The terminology varies across different regions, with “vacation rental” being predominantly used in the United States, while terms like “holiday homes” and “gites” are more common in the United Kingdom and France, respectively. These accommodations can range from budget studio apartments to luxurious private villas, offering a diverse selection of options for travelers. Vacation rentals have been a popular choice in Europe and Canada for many years and are gaining popularity worldwide due to their flexibility and the unique experiences they provide (Evercore, 2014).

History and Popularity

Vacation rentals have a long history, particularly in Europe, where they have been a popular travel option for many years. In the United Kingdom, they are known as holiday homes or holiday lets, while in France, they are referred to as gites, typically located in rural areas. The popularity of vacation rentals has grown significantly over time, expanding to other regions such as the United States, Canada, and various tourist destinations worldwide. This growth can be attributed to the increasing demand for alternative accommodation options to traditional hotels, offering travelers more flexibility, privacy, and a unique experience. The global vacation rental market is estimated to be worth $100 billion, with two-thirds of the market being “for rent by owner” (Evercore, 2014). The rise of online platforms and rental management companies has further contributed to the popularity of vacation rentals, making it easier for property owners to list their properties and for travelers to find and book suitable accommodations (Wikipedia, n.d.).


Types of Accommodations

Vacation rentals offer a diverse range of accommodations to cater to the varying preferences and budgets of travelers. These accommodations can be broadly categorized into several types. Firstly, there are traditional holiday homes, which include fully furnished villas, apartments, cottages, townhomes, and single-family-style homes. These properties are often privately owned and can be found in both urban and rural settings. Secondly, farm stays and rural rentals provide travelers with an opportunity to experience life on a working farm or rent a property located on a farm. Thirdly, luxury vacation rentals, such as high-end private villas, offer lavish amenities and services, including private beaches, boats, chefs, and cooking lessons. Condominiums and resort-style rentals are another popular option, providing guests with hotel-like services, such as front desk check-in, 24-hour maintenance, in-house housekeeping, and concierge service. Lastly, campervan and motorhome rentals cater to those seeking a more mobile and adventurous vacation experience (Wikipedia, n.d.).


Farm Stays and Rural Rentals

Farm stays and rural rentals are unique vacation accommodation options that offer travelers an immersive experience in agricultural and countryside settings. These accommodations can be found in various forms, such as traditional farmhouses, cottages, or even converted barns. Farm stays often provide guests with the opportunity to participate in the daily activities of a working farm, such as animal care, crop cultivation, and harvesting. In contrast, rural rentals may not necessarily involve active participation in farming activities but are situated in idyllic rural locations, offering a tranquil retreat from urban life.

These alternative vacation accommodations have gained popularity among tourists seeking authentic, local experiences and a deeper connection with nature and culture. Farm stays and rural rentals cater to a diverse range of preferences, from budget-friendly options to luxurious countryside estates. They offer a unique alternative to conventional hotels and resorts, providing travelers with a more personalized and intimate vacation experience (Fennell, 2017; Tussyadiah & Pesonen, 2016).


  • Fennell, D. A. (2017). Ecotourism. Routledge.
  • Tussyadiah, I. P., & Pesonen, J. (2016). Impacts of peer-to-peer accommodation use on travel patterns. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 5, 37-46.

Rental Duration and Pricing

The rental duration and pricing for vacation rentals can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, property type, and season. Typically, vacation rentals are rented on a weekly basis, although some properties may offer nightly or even monthly rental options. Prices can range from budget-friendly studio apartments to lavish private villas with luxury amenities, resulting in a wide spectrum of pricing options for travelers. Seasonal fluctuations also play a significant role in determining rental prices, with peak travel seasons often commanding higher rates due to increased demand. Additionally, the popularity of the destination and the availability of similar accommodations in the area can influence pricing. It is essential for potential renters to research and compare various properties and rental durations to find the best fit for their needs and budget (Evercore, 2014; Wikipedia, n.d.).


Luxury Vacation Rentals and Amenities

Luxury vacation rentals are high-end, fully furnished properties that cater to discerning travelers seeking a more personalized and opulent experience than traditional hotels. These upscale accommodations can range from lavish private villas to extravagant condominiums in some of the world’s most sought-after locations. The amenities offered in luxury vacation rentals often rival those found in five-star hotels, with a focus on providing an exclusive and indulgent experience for guests. Typical amenities may include private swimming pools, hot tubs, home theaters, gourmet kitchens, and state-of-the-art entertainment systems. Additionally, luxury rentals may also offer personalized services such as private chefs, butlers, housekeeping, and concierge assistance to cater to guests’ every need. These upscale properties often boast prime locations, such as beachfront access or proximity to renowned attractions, further enhancing their appeal to affluent travelers seeking a unique and memorable vacation experience (Evercore, 2014; Big White Ski Resort, n.d.).

Condominiums and Resort-Style Rentals

Condominiums and resort-style vacation rentals are popular alternatives to traditional hotel accommodations, offering a more residential experience for travelers. Condominiums are individually owned units within a larger complex, often featuring shared amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and recreational facilities. Resort-style vacation rentals, on the other hand, are typically situated within professionally managed resort complexes, providing a wide range of services and amenities to guests.

These types of accommodations often offer services similar to those found in hotels, such as front desk check-in, 24-hour maintenance, in-house housekeeping, and concierge services. Additionally, they may include access to on-site restaurants, bars, and other leisure facilities. The properties themselves can range from modest apartments to luxurious villas, catering to various budgets and preferences. As a result, condominiums and resort-style vacation rentals have become increasingly popular among travelers seeking a more personalized and comfortable stay, particularly in popular tourist destinations such as Florida, Hawaii, and coastal areas with beaches (Wikipedia, n.d.).

Campervan and Motorhome Rentals

Campervan and motorhome rentals offer a unique vacation accommodation option for travelers seeking flexibility and a sense of adventure. These mobile accommodations provide the opportunity to explore various destinations without the need for booking multiple hotels or vacation rentals. Campervans and motorhomes are typically equipped with essential amenities such as sleeping quarters, a kitchenette, and bathroom facilities, allowing travelers to maintain a level of comfort while on the road.

This vacation accommodation option has gained popularity in recent years, particularly among those who enjoy outdoor activities and wish to immerse themselves in nature. Campervan and motorhome rentals can be found in numerous countries, with a wide range of sizes and styles available to suit different budgets and preferences. Rental durations can vary from short weekend trips to extended journeys, offering a customizable experience for each traveler. While campervan and motorhome rentals may not provide the same level of luxury as some vacation rentals or hotels, they offer a unique and memorable travel experience that appeals to a growing number of tourists worldwide (Euromonitor International, 2019).

Top Vacation Rental Destinations

The top vacation rental destinations worldwide encompass a diverse range of locations, catering to various preferences and budgets. Europe remains a popular choice, with countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, and Turkey offering a wide array of vacation rentals, including villas, holiday homes, and gites (in rural France). The United States also boasts numerous sought-after destinations, particularly in coastal areas with beaches, such as Florida, Hawaii, and California. These locations often feature beach houses and resort-style accommodations. Additionally, the United States Virgin Islands attract a significant number of tourists seeking vacation rentals. It is important to note that the popularity of these destinations may vary depending on factors such as seasonality, regional events, and economic conditions. As the global vacation rental market continues to grow, travelers can expect to see an increasing number of options in both established and emerging destinations (Evercore, 2014).

Comparison with Timeshares and Hotels

Vacation rentals, timeshares, and hotels each offer distinct accommodations and services to cater to the diverse preferences of travelers. Vacation rentals, which include a wide range of properties such as villas, apartments, and cottages, provide a more personalized and spacious environment for guests. These rentals often come with fully-equipped kitchens and other amenities, allowing for a self-catering experience. In contrast, timeshares involve shared ownership of a property, typically a fully furnished condominium, with each owner having access to the property for a specific period. Timeshare resorts may offer similar services to hotels, such as housekeeping and concierge services, but with the added benefit of a more homely atmosphere.

Hotels, on the other hand, provide a more standardized experience with a focus on convenience and a range of services, including daily housekeeping, room service, and on-site facilities such as restaurants and fitness centers. While hotels may lack the personal touch and spaciousness of vacation rentals and timeshares, they often excel in offering a consistent level of service and amenities to their guests. Ultimately, the choice between vacation rentals, timeshares, and hotels depends on individual preferences and the desired travel experience (Evercore, 2014; RCI, n.d.; Interval International, n.d.).

Global Vacation Rental Market Size

The global vacation rental market has experienced significant growth in recent years, with an estimated market size of $100 billion. This substantial figure highlights the increasing popularity of vacation rentals as a preferred accommodation choice for travelers worldwide. Approximately two-thirds of this market consists of properties available for rent by owner, demonstrating the prevalence of individual property owners in the industry (Evercore, 2018). The remaining portion of the market is managed by agencies and online platforms, which facilitate the rental process for both property owners and travelers. The vacation rental market’s expansion can be attributed to various factors, including the rise of online platforms, increased consumer demand for alternative accommodation options, and the desire for more personalized travel experiences. As the market continues to grow, it is expected that vacation rentals will become an even more prominent player in the global travel and tourism industry.

Online Platforms and Rental Management

Online platforms and rental management companies play a crucial role in the vacation rental market by facilitating the connection between property owners and potential renters. These platforms, such as Airbnb, VRBO, and, provide a user-friendly interface for property owners to list their accommodations and for travelers to search, compare, and book their desired vacation rentals. They often offer additional services such as secure payment processing, customer reviews, and communication tools to enhance the overall experience for both parties (Evercore, 2014).

Rental management companies, on the other hand, assist property owners in the day-to-day operations of their vacation rentals. These companies typically handle tasks such as property maintenance, housekeeping, and guest relations, ensuring that the rental property is well-maintained and that guests have a positive experience during their stay. By outsourcing these responsibilities to a professional management company, property owners can focus on other aspects of their business or personal life, while still benefiting from the growing vacation rental market (Evercore, 2014).

In summary, online platforms and rental management companies contribute significantly to the efficiency and growth of the vacation rental market by streamlining the process of listing, booking, and managing vacation properties.


  • Evercore. (2014). Global Vacation Rental Market.