Nerd Alert: Interesting Vacation Rental Stats, Courtesy of Google

by Sarah G on September 16, 2010

in Advice,Inside Inhabit,For Owners,Vacation Rental News

Lately I’ve been doing lots of research on the vacation rental industry to help make Inhabit easy-to-find for vacation-goers. One handy tool I discovered to help me with this is Google Insights, a Webmasters tool that basically shows you trends and stats for what people search for. And let me tell you — not only is this helpful, but it’s addictive!

I first did a search for — you guessed it — vacation rentals. I found out that the top four countries doing searches for “vacation rentals” are: the US, Canada, Iraq and Puerto Rico. Iraq? Yeah, wasn’t expecting that.

Oregon searches for the most vacation rentals

Google Insights- Diagram of regional interest in "vacation rentals"

Next, I limited my search to the United States (above). Turns out, the states performing the most searches for “vacation rentals” are Hawaii and Oregon — at a dead tie — followed by the Carolinas and Georgia.

Once again I was surprised; I quickly assumed that people in Oregon must be trying to escape the rain, looking for vacation rentals in Florida or California. But no– the top vacation rental searches within Oregon are for vacation rentals in Bend and the Oregon Coast.

As I continued my expedition through Google Insights, here are some more interesting stats I came across:

beach vacation rentals popularity in search

Google Insights- Regional interest in "beach vacation rentals"

  • A search for “beach vacation rentals” shows a strong concentration in the South-East, with moderate searches performed in the rest of the country. Top destinations are Destin, FL and Outer Banks, NC (Maybe I’m out of the loop, but I’ve never even heard of these places!)
Searches for ski vacation rentals popularity

Google Insights- Regional interest in "ski vacation rentals"

  • Interestingly, unlike searches for “beach vacation rentals,” searches for “ski vacation rentals” are much more black and white. I guess people fantasize more about warm, sunny beaches than frigid, snowy mountains!
Google Insights Regional Interest in Holiday Rentals

Google Insights- Regional interest in "holiday rentals"

  • Realizing that most of the world calls vacation rentals “holiday rentals,” I did a search for “holiday rentals.” Looks like Australians have embraced the idea of vacation rentals the most, followed by the Irish and Brits.

Now, my quest through Google Insights didn’t end there, but — in order to not bore you with too man nerdy vacation rental stats — my blog post will.

Were you surprised by any of these stats? Or are you curious about any that weren’t mentioned? Comment below!

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  • Jane

    Thx for this post, Sarah and Rebecca. I, too, am a like-minded nerd. Couple comments:

    Who's doing searches for “vacation rentals” in Iraq? Perhaps the US troops there? As you note later in your post, the term “vacation rentals” is a North American term — Europeans would use the term “holiday rentals.” So I imagine it's US troops in Iraq who are using that search term. (And why wouldn't they want a vacation?! Poor guys; they could use a break!)

    Second .. The “top destinations” for beach vacations in the US are Destin, FL, and the Outer Banks? There's something fishy here … I know that there are a jillion listings for vacation rentals in Destin (I don't know about the Outer Banks). The fact that slews of Destin condo owners advertise their places perhaps skew the search results. I mean, if travelers who are seeking a beach vacation rental in the US find in their search a preponderance of listings in Destin, wouldn't it appear that the “most popular” places to vacation on a beach in the US is .. Destin?

    Since I do my own nerd work around beach vacation rentals in Barbados (, I will check out Google Insights .. thanks for introducing me to this, Sarah.


    P.S. Isn't Joan the absolute living end .. ? Smart! Today that woman would be running a major corporation.

  • Rebecca

    I'm curious to see what Sarah says, but your questions definitely got me thinking. I agree it seems a bit unlikely that Destin is the most popular beach vacation destination, but maybe we're just really sheltered? I once heard that Gatlinburg, TN was the top vacation destination in the US (which surprised me, though I now want to go) – maybe this is about demographic splits, and there's a whole world out there we aren't clued into? On the other hand, maybe people who are going to the beach in California, for example, search for something more specific like “San Diego Beach Vacation Rentals”, so they don't show up in our data. Just a thought…

  • Sarah G

    That's funny you bring up the Iraq vacation rental searches, Jane, because after I wrote this post, I planned on researching that a bit more. It very well could be the US troops. But it still seems weird because – as stated – according to Google, the US does the most “vacation rental” searches. Canada does about half as many, and Iraq does about a third as many. Considering the fact that there are 11 mil searches for vacation rentals worldwide each month, it seems unlikely that less than 100,000 US troops are racking up that many searches.

    That said, I was told that Google tries to help people out by providing tools like Google Insights and Google Keywords, but they aren't always super accurate. There must be something else going on here — something else which I shall figure out!

    About the beach destinations, I don't think advertising would skew the results. Google Insights is supposed to show trends in what people search for, so if someone searched for “beach vacation rental” and Destin vacation rental sites showed up, it wouldn't change the fact that the person originally just searched for a “beach vacation rental.” (Hope that makes sense!) Maybe there was a big festival in Destin and the Outer Banks recently that has skewed the results, or they've upped their PR. Who knows…

    More insight into these Google Insights to come!