Listen up! There are plenty of opportunities in the vacation rental industry for your home to make a lot of money. When I bought my home in Fiji and put it on the vacation rental market, there were only about 12 vacation rentals in the entire country that were marketed even passively. You don't have to have a lot of vacation rentals if you look in your area to have it be a good fit because what's happening is people are bringing the experience they've had in vacation rentals in other countries and they're looking for them in your area.
If your area has tourism interest, it’s golden. I always say follow the backpackers. I spent a year in college backpacking and then a fall backpacking trip around Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Backpackers are the first to find a new place. If your home is in the middle of Farmville random country and the backpackers haven't found it yet, it may not be a good fit for the vacation rental industry. You may just not get enough interest. If there are hotels, restaurants, resorts… then you're in a tourism area and people who are very familiar with vacation rentals and looking for a similar experience will be ignoring all of the noise about the hotels and the resorts and they'll be going to listing sites for vacation rentals.
The most studied country in the world for vacation rentals is the US. Therefore,I'm going to be quoting stats from the US, but they can apply to other places because people from the US travel everywhere. Vacation rentals make up 20% of the accommodation market in the US. Think about that. With the amount of hotels that we have, compared to the homes that you see in Myrtle Beach, San Francisco, ski resorts, Florida, etc., we're 20% of the market. That’s huge! And we have a 94% satisfaction rate. That's the highest in the industry.
That means people are having a wonderful experience. We've got a lot of great owners out there who are doing things right. They're giving their guests what they want. Now, those stats are only for people who have actually stayed in a vacation rental. A lot of owners make the process of finding and reserving a vacation rental very arduous, and one of the things I teach is to make it as simple on the guest as possible.
We, as an industry, need to make sure that we're providing good service from the moment they start looking. Studies show that if you're the first one to communicate with them and respond back, you already have a relationship with them. When the other people that they've inquired of finally get back to them, they're mostly locked into your place unless for some reason it doesn't suit their needs. Maybe they didn't check your calendar, maybe the number or the size of the bedding or something doesn't work, but generally, the early bird gets the worm.
Of the travel industry as a whole, when you look at gambling cruises, regular cruises, and theme park tickets, we are 7% of that market, and it's only growing because people are really happy. When you're looking at purchasing a place, look at what the tourism market is. The country should have stats done by month for how many people came inbound.
The information comes from filling out custom cards, and you say where you're going to stay and what country you're from, or when you're on a cruise ship and you arrive or depart. They use that information to say, "We've had this many visitors, this many people arrived by boat and were here for a day. This many people stayed overnight. The average day was seven nights."
You can break it even down by country. They'll show you which country is the highest of international visitors. Look at those stats and then start poking around what other tourism options there are in your town. But, if they're vacation rental aficionados, they’re probably not going to be looking at hotels.com. They're probably going to be looking at vacation rental listing sites.
Right now, I'm one of 50 well-marketed vacation rentals in Fiji, and we're at still at 85% occupancy. That's a lot higher than many others. You can affect your business so much. I hope you come on this journey with me because it can be really profitable.