"I would have to spend at least $300 a night in a hotel, and that’s just the room," she says. "By renting a house, it becomes $250 per person and we get our own rooms, a jacuzzi, and privacy."
With consumers uncertain about the economy, many are forgoing vacations, and leaving deals out there for those who are still traveling.
Renting a house or apartment can allow travelers to maximize their budget. Not only are some property owners cutting prices to attract guests, but more people who own second homes are renting them out in order to cope with the economic downturn. As a result, interest in rental properties is growing.
Online vacation rental sites such as HomeAway.comand VillasOfDistinction.comhave seen a big increase in their traffic.
"Business is growing quite aggressively," says Brian Sharples, CEO of HomeAway.com. "People are still traveling and they are looking for more value."
"People are shopping around more," says Maya Offenbach, Manager of Villas of Distinction. "In the past, they weren't worrying about deals as much."
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Sharples says that part of the reason for the increase is the fact that people are having a tough time selling their homes and they have started to see the value on vacation rentals.
"The supply for vacation rental homes has increased dramatically," says Stephen Ferrari, who has owned a five-bedroom vacation home in Duck, N.C., for the past 16 years. "You’ll find a place even if you wait until the last minute."
Still, Ferrari insists that even though there is more supply, the industry is not flourishing. "We have seen trouble," he says. "I used to rent my home 25 or 26 weeks in past years. Now I’ve renting only 15 or 16 weeks."
That may be good news for vactioners. As homeowners have started to be wary that the economic downturn might eventually hurt the business, real estate managers have started to act.
"Our rental manager dropped prices by 10 percent this year," says Shari Hindman, who rents a home in Lake Martin, Alabama. "The recession is on people’s minds."
"It’s a great time for the consumer," says Robert Haupt, a lawyer who represents vacation rental owners in the Midwest and in Florida. "Because of the recession we will start seeing prices drop this summer, and you’ll see lots of deals out there."