If you enjoyed a brisk business this summer, you’re not alone; a recent report from HomeAway shows a vast majority of owners (86 percent) enjoyed vacation rental bookings that were the same or better than last summer.

Highlighted in HomeAway Vacation Rental Report: Owner Edition, these numbers reflect the niche that vacation rental properties are carving in the travel industry.

Among owners who see summer as peak season, occupancy rates averaged 77 percent – higher than the 70 percent average occupancy rate reported by U.S. hotels (a slight increase over last year).

Can you do it yourself? Survey says…

When you manage your own rental, high occupancy rates are the direct result of your own marketing and management efforts. The HomeAway report highlights that, for the average owner, the time spent isn’t much of a burden. In fact, every hour invested has a pretty high rate of return.

“Prior to renting, vacation rental owners (35 percent) also worry if they can balance managing the home as a rental with a full-time job or family obligations,” HomeAway noted in the report summary. In actuality, however, the average owner spends 8.4 hours each week working on their rental.

With an average weekly rate of $1,778, the report notes that each hour of work is worth approximately $71. “If the owner optimizes the time and effort put into managing their vacation rental, the return on investment is substantial,” observed Brian Sharples, co-founder and chief executive officer of HomeAway.

Reinvesting rental income

HomeAway also found that owners are pretty comfortable with their rates; 95 percent kept their rates the same as last year, and nearly one in four increased their rates, and they’re putting that income to good use.

"How Vacation Rental Owners Use the Income Generated by Renting to Travelers"

While many owners use it to help cover mortgage payments, most owners reinvest their income into upgrades and maintenance.

How did your rental business do this summer?
Tell us about it in the comments section below.