Is it a gold rush? Is it a sharing marketplace? Is it both?


The global vacation rental market is expected to reach $194 billion by 2021, growing more than 7 percent annually. And in the US, the travel and hospitality industry has experienced a decade of growth since the 2009 economic recession. So, what's next for the industry? Specifically, how can you cash in as a short-term rental/property-owner host? 

Location, location, location

The old real-estate adage still rings true: location, location, location. But it doesn't stop there. Like many things, the vacation travel industry is seeing the impact of micro-experiences. Micro-what, you ask?  

What is a micro experience?

2018 saw the boom of travelers looking for something new. Micro experiences embrace the notion of taking the road less traveled. Visitors want an experience tailored to their specific likes or hobbies, something unique and memorable.  From exotic yurts and reclusive tree houses, to excursions catering to foodies, hikers or artists, the purveyors of vacation destinations are less about offering a cozy bed in a beautiful spot and more about considering the view from your bed and how you spend your day. Today's hosts offer customized experiences from sunup to sundown.  

To see what we mean, take a quick gander at the 2018 Hottest Airbnb Vacation Rentals. In fact, Airbnb offers almost every search "experience" criterion imaginable, from "Classes & Workshops" to "Surfing". The sheer scope of offerings testifies to the profitability of this experience strategy. According to the Zoe Report, trending offerings include not only unique accommodations, but things like "experiences over objects", "Wellness retreats" and "tech detox".  

Make the most of your destination

This destination-experience will continue to be one of the biggest growth opportunities for 2019 and beyond.

So, how do you get in on it? Location is still the kick-off point.  

If you already have real estate in a prime location -- be it urban or exotic -- adding a short-term rental space is an ideal way to make the most of your investment. Pre-built modular dwelling spaces are a great solution, provided they can be shipped, transported and placed on the property with little fuss. Home-made structures offer charm and distinction, but they can be time-consuming and difficult to pull off. Tiny homes, cottages, containers and luxury RVs all offer alternatives that can be quickly built or placed, but the trade-off may be durability, zoning or placement limitations. The G-pod Dwell space offers transportable luxury living, built for durability and mobility combined. It can be shipped just about anywhere in the world and doesn't require complicated foundation prep. 


What is your unique experience proposition?

As a property-owner host, the accommodation is only half of the algorithm. To effectively market your space, consider what visitors will want to do while staying there. What are the surrounding experiences or excursions that will make this vacation destination one to remember? Partner with nearby restaurants, museums, parks or tour guides to provide visitors with adventure alternatives to round out their stay. And don't forget all the bespoke and personalized amenities you can think of to raise their experience level from a 3 to a 10. 

Are you ready to cash in?

Making the financial and lifestyle commitment to become a property-owner host is not a decision to be made lightly. Do your homework. Count the cost. And plan carefully. The balance small business website offers great tips for those just getting into Airbnb hosting.  

The competition is heating up but there is still room in the market to specialize and customize your destination experience and get in on the vacation rental fanfare, especially in an era where everything boutique and personal is on-trend. In future articles, we'll explore some successful destination case studies and what makes them work.

Photos by Arno Smit @entreprnerds and HB Mertz on Unsplash