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Airbnb, still the trendiest name in the business, has spearheaded the recent craze for short term rentals and home-shares. The San Francisco-based brand had the fastest-growing travel website in 2015, clocking up a massive 94.9 million monthly visits. In early 2015, 24 percent of people said they were familiar with services such as Airbnb, FlipKey and HomeAway; by the final quarter of 2015, this number swelled to 35 percent.

Short term vacation rentals provide a whole host of benefits that you won’t always find when you book a hotel room. These lodging options offer a simple alternative to big-name hotel chains and today, more travelers are choosing to book a rental than stay in a hotel than ever before. Here are some of the reasons why.

Guests stay longer with vacation rentals

Research from TripAdvisor shows that 43 percent of travelers plan to stay for a week or longer in a vacation rental in 2016, while 24 percent of travelers intend to stay between one and two weeks. This is significantly longer than the average hotel stay: 40 percent of business travelers only spend one night at a hotel, 23 percent spend two nights and 37 percent spend three or more nights. Additionally, the number of leisure travelers spending three or more nights at a hotel was even less at 24 percent. These statistics suggest guests will spend more time at their destination when using a vacation rental, making them perfect for travelers wanting to take longer trips.

Vacation rentals provide more flexibility for travelers

Controversy has, at times, concealed Airbnb’s successes. The company is continually confronted by various regulatory issues, but despite some negative headlines, demand for rentals hasn’t ceased. Travelers increasingly choose a home-sharing service because they offer greater flexibility and options in a variety of areas.

Short term rentals can provide you with a range of amenities during your stay, such as free wifi, a washing machine and dryer, a yard or patio (maybe even with a hot tub), and a full kitchen. Research from TripAdvisor reveals that 50 percent of travelers choose a vacation rental over a hotel when they travel because of “better amenities,” while 94 percent who have stayed in a rented property were “satisfied” with the experience. The most popular amenities that travelers are looking for? A kitchen, stunning views, a private pool, Wi-Fi and pet-friendly properties, according to a recent study.

Rentals provide guests with more space

Guests are afforded more space when they stay in a rented property, according to research. The average size of a vacation rental is 2,000 square feet, compared to 400 square feet for a hotel room. The result? You not only have more space to rest and relax after exploring the local area, but you also have a great space to spend time in while you stay in. Here at Pillow, we’ve found that guests appreciate value when looking for accommodation. Travelers can expect to pay up to 50 percent less per square foot than an average hotel room and the cost can easily be divided between friends and family, a cheaper alternative than pay-per-night rates for multiple rooms at a hotel.

Rentals appeal to different demographics

Vacation rentals are thought to be the domain of Millennials. 75 percent of respondents between 25 and 34 used a home-sharing service in the last year, making rentals popular with young families who want facilities like swimming pools and gardens, leaving some cramped, crowded city-center hotels unable to compete.

With vacation rentals, including apartments and condos, in cities and resorts across the world, homeowners attract business and vacation travelers who are looking for something different from a conventional hotel room. With this in mind, vacation rentals are becoming popular among many generations, including Baby Boomers, who are the fastest growing users of the lodging option.

Renter demographics also suggest that, while rentals are often cheaper than hotel rooms, price isn’t always a factor. 70 percent of respondents in a Goldman Sachs study who used a home-sharing service in the last year generated an annual income between $70,000 and $119,000. In addition, usage not only spans both traveler demographics but also traveler styles: 10 percent of long-term rentals are booked by solo travelers, 52 percent by couples or friends and 38 percent by families and large groups.

Quick and easy booking

Instant booking services provided by companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway make it easier than ever for travelers to book a property. You no longer have to visit a homeowner’s website to request a reservation and wait for a response about availability. Using popular short term rental platforms, like Airbnb and for example, provide you with the similar functionality of hotel websites and allows you to explore over 2 million vacation listings.

With the freedom and flexibility that vacation rentals provide, it’s no wonder more and more people are jumping onboard.

If you’re thinking about renting out your home or the first time, or want to invest in the rental market, we can help. Here at Pillow, we help create your listing and market it across all top booking platforms. We’ll also handle and maintain all guest inquiries and reservations, and then turn it over so we can do it all again! The result? More bookings, higher sales and bigger profits.

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