Summer 2018 vacation rental bookings on the Cape and Islands are remarkably high so far in this booking season. Weekly bookings recorded on the WeNeedaVacation.com site have increased 17.3% over the same period last year – and last year also started strong, up 8.3% over the previous year.
Broken down by region, Cape bookings are up as much as 18%, Martha’s Vineyard by 15.9%, and Nantucket a more modest 3.7%.
These booking numbers reflect bookings for the 2018 season recorded through the end of January. Thus, they include the months of October and November of 2017, which saw record-breaking site traffic, email inquiries, and bookings. In other words, the trend didn’t just occur in the month of January but started last fall and has continued at a sustained pace throughout January. Although the continued strong numbers bode well for Cape and Islands homeowners and businesses, our 20 years of watching these numbers suggest that this momentum will fade as summer approaches.
Like last year, inventory of vacation rental homes on our site has grown considerably due to fairly dramatic changes in the industry. (See our recent press release “Cape and Islands directly affected by massive change in vacation rental industry.”) Vacationers, too, appear to be leaving many of the Big Box sites for smaller, regional sites like ours in order to avoid booking/service fees and restrictions on pre-booking communication with owners and managers.
What might account for the strong bookings?
Despite the recent dramatic volatility in the stock market, the US economy is quite strong. Unemployment is low, and the new tax plan has put added money into the pockets of the middle class. Vacationers are feeling confident in their ability to pay for a week on the Cape or Islands. The dollar has lost ground against the Euro, too, which could encourage vacationers to opt for a domestic vacation over one to Europe.
Perhaps anticipating a strong season this year, homeowners have increased their rates fairly aggressively for 2018. Cape owners are asking 3.1% more than last year, Vineyard rates are actually off slightly, .8%, and Nantucket homes are up as much as 8.9%. It’s worth noting that Vineyard prices rose significantly for the 2017 season, and, combined with a relatively lack luster booking season last year, that might explain Vineyarders’ more conservative pricing for 2018. Conversely, Nantucket owners did not raise prices last year at all, so they seem to be making up for that this year.
We will continue to report on the status of Cape and Islands bookings as the season progresses. And eventually, we’ll take a look at whether pricing set by homeowners held due to continued strong bookings, or whether they were forced to soften rates a bit in order to fill last-minute vacancies.
About WeNeedaVacation.com: Since 1997, WeNeedaVacation.com has been providing an efficient and inexpensive way of matching vacationers and vacation rental homes. The website lists more than 3,500 properties on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket . The WeNeedaVacation.com Vacation Planner also offers extensive information to the 175,000+ vacationers who use our site yearly, including information about beaches, events, dining, activities, and shopping. Our amazing staff collectively has over 100 years of experience as Cape & Islands vacation rental homeowners. We love the Cape and Islands, work hard to promote this special place, and proudly belong to 17 local Chambers of Commerce.