Beginning with the rise of major booking platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo, vacation rentals became a more affordable experience, particularly for many price conscious millennials. Vacation rentals are advertised as offering a more “authentic” experience of the destination, with amenities that every other resident would enjoy. These include a kitchen, free WiFi, no resort fees, and a generally longer stay time. Customers also seem to prefer the larger spaces, from laundry rooms to private pools. Most importantly for many travelers, longer stays at vacation rentals generally cost less than those at hotels.
According to a study by the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association), nearly half of LGBTQ people surveyed are likely to stay in a vacation home. Rentals have become particularly popular given how their privacy suits the needs of vacationers wary of the pandemic and thus looking to minimize unnecessary interaction with other people. These places also accommodate those working or attending school remotely, as well as to dog owners. Given their recent rise in popularity, other businesses, including Marriott International have entered into the world of luxury vacation rentals. Some of these properties are close enough to the hotels themselves that patrons may still access all of the luxuries of the hotel along with their private experience.
One hotel that offers such perks is Four Seasons Punta Mita, with direct beach access and hotel level service. Though hotel chains are just now catching on to the craze, some resorts and boutique hotels have long been offering vacation rentals. These include Equinox Resort in Vermont, with a historic 18th century property, and Topnotch Resort with signature spas and dining. Williamsburg, Virginia, known for hosting gay and transgender reenactments in Colonial Williamsburg, is also home to the Kingsmill Resort, an AAA-Four Diamond property. Rentals are available even in urban environments, such as in Washington DC’s Rosewood Hotels. When booking, it is important to read customer reviews and consider cancellation policies, which may vary between hosts. LGBTQ+ travelers may also rest assured that many of the large vacation rental companies and platforms such as Airbnb, Vrbo, and particularly Marriott protect their right to equal treatment. There’s also LGBTQ+ hosted platforms such as MisterB&B.
The global vacation rental market continues to grow and is expected to reach $113 billion by 2027. This massive popularity has resulted in price increases across the industry, as well as a higher incidence of customers coming back to book again, usually farther in advance. Even as many travelers begin to phase back into a more in-person career and/or academic life, the popularity of these flexible rentals is not going anywhere.
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