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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.

Vacation Rental Owners

10 Ways Vacation Rental Owners Can Upgrade for Instant Value

Small Upgrades that Create Big Value for Vacation Rental Owners

While many vacation rental owners may not have the funds or resources for major structural changes to their rental properties, there are several types of easy upgrades that can instantly add value. Below are our top recommendations for inexpensive improvements that will help maintain your vacation rental, impress your guests, and pave the way for repeat business in the future.

  • A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into any vacation home – nothing improves your home’s appearance more than this. Painting is easy and inexpensive and sets the tone throughout the property. Consider adding an accent wall for a splash of color and an interesting design element.
  • Replacing older light fixtures not only improves lighting quality, but also gives your home an updated look and aesthetic appeal.
  • New cabinet doors, knobs and contact paper for shelves and drawers freshen up kitchens and make guests feel at home during their stay.
  • Upgrading to hardwood or tile flooring makes your property easier to maintain and gives it an updated look in online photos.  You will score big points with guests, as well!
  • Contemporary showerheads, toilet paper holders, towel racks or faucets may seem like small details, but they can give bathrooms a clean, personalized touch like that of an upscale hotel.
  • Flat-screen TVs add a modern, streamlined look to your home and greatly improve the viewing experience for guests while they relax on vacation.  With the cost of flat-screen TVs having come down dramatically in price, this is a great opportunity to swap out any older, boxy TVs that may be making your vacation rental look dated.
  • Programmable thermostats can add money-saving and functional elements to the home. Most are inexpensive and easy to install.
  • While it may not be possible to add square footage to your property – especially if it’s located in a condo building – storage within the home can be maximized by installing vertical shelving in workrooms, pantries, closets and garages.
  • Little touches, like updating light switches and doorknobs, can add a fresh feel to any room. Routinely upgrade the bedrooms with hotel-quality bedding, pillows, and mattresses or mattress toppers – all things that guests have come to expect when they travel. New door handles and locks can improve security, as well.
  • Save on energy costs by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, routinely cleaning your refrigerator coils, and replacing older air conditioning or furnace filters.

Helping vacation rental owners succeed in Ocean City, MD and at the Delaware beaches is our passion. For more tips or to get a free proposal on your next project, contact Vantage Vacation Rentals at 877-319-5808 or email deb@vantageresortrealty.biz. Visit our Vacation Rental Management Services page to learn more about how Vantage can help you maximize your vacation home.

Vacation Rental Manager Questions

4 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Vacation Rental Manager

Hiring a Vacation Rental Manager? Be Sure to Ask these 4 Questions.

Do you own a vacation rental in Ocean City, MD or at the Delaware beaches? You may want to consider hiring a property management company to oversee its operations when you are unable to handle maintenance, communicate with guests and answer various questions. You do not want to end up with a management company that does not understand you and your needs, so here are some questions to ask every prospective organization.

1. What Are Your Fees?

You always want to know how much you will need to pay a property management company before signing a contract. The fees can range anywhere between 25 and 50 percent of the total rent. Consider how much you can afford to pay and still make a profit from your vacation rental.

2. What Do Your Other Clients Have To Say?

It is always advisable to seek out references. The management company should have no problem putting you in touch with current clients. These clients will offer their sincere opinions, and you will know whatever they say is the truth.

3. What Services Are Included in the Fees?

The fees you pay should cover most of the maintenance costs. Some aspects that should be included consist of marketing, maintenance, cleaning, in-person visits and pre-stay walk-throughs. Ask about everything, so you do not get caught off-guard about any extra fees that pop up.

4. What Is Vacation Rental Performance Like in the Area?

An experienced vacation rental property management company should be able to tell you everything about that industry in a specific city. They should be able to tell you when the slow and busy seasons are. You should also ask about any local regulations that could impact who you can rent to.

If you have a Maryland or Delaware rental property and are looking for a vacation rental manager to partner with, Vantage Vacation Rentalscan help. Visit our Vacation Rental Management Services page for more information about how we make the experience smooth and successful for property owners. Questions? Call (410) 723-1780 (opt. 5) or send a message through our online form, and be sure to request a Free Rental Market Analysis of your property. We will get back to you shortly!