Definition and Terminology

These properties are usually small homes or cottages that travelers can rent and enjoy as if it were their own home during their stay. The terminology for such properties varies across countries; for instance, in the United Kingdom, they are referred to as holiday homes or holiday cottages, while in Australia and New Zealand, they are called holiday houses or weekenders, and in the United States, they are known as vacation homes or vacation properties. The concept of holiday cottages has evolved over time, with the market becoming increasingly competitive and lucrative, particularly in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia (PWC, 2017).

History and Evolution of Holiday Cottages

The history and evolution of holiday cottages can be traced back to the rise of leisure travel and the need for temporary accommodation for vacationers. Initially, these cottages were primarily used by the wealthy as a means to escape the city and enjoy the countryside. Over time, the concept of holiday cottages expanded to include a wider range of travelers, as the tourism industry grew and diversified. The development of transportation infrastructure, such as railways and highways, further facilitated the accessibility and popularity of holiday cottages. In recent years, the holiday cottage industry has experienced significant growth, driven by factors such as the rise of online booking platforms and an increasing preference for self-catering accommodation options. This growth has led to the emergence of various types of holiday cottages, catering to different traveler preferences and budgets. Today, holiday cottages are an integral part of the global tourism landscape, offering travelers a unique and personalized vacation experience (CABI, 2018; VisitBritain, 2019).

Characteristics and Advantages of Holiday Cottages

Holiday cottages exhibit several distinct characteristics and advantages that make them an attractive option for vacationers and corporate travelers alike. One key characteristic is their size; these properties are typically small homes, such as cottages, which provide a comfortable and intimate setting for guests. This allows travelers to enjoy a more personalized and homely experience compared to traditional hotel accommodations (Pizam, 2010).

Another advantage of holiday cottages is their flexibility in terms of location and duration of stay. These properties can be found in various settings, from rural countryside to bustling urban centers, catering to diverse preferences and needs. Moreover, holiday cottages often offer short-term rental options, typically for less than 30 days, making them a convenient choice for those seeking temporary housing or a brief getaway (Tussyadiah & Pesonen, 2016).

Furthermore, holiday cottages can provide cost-effective accommodation, particularly for larger groups or families. By renting a self-contained property, guests can save on expenses such as dining out, as they have access to kitchen facilities and can prepare their own meals (Guttentag, 2015).

In summary, holiday cottages offer a unique combination of characteristics and advantages, including size, location flexibility, short-term rental options, and cost-effectiveness, which contribute to their growing popularity in the global vacation property rental market.


  • Guttentag, D. (2015). Airbnb: disruptive innovation and the rise of an informal tourism accommodation sector. Current Issues in Tourism, 18(12), 1192-1217.
  • Pizam, A. (2010). The evolving vacation rental market. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29(1), 1-2.
  • Tussyadiah, I. P., & Pesonen, J. (2016). Impacts of peer-to-peer accommodation use on travel patterns. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 5, 37-46.

Global Market Size and Trends

The global market size for holiday cottages has experienced significant growth in recent years, with the short-term vacation property rental market estimated to be worth $100 billion [1]. This growth can be attributed to various factors, including the increasing popularity of online booking platforms, changing consumer preferences, and the desire for unique and personalized travel experiences. The market trends indicate a shift towards eco-friendly and sustainable holiday cottages, as well as the integration of smart home technologies to enhance the guest experience. Additionally, the industry has witnessed a surge in the number of luxury holiday cottages catering to the high-end market segment. The holiday cottage market is highly competitive, with major players operating in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and France. The industry’s future outlook remains positive, with continued growth expected due to technological advancements, evolving consumer preferences, and the increasing demand for alternative accommodation options.


Holiday Cottage Industry in the United Kingdom

The holiday cottage industry in the United Kingdom has experienced significant growth in recent years, with a notable increase in the number of properties available for short-term vacation rentals. This growth can be attributed to the rising popularity of staycations and the increasing demand for self-catering accommodation options. In England, regions such as Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Cumbria, and Devon have the highest percentage of holiday homes, with Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly leading at 5.6% of the total housing stock (ONS, 2006). In Wales, holiday homes and second homes make up 14% of the housing stock in Snowdonia, compared to 1% for the whole of Wales (WalesOnline, 2017). The industry’s expansion has led to increased competition among rental agencies and property owners, as well as the emergence of online platforms that facilitate bookings and rentals. However, this growth has also raised concerns about the impact of holiday cottages on local communities, housing affordability, and the environment (BBC, 2019).


  • Office for National Statistics (ONS). (2006). Housing stock in England.
  • WalesOnline. (2017). The impact of holiday homes on Welsh communities.
  • BBC. (2019). The rise of holiday cottages and their impact on local communities.

Holiday Cottage Industry in Australia and New Zealand

The holiday cottage industry in Australia and New Zealand has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by an increasing demand for unique and authentic travel experiences. In Australia, the market for holiday homes is estimated to be worth AUD 2.5 billion, with over 200,000 properties available for short-term rental (Inside Airbnb, 2018). Similarly, in New Zealand, the number of holiday homes has increased by 10% between 2013 and 2018, with over 50,000 properties now available for rent (Stats NZ, 2018). This growth can be attributed to the rise of online booking platforms, such as Airbnb and, which have made it easier for property owners to list and manage their holiday homes. Additionally, the increasing popularity of domestic tourism in both countries has contributed to the demand for holiday cottages, as more travelers seek to explore their own backyard. Despite the positive outlook, the industry faces challenges, including regulatory restrictions and concerns about the impact of holiday homes on local housing markets and communities (Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, 2018; New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2017).


Holiday Cottage Industry in the United States

The holiday cottage industry in the United States has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by the increasing popularity of short-term vacation rentals and the rise of online booking platforms. According to a report by Statista, the revenue in the vacation rentals segment in the United States is projected to reach $17.5 billion in 2021, with an annual growth rate of 3.4% between 2021 and 2025 (Statista, 2021). This growth can be attributed to various factors, including the desire for more personalized and unique travel experiences, the increasing affordability of vacation rentals compared to traditional hotels, and the ease of booking through online platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the demand for holiday cottages, as travelers seek more secluded and private accommodations to maintain social distancing. However, the industry also faces challenges, such as regulatory restrictions and the impact on local communities, which may influence its future trajectory (InsideHook, 2020).


  • InsideHook. (2020). The Future of the Vacation Rental Industry, Post-COVID.
  • Statista. (2021). Vacation Rentals – United States.

Holiday Cottage Industry in France

The holiday cottage industry in France has experienced significant growth in recent years, with a substantial portion of the housing stock being utilized for holiday or second homes. In 2008, approximately 10% of the total housing stock in France was designated as holiday or second homes, with the majority owned by French nationals. However, foreign ownership also played a considerable role, accounting for around 300,000 homes or 1% of the total housing stock. Among foreign owners, British nationals held the largest share at 28%, followed by Italians at 14%, Belgians at 10%, Dutch at 8%, and Spanish and Americans at 3% each (Leggett, 2008). This thriving industry has contributed to the growth of the French economy and the development of local communities, particularly in popular tourist destinations. However, it is essential to consider the potential impact on housing affordability and availability for local residents, as well as the need for effective regulation and management of the sector to ensure its long-term sustainability.

Regulations and Restrictions on Holiday Cottages

Regulations and restrictions on holiday cottages vary across countries, reflecting the diverse legal frameworks and cultural contexts in which they operate. In the United Kingdom, for instance, local councils may impose measures to control the number of holiday homes in certain areas, such as withholding planning permission if the proportion of holiday homes in a community is likely to exceed 10% (Wales Online, 2018). In France, the government has introduced a tax on second homes in areas with high housing demand, which affects both domestic and foreign owners (Le Figaro, 2015). In the United States, regulations are often determined at the state or municipal level, with some jurisdictions requiring permits, inspections, or adherence to specific zoning laws for short-term rentals (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019). Additionally, many countries have implemented safety and hygiene standards for holiday cottages, which may be enforced through licensing or registration schemes (European Commission, 2020). Overall, the regulatory landscape for holiday cottages is complex and multifaceted, reflecting the need to balance the interests of property owners, local communities, and the wider tourism industry.


Booking and Rental Agencies for Holiday Cottages

Booking and rental agencies play a crucial role in the holiday cottage industry, connecting property owners with potential renters and facilitating transactions. Some prominent global booking and rental agencies include Airbnb,, and HomeAway, which offer a wide range of holiday cottages and vacation homes across various countries. In the United Kingdom, agencies such as Sykes Holiday Cottages, Hoseasons, and are well-established and cater specifically to the UK market. Similarly, in Australia and New Zealand, Stayz and Bachcare are popular platforms for holiday cottage rentals. These agencies not only provide a user-friendly interface for browsing and booking properties but also offer additional services such as property management, marketing support, and customer service to both property owners and renters. By leveraging the expertise of these agencies, holiday cottage owners can maximize their rental income and occupancy rates, while renters can enjoy a seamless and secure booking experience.


  • (Source: Airbnb, 2021;, 2021; HomeAway, 2021; Sykes Holiday Cottages, 2021; Hoseasons, 2021;, 2021; Stayz, 2021; Bachcare, 2021)

Impact of Holiday Cottages on Local Communities

The impact of holiday cottages on local communities can be both positive and negative. On one hand, they contribute to the local economy by attracting tourists who spend money on goods and services, thereby creating employment opportunities and supporting local businesses (Visit Wales, 2015). Additionally, holiday cottages can help preserve and maintain historic buildings and rural landscapes, as they often involve the conversion of old farm buildings or other structures (Gloucestershire, England).

On the other hand, the proliferation of holiday cottages can lead to an increase in property prices, making it difficult for local residents to afford housing (Gwynedd Council, 2004). This can result in a decrease in the availability of long-term rental properties for locals, as property owners may prefer to rent their properties as holiday cottages due to the higher income potential (Scottish Census, 2001). Furthermore, the presence of a large number of holiday cottages in a community can lead to a sense of transience, as the constant influx of visitors may disrupt the social fabric and cohesion of the community (Snowdonia, Wales).


Future Outlook and Trends in the Holiday Cottage Industry

The future outlook for the holiday cottage industry appears promising, with emerging trends reflecting the evolving preferences of travelers and advancements in technology. One significant trend is the increasing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly accommodations, as more tourists become environmentally conscious (Pulido-Fernndez et al., 2019). This has led to the development of eco-cottages, which incorporate energy-efficient designs, renewable energy sources, and sustainable materials.

Another trend is the growing popularity of experiential travel, with holidaymakers seeking unique and authentic experiences that connect them to local cultures and environments (Tung & Ritchie, 2011). In response, holiday cottage providers are offering tailored packages that include activities such as cooking classes, guided tours, and immersive cultural experiences. Additionally, the integration of smart technology in holiday cottages is enhancing the guest experience by providing personalized services, seamless booking processes, and improved communication between hosts and guests (Li et al., 2018).

In conclusion, the holiday cottage industry is adapting to meet the changing needs of travelers, with a focus on sustainability, experiential travel, and technological advancements. These trends are expected to drive growth and innovation in the sector, ensuring its continued success in the global tourism market.


  • Li, X., Wang, D., Liang, X., & Huang, D. (2018). China smart tourism destination research: a review. Current Issues in Tourism, 21(2), 154-171.
  • Pulido-Fernndez, J. I., Lpez-Snchez, Y., & Pulido-Fernndez, M. (2019). The role of sustainable development in the choice of holiday accommodation. Journal of Cleaner Production, 213, 545-556.
  • Tung, V. W. S., & Ritchie, J. R. B. (2011). Exploring the essence of memorable tourism experiences. Annals of Tourism Research, 38(4), 1367-1386.
Category: Type of Property