Online travel giants are boosting inventory of home-rental options that can be booked similarly to a hotel, with just a few clicks
A beachfront house in Fort Morgan, Ala., operated by Harris Properties. The company has listed on home rental site VRBO (now owned by HomeAway and Expedia) since the mid-2000s. Photo: Harris Properties
Expedia and Priceline have dominated hotel bookings for two decades. But with the vacation-rental industry rapidly expanding as a popular alternative to hotel stays, the online travel giants are betting big on the sector by boosting their inventory of home-rental options that can be booked similarly to a hotel, with just a few clicks.
The so-called private-accommodation market, which includes vacation rentals, homes or rooms rented out on a short-term basis, is about one-fifth the size of the hotel market based on revenue in the U.S., but it has been growing faster than hotels since 2015, according to data from travel industry-research group Phocuswright. Revenue in the U.S. private accommodation market grew 11% last year from the year earlier, and is projected to grow 8% this year to more than $34 billion; the U.S. hotel industry grew 5% last year to $151 billion and is projected to do the same this year, according to the data.