The villa rental industry in 2012

When it comes to luxury, private villa holidays are difficult to beat. Imagine yourself lounging by the fountain in the courtyard of your Marrakesh riad… or skiing directly into your chalet in the Alps. Though the global economy remains in a tumultuous state, luxury travel seems to have escaped the brunt of the beating, and things are still looking rosy for 2012. Villa holidays appeal to more than simply the luxury crowd, as sometimes a self-catered holiday home can be a better value for groups than an all-inclusive hotel. What lies ahead for the villa rental industry? For 2012, we predict that Europe will remain the most popular place for villa rental, though the number of properties and interest in Asia will continue to grow. The desire for unique itineraries will lead to a higher demand for concierge services and bespoke travel planning. Properties at the ultra-high-end and mid-range will continue to appeal to both extremely wealthy and mid-range travellers. The ILTM Global Trends Report highlighted some themes which seem likely to continue next year, including a desire for privacy and discretion, the popularity of open-range tours through wilderness, increased interest in off-the-beaten-track and undiscovered places, greater contact with locals, and eco-friendly, socially conscious travel. Other trends include an increase in personalized, bespoke itineraries, the allure of emerging destinations, and the appeal of travel which is a good value for the money spent. This bodes well for the villa rental industry, as holiday rental properties serve as the perfect answer for vacationers looking for privacy, exclusivity, and intimacy. Many short-let properties come fully staffed, with concierge services available to carry out a traveller’s every desire. For holidaymakers in search of a good value, a holiday rental can help them avoid some of the usual fees associated with hotel stay, such as expensive meals and per-night rental as opposed to weekly rental charges. Villa and chalet rental is becoming so popular that this year has seen a rise in owners buying properties specifically for the purpose of renting them out during peak seasons. Award-winning London-based travel agency Black Tomato always has a finger on the pulse of the travel industry, and Tom Marchant, co-founder, names the fishing village and beaches of Pipa in northeast Brazil and the Riviera Maya in Mexico as hot spots for 2012. Alice Agar of Sally & Alice, a bespoke tour operator, predicts that South Africa and Sri Lanka will be at the top of everyone’s to-go list next year. “With the South African rand creeping back up to 12 to the pound, and the mercury creeping back up to high 20s, South Africa is not only a very affordable holiday destination but a sunny one too,” says Agar. According to the ILTM research, the Asia/Pacific area is extremely hot in more ways than one, particularly East/Southeast Asia, with China, India, the Maldives, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Myanmar being name-checked most often. Singapore is set to rise up as one of the top growing destinations, which is no surprise given its convenient location and unique allure as an ultra-modern metropolis that boasts strong ties to Chinese, Malay, and Indian food and culture. After Asia, Europe is the second fastest growing region for luxury travel. While France, Italy, and Spain have always been top destinations for villas, the popularity of Scandinavia and Eastern Europe is on the rise. Short-let property in London will be in high demand during the 2012 Summer Olympics, and Munich is increasing in popularity. Middle Eastern destinations like Jordan, Morocco, and Oman are drawing in tourists by offering luxury accommodation, a high quality of service, and the very best retail opportunities. It is the third-fastest growing location, and construction of new villas is on the rise as many visitors to the Middle East are drawn by the promise of privacy. China is making waves as outbound travel opens up, and as the country with the third-largest amount of millionaire households, it is an important market for luxury travel and goods. Popular trends in Chinese outbound travel are group tours and all-inclusive packages, with individual planning at a minimum. Villa companies will need to appeal directly to their potential customers with Chinese-friendly marketing tools and amenities if they hope to capture the Chinese market. One of the villa rental industry’s greatest strengths is the range of properties offered. For the ultra-wealthy, the crème de la crème of luxury properties will always be within reach, and these villas will be largely unaffected by global financial troubles. The mid-priced properties remain good values for travellers hoping to save on hotel bills while on vacation. Trends from the past year seem set to continue with exciting new places popping up on our radar. Look out for eco-friendly destinations and don’t forget to have a go at creating the unique vacation of your dreams with a bespoke itinerary, as personalization is the key to a truly memorable vacation. 2012 is set to be another exciting year for the villa rental industry… we can’t wait to see what’s in store. John-Christian Moquette is a Partner at IAVRA, the International Association of Villa Rental Agents. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

John-Christian Moquette

John-Christian Moquette is a Partner at IAVRA.

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  1. Last summer a group of friends and I rented this gorgeous town house in Felanitx on Mallorcas south-east corner. When you have your own villa or house with a pool and barbeque area for less than the flight ticket, there is really no reason to stay in a hotel. I prefer to live like a local and hit the local food markets, the experience is so much more.

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