steadily increased over the past three years. Of the 5 million homes sold in the United States in 2012, 11% were bought with the intention of becoming vacation homes. In 2013, this percentage jumped to 13% and by 2014, over 20% of home sales were for the purpose of becoming vacation homes.

Vacation Rental Management Infographic

This topic is so hot that HGTV’s “Vacation Homes for Free,” kicked off its second season June 12 after a resounding success with its first season. The program features buyers-to-be, who alongside host Matt Blashaw, search to find properties that are cheap, but also require large amounts of renovation. The goal being to rent out their renovated vacation home for the majority of the year for top dollar and live in it for free for the remainder. But why choose properties that require extensive repairs? Well, with cheaper properties, only a little revenue is needed before the house pays for itself!

Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? Yet surprising, the numbers show that it is indeed true – 54% of U.S. vacation home owners surveyed in “HomeAway Vacation Rental Report: Owner Edition” were able to cover at least 75% of their mortgage payment by renting out their vacation home, and approximately two-thirds were able to cover at least 50%. Additionally, this industry report found that rental income is another important factor that buyers consider when they purchase a home to be used as a vacation rental. It’s no wonder why! As we have shown here, short term rental income can be on average higher than long term rental earnings. For instance, in downtown Los Angeles, short term rentals have 60% higher revenue than long term rentals. In Playa del Rey, the difference between these two types of rentals were a whooping 108%.

However, will vacation rentals continue to be more profitable than long term rentals? Based upon the latest industry trend reports, such as HomeAway’s, the vacation home rental industry certainly looks like it will continue to expand due to the strong increase in demand. The growth of the vacation home rental industry currently outweighs the supply growth 2:1. In other words, the number of travelers looking for a vacation rental is increasing at double the rate of the new vacation homes entering the short term rental market. For homeowners, this is great news as this means greater occupancy rate and the possibility to increase booking rates. In addition, the vacation home rental industry is poised to grow dramatically because of two main components:

  • Cost: Booking vacation homes are on average cheaper – much cheaper for travelers compared to a hotel room. According to, the average rate for one week at a 3-star hotel in downtown San Diego for 3 people in July is approximately $1,750. A comparable vacation rental on HomeAway? $1,350 – That’s $400 in savings for a family of 3. The more people traveling together, the greater the savings!
  • Awareness: Only 33% of US adults are aware that vacation rentals are a lodging option while traveling. Imagine the potential impact and growth of the industry as awareness continues to increase through media channels such as HGTV’s “Vacation Homes for Free.”

If you’re a vacation homeowner looking for a vacation rental management company, look no further than Pillow and our revenue increase guarantee.

About PillowPillow is creating a new way for people to become excited about renting their property. We are a technology enabled short-term rental platform that connects homeowners, guests, and vendors to provide a standardized rental experience. For homeowners, the ‘Pillow Promise’ means we maximize your income and care for your rental. For guests, it means we deliver an authentic and reliable hospitality experience.

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