Also: Fall and spring season both grow in popularity
Cape Cod and Islands summer vacation rental bookings on the WeNeedaVacation.com website are off to the strongest start in the history of the 13 year old company, up 26% from last year's start and 42.6% over the preceding year. As reported previously, it often takes two years to recover from a relatively soft season like 2009 in which high inventory and reduced demand created opportunities for vacationers to find plenty of last-minute options and reduced rates. Followed by the higher demand for rentals and terrific weather last summer, this season is already living up to the company's optimistic outlook for its vacation rental homeowners.
In terms of specific market areas, Nantucket is leading the charge, with its booking rates up nearly 40% over this time last year. This is welcome news for the Island, which suffered a difficult 2009 season, off as much as 60% from this year's great start. The Lower Cape, too, is starting out particularly strong, up 41.1% over last January's bookings. Martha's Vineyard, which had benefited from the greatest gains overall last season, this year is running apace with the majority of Cape areas, increasing 20% over last year and 40% over the 2009 season.
Bookings for the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are already posting even stronger gains than the summer ones. The popularity of fall rentals has grown substantially over the last few years, and the trend continues this year, with fall bookings throughout the Cape and Islands already up nearly 40% over last January and 56% over January 2009. The spring season, too, is showing increased popularity, with overall bookings up over 30% from last January.
In terms of pricing, the higher priced homes are faring slightly better so far than the middle- or moderately-priced ones. Bookings of homes renting for $3,000+/week are up 31% over last January while those rentals of $3,000/week and below are up only 24%. The booking season has just begun, however, and there is still ample inventory in both the high-end and the moderate markets, including palatial $15,000+/week waterfront estates and modest cottages for $800-900/week.
Another interesting fact is that while views of property listings are up 9% over this time last year, email inquiries are up a notable 32%. This shows that more and more vacationers are discovering the efficiency of the website's unique Power Search feature that allows vacationers to find just what they're looking for without having to view volumes of listings.
Although the 2011 booking season is just beginning, early numbers indicate a strong rental season for WeNeedaVacation.com's Cape and Islands homeowners. The improving economy, coupled with the great weather last summer and the horrific winter so far, further support the company's prediction of a strong demand for Cape and Islands rentals this year.
Courtesy of WeNeedaVacation.com.