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Vacation Rental in Ocean City MD Aerial View 2

Vacation Rental Forecast for 2019: Ocean City, Maryland

Vacation Rental Outlook 2019: 6 Predictions from Experts

The New Year is almost here, and with it comes our vacation rental forecast for 2019. What are guests looking for in a vacation home? What’s hot in condo rentals and beach rentals? What tactics should property owners try for the greatest return on their investment? Here are six top trends and predictions for owners to watch in the Ocean City, Maryland, 2019 vacation rental market.

1. Bigger (and bigger-feeling) homes


More and more, people booking a vacation rental want room to move—to gather for holiday or milestone celebrations, to give adults and children their own separate space and more. This is playing out for the in a trend toward larger rental homes, especially as multigenerational travel becomes more popular.

For extended family groups, a larger vacation rental property makes sense, according to Forbes writer Christopher Elliott, who extolled the virtues of a California wine country estate that sleeps 10. Such a property might feature outdoor living areas for drinks and conversation, outdoor kitchen areas for group cooking, a pool, onsite spa and more.

Fortunately, you don’t have to own a palace to give guests room to spread out and feel comfortable. With beach rentals, condo rentals and beyond, you can create multiple sitting areas in the space you have. For Ocean City, Maryland, vacation homes, consider marketing such areas as:

  • A game room for those rainy days when the kids can’t go to the beach
  • A crafts station for making art and jewelry out of collected shells
  • A quiet space for napping children (and adults!)
  • A patio for enjoying a crab feast
  • A porch for ice cream socials and wine tastings

If you’re considering making renovations to your property, think about opening up kitchens and dining rooms for more expansive gathering areas.

2. The Millennial traveler


In addition to large, multifamily gatherings, be on the lookout for young singles and couples seeking accommodations for events, sightseeing or just getting away from it all.

Millennials (think later 20s, early 30s) are proving to be avid travelers. Many have stayed at condos and beach houses with their families growing up. They’re comfortable both branching out from hotels for vacation lodging and finding and booking these stays online. So they’re familiar with vacation homes and ready to create some new experiences on their own.

How can property owners adapt to this trend in the vacation rentals market? Offer short term rentals that accommodate entry-level budgets and fewer vacation days. To accommodate large groups of friends on vacation, consider offering multiple properties in the same complex. And treat these younger travelers to the amenities they crave. Beyond the must-have of lightning-fast Wi-Fi, with ample bandwidth for YouTube and streaming content, consider:

  • Spaces ideal for socializing
  • Online/mobile services for booking, billing and beyond
  • Access to bike, scooter and car sharing stations and services

Be sure to mention local venues in your descriptions. If a Millennial traveler remembers a specific boardwalk, beach or crab shack from a childhood vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, you’re likely to jog a fond memory—and possibly inspire a booking.

3. Local outdoor and dining attractions


Along with Argentina, Italy and Egypt’s Nile Valley, Lonely Planet listed two nature sites in the Eastern United States—Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains and the Catskills— among its top destinations for 2019.

This trend is good news for the Ocean City, MD, vacation rental market as well. Travelers looking for adventure will find themselves just a short drive away from:

  • The famous ponies of Assateague Island and National Seashore
  • The boating and camping of Pocomoke River State Park
  • Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, recently named “One of the 10 Best Amazing Places for Wildlife” by USA Today

After a busy day of exploring, vacationers will be looking for culinary adventures as well. Increasingly, travelers of all ages have become discerning foodies, and fortunately Ocean City’s food and beverage scene has grown to accommodate their palates and Instagram feeds

New venues to consider promoting include:

For committed foodies, the OC Foodie Tour provides a 3.5 hour walk through Ocean City dining past and present, with samplings at five locally owned restaurants. The July Greek festival treats travelers to local dolmathes, keftedes, spanakopita and more. And Fall Restaurant Week offers fixed-price menus for the range of budgets and palates.

4. Reliability and consistency


In a world full of apps, texts and tech gadgets, customer service matters more than ever—especially in the vacation rental industry.

“Booking a vacation rental is more of a ‘considered purchase’ than booking a hotel room,” in the words of a report recapping this year’s VRMA Conference.

So don’t forget the basics, like giving customers what they expect in terms of quality, amenities and service as they book a vacation home year after year.

This can mean:

  • Dependable upkeep with prompt, effective repairs
  • Consistent (and well-functioning) conveniences such as key-based entry and digital thermostats
  • Perks guests can look forward to stay after stay, such as free gym passes, mid-week cleanings and grocery delivery services

Guests book a vacation rental to decrease—not add to—the stress in their lives. They want to know what to expect as they book a reservation, settle in, enjoy the amenities and wrap up their trips.

It’s important that you never forget the human element: the people making your guests feel at home. Make sure you choose a property management partner that consistently wows vacationing guests with great customer service, which hospitality consultant Debby Hudspith defines as: “Knowing why the customer is there in the first place, making them feel important, building a relationship, responding to requests out of the ordinary and ensuring someone is always available for them, no matter which department.”

5. Value for the vacation dollar


As more and more travelers vacation in large groups, they’re discovering that splitting the cost of a vacation home is a great way to get extra space at an affordable price. Remember that California wine estate mentioned earlier? The rental cost, averaged out across 10 people, comes down to $68 per person per night—far less expensive than most hotels in the area could offer.

In our opinion, typical renters aren’t always on a quest for luxury at the very highest end. They’re on a quest for value. And owners of all sizes and types of properties—from condo rentals to beach home rentals—can fulfill this quest by giving their guests a little extra bang for their buck. For property owners in Ocean City, Maryland, this includes not only space to relax but upgraded amenities and complimentary treats.

Need inspiration? Successful Meetings highlighted:

  • Record players, with music guests can “check out” from a vinyl library
  • A live goldfish as the official property pet
  • Cocktail packages delivered by a personal bartender

Special skincare products, linens and robes have been a rising trend in the hospitality industry overall—especially when they come with a unique story or local hook. But you don’t have to break the bank to make your guests feel special.

Consider providing them with practical perks like blenders and coffeemakers, water bowls and treat baskets for pet owners, or bottled water and energy bars for sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Or try homey treats like fruit baskets, plates of cookies, or homemade soups and breads.

6. A shift to direct bookings


At the VRMA International Conference, which explored the rental market for 2019, several managers of large properties reported a decreased, even eliminated, reliance on online travel agencies (OTAs). Customer service and ability to communicate with guests throughout the booking process were big reasons. And if vacation rental property managers are feeling this difference, you can bet that guests, are, too.

So as the new year begins, remember that you as a local owner of a vacation home can offer many advantages that a global OTA or customer service rep in a faraway call center cannot. This includes things like:

  • Who to contact for a spur-of-the-moment crab fest—or a last-minute registration for the holiday fun run
  • What parks and beaches are most kid-friendly—and what nightclubs have lined up the hottest new DJs
  • What local shops have the best deals on beachwear—or the best under-the-radar happy hours on the boardwalk
  • When to see the wild horses at Assateague Island National Seashore—or to take to the seas for the best white marlin
  • How to catch crabs in the bay—or spot the most elusive gulls and loons during a bird watching hike

And as more travel and hospitality trends emerge for Ocean City, Maryland, vacation homes in 2019, you can be sure that Vantage will be there on the forefront, ready to help you delight your guests and position your properties for success.

Let’s start a great new year together! To make the most of your Ocean City vacation property in 2019, visit our Vacation Rental Management Services page — then contact Vantage Vacation Rentals at 410.723.1780 x 5 or ListingInfo@VantageOC.com.

Benefits of the Off-Season in Ocean City, MD

Everyone knows how great Ocean City is during the summer months, but not many realize how fun it can also be during the off-season. The weather may be a bit chilly, but there is still plenty to do, such as weekly events, shopping, and tourist attractions. It’s a little bit like having the beach to yourself, with less traffic, fewer crowds, and an all-around slower pace.  Head down to the Boardwalk for a morning bike ride and stop in at your favorite breakfast shop for a cup of coffee.  Most Boardwalk shops and restaurants are open daily, and especially on weekends.  There are no restrictions for bike riding on the Boardwalk from the Tuesday after Labor Day until the Friday before Memorial Day (excluding Springfest and Sunfest weekends).  Parking is also free April 1st through October 31st.  Feel free to bring your pets along, as leashed dogs are welcome on the beach and Boardwalk from October 1st through April 30th.  (Browse our Pet-Friendly Rentals page to view homes that permit pets.)

Fantastic Dining, Shopping and Activities

Snow and sand do not mix, but there is just something about seeing Ocean City in all seasons of the year that is so peaceful and wonderful to experience. Beachcombers love the off-season since it’s the perfect time to search for seashells as they wash up onto the shore (especially after storms in the spring or fall).  It is also not unusual to see rare marine life make an appearance every now and then, such as migrating seals that stop to rest on the beach.  If retail therapy is what you seek, Ocean City offers a variety of great shopping options – from small shops like Ish Boutique and South Moon Under to The Tanger Outlets in West Ocean City, which features discount shopping at big name stores like American Eagle, Under Armour, and more.  Ready for a bite to eat?  There are many town favorite restaurants that offer daily lunch and dinner specials, such as OC Wasabi, Harrison’s Harbor Watch, and Harborside.  Be sure to check out Fishtales next to Bahia Marina on 18th St., which is open on weekends and features a beautiful bayfront beach with a playground for the kids.  Off-season fishing trips are also available there on the weekends. Reel in winner rock fish and enjoy your own freshly caught meal.

Budget-Friendly Vacation Rental Rates

Last, but not least, the best part about the off-season is low rental rates! Our best properties are waiting to offer you luxurious accommodations for a fraction of what it would cost in the summertime.  Here are some recommendations for awesome off-season getaways.

Acropolis 1 – 3-BR/3.5-BA/Sleeps 8 – Stay oceanfront on 63rd Street in one of Ocean City’s finest buildings.  Previously featured in Coastal Style Magazine as a “Prestigious Property,” this 3,000-square foot condo offers opulent décor, access to a rooftop hot tub, and beautiful views of the ocean and beach.

Sunset Island 6 Hidden Cove Way 2E – 3-BR/2-BA/Sleeps 8 – Escape to this quaint bayfront island off of 67th Street.  Located along the water, this upscale condo features peaceful bay views and access to first-class amenities including indoor/outdoor pools, a community clubhouse, private bayfront beaches, and more.

Belmont Towers 710 – 3-BR/2.5-BA/Sleeps 9 – Relax on your balcony while enjoying cool breezes and fantastic views of the ocean, inlet, and Assateague Island in the distance.  This spacious condo is situated on the south side of the popular Belmont Towers building located downtown on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

Beach Getaway – 4-BR/3-BA/Sleeps 10 – Bring your canine kids along to this spacious pet-friendly home located on the bayside of Coastal Highway on 86th Street.  Guests will enjoy all of the upscale finishes at this property, as well as a backyard deck, fire pit, grill, and private fenced-in yard.

Don’t wait – plan your off-season Ocean City escape today.  Browse VantageOceanCity.com or give us a call at (410) 723-2002 to let our Vacation Coordinators help you find the perfect vacation spot.

Stress-Free Guaranteed Rental Program

Enrollment Ends 2/28 for Our Guaranteed Rental Program

Are you a vacation rental owner? Do you feel overwhelmed trying to get your property rented?  Would you like to relax more?   If you answered yes to any of these questions then Vantage is here to help!  We have been successfully renting out vacation homes for 10 years and are one of the fastest growing agencies in the region.  We are constantly looking for quality properties to join our portfolio, and your property may be a good fit for our Guaranteed Rental Program through Travel Advantage Network (TAN).

TAN is one of the most well-respected travel programs in the country.  Based in Millersville, MD, they have been leasing properties in Ocean City, MD, Southern Delaware, and the S. Jersey Shore for the last 25 years. The benefits of joining our Guaranteed Rental Program through TAN (at no cost to you) include:

  • Pre- and Post-Season Deep Cleans & Carpet Cleaning
  • Weekly inspections & Basic Maintenance
  • Dedicated Property Manager Assigned to Your Unit
  • Exclusive Travel Benefits at TAN properties throughout U.S., Caribbean, Hawaii & Dominican Republic
  • GUARANTEED INCOME – Receive Monthly Checks Whether Home Rents or Not!

Vantage Vacation Rentals is proud of its long history of bringing this outstanding tenant to our clients. Space is very limited, so don’t hesitate to call and learn more about this awesome opportunity!  Hurry – enrollment for the 2017 season ends 2/28.

For more information, contact Cindy Boluk at (800) 555-4099, ext. 5467 or Cindy@VantageOC.com.

Strong Economy | Strong Market

After an uphill climb from the recession of 2007, many economists believe the housing market is now the strongest it`s been in years. In fact, it has been one of the brightest spots of the economic recovery – a good sign for homeowners & homebuyers that real estate is a solid investment.

Great Time to Buy a Home

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing home sales were up by 6.6% in the first quarter compared to 2014 & home prices rose anywhere from 4.1% to 6.8% in the first half of 2015. As for vacation homes, sales rose 57% last year over 2013 to a total of 1.3 million properties, well above the last peak level in 2006. Vacation home sales also accounted for 21% of all real estate transactions last year – their highest market share since the NAR first conducted their survey in 2003.

Great Time to Rent a Home

Since a healthy housing market is a reflection of healthy budgets, these are good indicators that Americans also have more money to stay in vacation homes. This is especially true for millenials & young families. Out of the 3 million jobs created in the last 12 years, 1 million have been taken by this age group. Vacation rental tech expert LeisureLink stresses that millenials are a powerful segment of travelers to attract & cater to. Known as “Generation C” (for Connect), millenials have high expectations in the technology department when it comes to their vacation (ie., Wi-Fi & tech-friendly amenities are a must!)