Gulf Coast Continues to Suffer Hangover from Oil Spill

NEWBURYPORT, Massachusetts- Vacation Home Rentals, the largest independent vacation rental site in North America, today announced the results of their ground-breaking research using their proprietary online panel of vacation rental property owners. This in-depth study of vacation rental property owners indicates that the vacation rental market is poised to grow at 13.1% in 2011. This would be more than twice the rate of the overall travel market and up to four times faster than the U.S. economy. 85% of vacation rental property owners expect 2011 to be as good, or better than 2010.

The growth in the market is likely to be driven by vacation markets perceived as being safe from the effects of the oil spill. Of those property owners who expect to grow, almost 50% of them expect to grow by more than 15%. Highest growth markets include Maryland’s Eastern Shore, North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Maine, Las Vegas and Washington State. These markets all are predicting greater than 20% growth in 2011. 

Areas impacted by the oil spill (either by public perception or reality) are predicting continued devastating losses in revenue even compared to a horrible 2010. Almost all of the property owners who expect to decline this year are expecting it to be a disastrous year with over 20% declines in revenue. Texas Gulf Coast, Alabama Gulf Coast, Florida Gulf Coast and even the Florida Keys are all predicting over 20% declines in vacation rental bookings compared to 2010. New York City also shows up on the decliners list with 22% predicted drop in bookings due to the new legislation banning short-term rentals that came into effect in 2010.

Best Markets for Vacation Home Rentals in 2011:
According to the study, the major growth in vacation rentals will come from markets outside of the Gulf Coast. Owners on the eastern seaboard indicated they were seeing new renters in the area who had not previously stayed in that area. 

The top growth areas for vacation rentals in 2011 are predicted to be:

Region State Cities Growth Rate
Coastal Maine Kennebunk, Kittery, Bath, Saco 28%
Las Vegas Nevada Las Vegas 25%
Eastern Shore Maryland Ocean City, St Michaels 23%
Seattle Area Washington Seattle, Bainbridge Island 22%
Outer Banks North Carolina Avon, Corolla, Nags Head 20%

The vacation rental property owners cited many reasons for the growth in 2011 including:
“People are looking for small, reasonable vacations that they can drive, rather than fly to…” (Maine Owner)
“It seems more people are looking to vacation vs. to purchase a vacation home at this time.” (Maryland Owner)
“The economy appears to be picking up. Our only concern is the price of gas – that may be a problem.” (North Carolina Owner)

Devastation in Gulf Coast and New York City for Vacation Home Rentals in 2011:
According to the study, the Gulf Coast continues to be severely negatively impacted by the perceptions and reality of the oil spill. Many owners cited a strong lack of interest from renters and the few renters who are interested are all looking for significant discounts and deals. New York City owners are also reeling from the impact of the new vacation rental ban legislation created last year.

The worst areas for vacation rentals in 2011 are predicted to be:

Region State Cities Decline Rate
Gulf Coast/Panhandle Florida Sarasota, Anna Maria, Pensacola, Panama City 25%
Gulf Coast Alabama Gulf Shores, Orange Beach 25%
Florida Keys Florida Key West, Marathon, Key Largo 23%
New York City New York New York City 22%

The vacation rental property owners cited many reasons for the severe decline in 2011 including:
“Bookings are already down from last year and other property owners are renting for way too little and affecting everyone’s rental rates.” (Florida Owner)
“Media is so negative towards Florida. The negativity of the oil spill has affected rebookings, even though very small amounts of oil affected so few.” (Florida Owner)
“The new law that has been passed that would make it illegal to rent less than 30 days has killed my business.” (New York Owner)

About Vacation Home Rentals:
Vacation Home Rentals, based in Newburyport, Massachusetts, is the largest independently owned vacation rental listing site, representing more than 12,000 properties throughout all 50 states and 75 countries; receives more than a million visitors per month, and the company has experienced their most significant growth in recent months. Vacation Home Rentals hosts an extensive variety of vacation homes that provide vacationers with an organic alternative to the over-priced hotel option. A vacation rental gives the traveler an authentic experience- “Live like a local, save like an expert!”  Learn more at