Study: 72% of Americans Prefer Hotels and Resorts Over Vacation Rentals

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When it comes to vacation travel, more than 7 in 10 Americans prefer hotels and resorts to vacation rentals like Airbnbs, according to a ValuePenguin survey of more than 1,000 Americans.

They say the reason is mostly related to more on-site amenities, safety protocols, and resources for those planning to work while on vacation. Vacation rentals, however, have an appeal for large groups of travelers.

Main conclusions

  • Americans overwhelmingly prefer hotels and resorts over vacation / timeshare rentals, but price transparency is not a big factor. Of the survey respondents, 72% said they would prefer to stay in a hotel. The main reasons cited included better facilities (37%), ease of booking (33%), more people available for service (32%) and on-site restaurants and bars (31%).
  • Despite greater popularity among hotels and resorts, more customers have had negative hotel experiences. While 44% of those surveyed who have stayed at a hotel or resort said they had a negative experience, only 29% of previous vacation rental customers say the same.
  • Consumers are willing to spend more on their preferred type of accommodation, and many don’t bother to compare prices between alternatives. Six in 10 would be happy to shell out more money for the type of accommodation they prefer, and 54% of respondents don’t even bother to compare purchases between the two accommodation categories.
  • Many Americans plan to work remotely while traveling this year, and most believe hotels and resorts are better suited for business travel. Of the 1 in 3 respondents who plan to log into work while on vacation, almost 60% will stay in a hotel or resort while doing so.
  • Travelers think vacation rentals are best for large gatherings like family reunions or traveling with friends, while preferring hotels for business and international travel. Although hotels and resorts take the top spot, regardless of the purpose of the trip, vacation rentals were popular options for family reunions and trips with friends (44% and 43%, respectively) .

However, the popularity of vacation rentals appeared to increase during the pandemic. Of those who said their accommodation preferences had changed due to the pandemic, 20% previously preferred hotels and resorts but now prefer vacation rentals, while 15% said the opposite.

Currently, however, consumers trust hotels and resorts more when it comes to safety and health than vacation rental companies (74% vs. 26%).

The main reasons for choosing hotels over vacation rentals have little to do with saving money, and more with enjoying comfort and services during your stay.

For those who prefer vacation rentals, having a more personal feel, access to full kitchens, and staying in more unique places were the main attractions. Not having to have dinner at every meal and being able to entertain large groups within the rental can also save you a huge amount of money while traveling.

While millennials prefer hotels and resorts, they are the group most likely to prefer vacation rentals: 32% said so, compared to 29% of Gen Z and 28% of Gen X.

Hotels also had a much higher preference among international travelers and those planning a beach vacation or wellness trip. Travel with friends and family reunions, however, saw a tighter divide with more than 4 in 10 saying a vacation rental was the way to go.



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