A note from Todd Brooks at Island Getaway
The first half numbers indicate that the vacation rental industry on Hilton Head will see a much welcomed increase in business in 2010 vs. 2009. The Spring season numbers held in check, but the Summer has shown a double digit increase, with July shaping up to be record numbers. The tragedy in the Gulf has exposed Hilton Head to thousands of new visitors. The Island’s overall tourism numbers will see the impact of this new exposure for years to come. We have yet to see what kind of retention rate we will have with first time visitors and if they will put Hilton Head in a rotation with their other annual vacation destinations, or even make it a permanent one. Nonetheless, it has our company’s inventory at capacity for every week in July. One thing I have noticed about the displaced vacationers from the Gulf, is that they are primarily looking for oceanfront accommodations. The majority of inventory in the Gulf Coast region consists of oceanfront condos, and people are creatures of habit.
Demand for High End Rentals exceeds Supply
The pendulum is slowly swinging back into our favor as far as having to give discounts to secure bookings. In 2009, it didn’t matter what size property or what location, the potential renter felt “entitled” to some sort of discount. With
the supply exceeding demand, they weren’t too far off. This Summer, we have seen little compromising of rates and occupancy levels are back to pre-recession years. People are willing to spend money, but they want to feel that they are getting value and a good product. A good barometer of this is the amount of bookings that are done directly through property owners on owner direct websites. We have seen the amount of these diminish internally, and they usually involve the more economy priced rentals. Currently, our demand for high-end homes and villas dramatically exceeds our supply, and in particular Sea Pines.
As you are all aware, the tourism numbers drop dramatically after Labor Day. Advance bookings for the fall mirror the overall positive trend, with September rentals leading the way.
Let’s hope we can carry this momentum in 2011.
Todd Brooks, firstname.lastname@example.org
Island Getaway Rentals