DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you are keen on making summer travel plans, you may not be lucky if it is a vacation home rental.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, short-term rentals have increased and they are even hotter this summer.
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A three-hour drive from DFW, Broken Bow, Oklahoma is the second fastest growing travel destination on VRBO. And while it may have scenic views and activities galore, what it doesn’t have is the accommodation available.
âDemand has definitely been off the charts,â said real estate agent Monica Maynard Wood, who owns two properties in Broken Bow. She said the occupancy rate over the past two years has gone from around 50 percent to 95 percent.
âThey have now been exposed to a different kind of travel,â she said. âThey have now seen how easy it can be to get in a car and go somewhere. It’s a bit difficult to come back.
The trend started just as COVID-19 made it.
Average length of stay for rentals has jumped 58% during the pandemic, according to an industry data company.
Broken Bow real estate agent and owner Kelly Viehbeck said she learned the hard way to cancel dates so they can use their own home.
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âWe made this mistake last year. We left, and before we knew it, our schedule had been full for months. And so we were locked out and we couldn’t go back, âshe said.
Both owners said demand drove prices up.
âI would say for sure that we have probably increased by 25%, 25, 30%,â Viehbeck said.
And they don’t see it slowing down.
âI think it’s really changed, and I don’t see it backing down,â Maynard Wood said.
So while you might be too late for a rental this summer, experts have said their advice is to look at your schedule now.
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âStart planning your fall vacation now, or even further afield, with spring break next year in mind,â Viehbeck said. “Just go online and see what’s available now and book it so you can get in.”