Highlights. The United States vacation rental industry is the most lucrative worldwide; valued at $15.1 billion by the end of 2021 or 20.0% of the global market.
- Vacation rental companies account for 31.3% of all privately owned accommodation* establishments nationwide.
- 70% of vacation rental companies are small businesses.
- The domestic user penetration rate (percentage of a target market that consumes a product or service) is 15.3%.
- Projections indicate the potential for the domestic market to generate $17.66 billion or 21.8% of global market revenue in 2022.
- The average vacation rental management company spends $4,094 monthly on digital management tools.
*Falling under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sector 72 Code 7211 Traveler Accommodation.
Vacation Rental Industry Management Statistics
The vacation rental industry represents a growth market in traveler accommodation. Market valuations for 2021 generally average $15 billion.
- There are an estimated 1,985,280 professionally managed vacation rental properties nationwide.
- An estimated 25,000 vacation rental management companies operate in the U.S.
- The number of vacation rental companies in the U.S. increases at an average annual rate of 8.70%.
- U.S. vacation rental companies represent an estimated 66.5% of vacation rental companies in North America.
- Globally, there are 140,674 vacation rental companies.
- 20% of global vacation rental properties are in the United States; 35% are in Europe.
- 450 million people worldwide use vacation rentals.
- 70% of vacation rental companies are small, managing 1-19 units.
- 20% of all vacation rental companies are medium-sized and manage about 20-99 units.
- 10% of companies are large companies that manage over 100 units.
Vacation Rental Industry Employment Statistics
Employment rates and wages are relatively high and growing.
- The industry directly employs 731,720, and as many as 1.8 million workers find employment in the accommodation subsector.
- Unemployment in the industry declined by as much as 72% from 2020 to 2021.
- The average accommodation worker earns $22.21 per hour (as of May 2022) and works 30.7 hours per week.
- The average wage for a lodging manager is $31.82.
- In the first three quarters of 2021, unemployment dropped 52.4%.
- The unemployment rate in the traveler accommodation industry is 5.5% as of June 2022.
- Union members’ weekly earnings are 7.61% higher than nonunion members.
Vacation Rental Industry Trends
Statistics show longer stays in larger units/properties were growing in popularity even before the pandemic hit in March 2020; in subsequent months and years, more private accommodations and less time spent en route became a matter of practicality.
- The vacation rental industry’s market value increased 22.76% from 2020 to 2021.
- The rate at which travelers booked vacation rentals increased 240% from 2011 to 2019.
- 86% of consumers plan to book a vacation rental some time in 2022.
- Market research indicates a compound annual growth rate of 8.49% from 2022 to 2026.
- 600,000 American households have used online platforms, such as AirBnB, to rent out homes, condos, apartments, and/or rooms to short-term guests.
- Airbnb stays represent over 5% of vacation rental stays.
- 23% of Americans report engaging with short-term rental platforms.
Vacation Rental Industry Financial Trends
Vacation rental revenue growth outpaces pre-pandemic rates while a growing percentage of expenses go toward management software, platform memberships, and online advertisement.
- Industry revenue in 2021 exceeded 2020 revenue 26.2%.
- The user penetration rate was 15.3% in 2021.
- The average use per user is projected to total $300.
- Projections that the U.S. vacation rental industry would generate $15.338 billion in revenue in 2021 were nearly accurate; the market fell short by just 1.55%.
Post-COVID Vacation Rental Trends
Statistics indicate that travelers have greater interest in domestic and rural stays in the wake of COVID and are more likely to communicate entirely online.
- 61% of families are more likely to visit a rural or “outdoorsy” destination than an urban one.
- 59% of families are more likely to drive instead of fly on their next trip.
- Private room accommodation has decreased in popularity by 99%.
- Cabins have increased in popularity by 80%.
- Villas and bungalows increased in popularity 61% and 60%, respectively.
Vacation Rental Investor & Buyer Statistics
Vacation rental buyers and investors may purchase a property for personal use, rental revenue, or a combination of the two.
- 42% of investors and 39% of vacation home buyers pay all cash for their property purchase.
- 63% of investors and 52% of vacation buyers buy detached single-family homes.
- 33% of vacation home buyers purchase in a resort area, 24% purchase in a rural area, and 18% in a small town.
- Another 33% of vacation home buyers purchase in a beach area, 21% purchase on a lakefront, and 15% purchase in the country.
- 34% of investors purchase in a suburb or subdivision, 24% in a small town, and 19% in an urban area or central city.
- 49% of vacation home buyers plan to use their property as a family retreat.
- 45% of investment property buyers purchased to generate income through renting the property (as opposed to flipping it or seeking price appreciation)
- 6% of vacation home buyers bought their property to generate income through renting.
- 30% of vacation property owners and 32% of investment property have shown interest in renting their homes as short-term rentals.
Vacation Rental Host & Owner Statistics
Vacation property owners, managers, and hosts lease property to short- and long-term guests.
- 43% of hosts who lease their primary residence manage all aspects of the rental.
- 38% of hosts who lease a secondary residence manage all aspects of the rental.
- 2.25 million or 25% of second homes are used both as a rental property and professionally managed.
- 31.6% of homeowners who use online platforms to advertise spend four or more hours creating their listing.
- 77.9% of homeowners welcome guests to their property via email only.
- 63% of homeowners reply to travelers within 60 minutes of receiving their inquiry.
Vacation Rental Guest Statistics
As travelers return to their vacation rentals, many of their needs and expectations have changed.
- The average rental price at popular destinations is $186 per night for a single and $978 per night for a family-sized rental.
- 53% of all travel is booked online.
- 67% of travelers think it’s cheaper and easier to book on a brand website rather than a third-party website.
- 71% of travelers with children say access to cooking their own meals is a major reason they choose a vacation rental.
- 83% of travelers prefer to spend their vacations near water.
- 74% of travelers prefer to be on the coast.
- 51% prefer mountainous vacations.
- Travelers over 40 are five (5) times more likely than travelers under 40 to plan a trip longer than two (2) weeks.
Vacation Rental Guest Generational Differences
Millennials (and increasingly, Generation Z) are most likely to choose short-term rentals instead of hotels for their stays.
- Millennials make up 40% of leisure travelers who book online.
- Generation Z or Gen Z is most likely to travel with friends (35%) instead of traveling alone or with immediate family.
- Prior to 2020, Gen Z spent their average vacation time in cities (more than 60% of the time), far surpassing rural and suburban destinations.
- 81% of Gen Z travelers have already stayed in a vacation home, cabin or condo at some point in their lives.
Vacation Rental Guest Travel Plans
Though experts expect online booking to increase to 79% of all vacation reservations, many travelers still use traditional resources to plan trips.
- Around Independence Day, Nantucket is more expensive than all other popular summer tourist destinations, at $978 per night.
- Travelers can save up to 70% by booking stays in the off-season.
- 95% of visitors have their travel plans influenced by brochure information.
- 83% plan to visit a business or attraction highlighted in a brochure, map, or guide.
- 78% of travelers consider altering their travel plans as a result of a brochure.
- 53% of travelers use brochures to plan their trip before they arrive.
- 59% of people review websites, online forums, etc. before going on a trip.
- 31% turn to family and friends for recommendations when planning a vacation.
- 25% of people use a travel agency website.
Vacation Rental Industry COVID Effect
Lockdowns had far-reaching consequences though the industry showed signs of a rebound as early as May of 2020.
- National travel and tourism lost $1.1 trillion in economic output in 2020.
- In April 2020, the industry had a 48.9% unemployment rate.
- Short stays (between 1 and 7 days) accounted for 79% of bookings prior to March 2020.
- This dropped to 30% in March 2020, but grew to 59% by December 2020.
- 10% of U.S. travel bookings were for short-term rentals prior to March 2020.
- Throughout 2020, their share rose to over 25%.
- As lockdowns went into effect in March 2020, booking cancellations rose by 534%.
- By late-May, online searches for vacation information were 100% higher than they were the previous year.
COVID Effect on Vacation Rental Industry Employment
Vacation industry unemployment was high at the end of 2021’s second financial quarter, though employees experienced more salary growth than many other industries throughout 2021.
- Domestic travel declined 36% in 2020.
- 65% of jobs lost in 2020 were directly or indirectly supported by the travel industry.
- During the same period, average weekly working hours increased 5.5%.
- In 2020, workers represented by unions earned an average weekly wage that was 21.2% higher than the average full-time worker’s.
- From April 2020 to April 2021, unemployment declined 71.8% year-over-year.
- Lodging managers earned an average $26.75 per hour in 2020.
COVID Effect on Vacation Rental Industry Finances
Historic losses in 2020 affected the entire industry.
- Domestic travel spending declined 36% from 2019 to 2020.
- International travel spending declined 79%.
- The economic output from travel declined 42% or $1.1 trillion.
- 35% of jobs lost in 2020 were direct travel jobs.
- 65% of jobs lost in 2020 were travel-supported (directly or indirectly).
- Before 2020, 11% of the workforce worked in travel-supported jobs.
- 6% of the workforce was directly employed by the travel industry.
- In 2020, travel-related tax revenue declined 34%.
- Local jurisdictions received an 11% greater share of the total tax dollars generated by the travel industry.
Property Taxes & Types
As short-term and vacation rental becomes a more popular way to supplement income, tax legislation continues to define terms and restrictions.
- A minimal-rent residence refers to a personal residence that is rented out for a period of less than 14 days per year, any revenue generated is not subject to income tax. Expenses, however, are not eligible for a business write off.
- Rental property refers to any property that is designated a business for tax purposes and rented out for more than 14 days per year. Further, the property owner may not use the property for personal purposes for 14 days or more per year. Any revenue is subject to income tax, but the property owner may write off all relevant business expenses.
- Medium- and heavy-rent residences refer to personal residences that are designated based on a ratio of personal-to-rental use. A medium-rent residence is a personal residence where personal days are either in excess of 14 days or are greater than 10% of the total number of rental days. Heavy-rent refers to a personal residence where personal days are both in excess of 14 days and less than or equal to 10% of the total number of rental days.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Industries at a Glance: Accommodation: NAICS 721
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Topic No. 415 Renting Residential and Vacation Property
- IRS, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes): For Use in Preparing 2020 Returns
- U.S. Census Bureau, North American Industry Classification System (NAIS): Sector 72–Accommodation and Food Services
- 2022 NAICS: 721
- Vacation Rental Market Association, Industry Research Data
- New Vacation Rental Stats from the National Association of Realtors
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- PR Newswire, Evolve’s 2022 Travel Trends Forecast: Travel Returns — But Expectations Have Changed