Travellers seeking value turn to holiday home rentals

Holiday-Rentals forecasts continued strong growth in supply & demand as credit crunch bites


  • In popular cities worldwide, rental apartments are up to four times cheaper per square foot than hotels.
  • While demand for established holiday hotspots stays strong, 25% of Brits may abandon Europe and the US this year.
  • Holiday homes move beyond the week-long family holiday, as travellers consider rentals for all kinds of breaks.
  • Hollywood heart-throbs Brad Pitt and Hugh Jackman are top choices for a holiday companion, and we'd love to have Jamie Oliver cook at our home from home.

As travellers attempt to stretch their holiday pounds further, an increasing number are turning to holiday home rentals for everything from family holidays to reunions and festivals. Not surprising when you consider that per square foot, the cost of a rental can work out up to four times cheaper than a hotel, according to Holiday-Rentals from HomeAway, the UK's largest holiday home website.

In the first edition of its new quarterly Marketplace Report, the company compares the cost per square foot of holiday rentals with hotels in popular cities, giving a clear picture of the superior value rentals provide. The report also looks at discounts and incentives being offered, popular and emerging destinations, traveller perceptions and holiday homes as investments. Finally it reveals the celeb we'd most like to holiday with is Brad Pitt and that for a personal chef, Jamie beats Gordon hands down.

Courtney Wylie, Managing Director for Holiday-Rentals commented, "So far this year, Holiday-Rentals has received over 11 million visits, an increase of around 30% compared to last year. While the travel industry in general struggles, demand for rentals is going from strength to strength as travellers realise they can rent a whole home for less per head than a hotel and stretch their budget even further by taking advantage of self-catering facilities."

She added, "Our new report aims to provide further insight in to key trends within this massively growing sector each quarter. Moving forward in to the rest of 2009, we anticipate continued strong demand in established holiday markets, combined with a growth in supply throughout the world as increasing numbers of owners look to their property for extra income."

» Download the full report now from

Rentals vs hotels in popular cities
According to statistics collated by Holiday-Rentals, apartments in Prague provide the best value for money, working out four times less expensive per square foot than hotels, while the competition is closest in New York, where rentals still come in at 1.8 times cheaper.

» Click here to view the comparison of 10 top cities worldwide

Deals, deals & more deals
The good news for travellers is the report reveals that over half of holiday home owners have been offering deals this year: While the most common is a percentage discount, many are using a variety of other offers to entice travellers, including free nights, no minimum stay, or value-add services such as free airport transfers or a welcome hamper.

Old favourites and rising stars
During the first quarter of 2009 popular European cities and established hotspots in the Costas, the Cote d'Azur and the Canaries made up the top 10 destinations for travellers. However, over 25% of travellers also stated they were less likely to choose destinations in Europe or the US this year.

» Click here to view the top 10 destinations for Q109

In terms of rising stars, Kas in Turkey jumped in to the summer top 20 and demand for December breaks in Cape Town, South Africa was very high. Strong rises in traveller demand, combined with a relatively low but rising number of holiday home rental accommodation also highlighted emerging markets in South America, Africa, Asia and Europe.

» Click here to view the list of emerging markets in the report

A wider variety and longer, more upscale holidays
While family holidays still account for the most popular use of rentals, travellers now consider them for a variety of breaks, including getaways with friends (53%), reunions (38%), festivals (25%) and even business trips (10%).

A large proportion is also in agreement that using rentals instead of hotels allows them to enjoy a range of value-related benefits including; more frequent travel with family/friends (60%), more upscale holidays (41%), longer holidays (40%) and more frequent holidays (37%).

Holiday homes as investments
The economy played an important role among owners who began renting out their property during the last 12 months as one in ten cited economic conditions as their reason for entering the market. The main goal for the majority of owners remains to partially cover expenses, however even during these turbulent times a significant number of new entrants have not been deterred from chasing the dream of a rentals business, as one in ten stated it was their primary business.

» Click here for a list of the top 20 under-served markets (i.e. where demand > supply)

Holidays with the stars
When it comes to holiday companions, Hollywood heartthrobs Brad Pitt and Hugh Jackman were the clear winners over local girls Cheryl Cole and Kate Moss, who came in fifth and sixth place. Pop princess Kylie was number three, beating David Beckham at number four with 13%. In terms of the ideal personal chef on holiday, Jamie Oliver beat Gordon Ramsay hands down, with 39% of votes versus 18%. Sexy Nigella came in at number three, followed by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Delia and Ainsley Harriott.

» Click here for details of scores