Love them or hate them, short-term rentals have taken the accommodation world by storm.
Recent research found that 33 per cent of Aussies would prefer to stay in a rental property, such as a home or apartment, and 17 per cent have considered listing their own home on a travel accommodation site.
And more and more players are getting involved, with Airbnb showing slowed growth for the first time in years as competitors like Expedia and Booking.com taking a wider market share.
Booking.com, in particular, has taken a strong lead recently announcing a milestone of 5.7 million listings of homes, apartments and unique places to stay, offering more listings in this accommodation segment than anyone else in the industry.
But what many people might not know, is that agents can get in on the spoils.
To find out more about this growing market, and see how it can benefit agents, we caught up with Vice President of Booking.com, Oliver Gremillon.
Gremillon said the consumer demand for accommodation options beyond hotels is growing.
And that’s a good thing.
“The global travel ecosystem is growing at a fast pace and we are in fact seeing growth across all segments of the business, from traditional hotels to holiday rentals,” he told Travel Weekly.
“People stay in a variety of different accommodation options, according to the type of traveller they are and the experience they desire.
“We also know that more and more travellers are seeking out local and authentic experiences at a lower cost and with more freedom and enhanced privacy.”
Gremillon said short-term rentals fill this niche perfectly.
“As technology brings us all closer together and it gets easier and easier to travel, we believe that the short-term rentals industry is only going to continue to grow, as will the travel industry,” he said.
“This ultimately benefits consumers who can enjoy diverse travel experiences, properties of all kinds who gain more customers and local governments who see increased tourism in their regions.
“The future for the industry looks very bright.”
But such a level of growth does not come without growing pains.
“While we do expect some hurdles for the industry as it is new and the rules aren’t clearly defined yet, this is a natural part of the emergence of any new marketplace,” Gremillion told us.
“Ultimately, we believe these will work out because this industry benefits local economies, governments, consumers and homeowners.”
According to Gremillon, the emergence of this segment is changing the landscape for many industry players, including travel agents, and underlines the need to adapt to this evolution, which is fulfilling a consumer need.
“Many travel agents are already including short-term rentals in their offering and are seeing positive results,” he concluded.