Social media channels have driven a surge in visits to holiday rental sites with numbers more than doubling in the last year.
Research into the online behaviour of three million people by marketing company Hitwise shows a 112% rise in visits to sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway in the last three years.
Those searching on holiday rental sites, Hitwise suggests, are looking for luxury with common search terms including ‘villa’, ‘hot tub’ and ‘log cabin’ and are often re-directed through Facebook or Twitter.
The majority of customers searching for holiday rentals are women aged between 18 and 34, which contrasts with men between the ages of 35 and 44 who were typically searching via hotel aggregators.
Those searching for hotels often used words like ‘cheap’ and ‘deal’ in searches.
Nigel Wilson, managing director at Hitwise, said: “Trends are moving quickly because younger generations are embracing technologies to drive what they want – when, where and how they want it.
“This no longer means bagging the best deal, but embracing the service that most closely meets their needs. Marketers must tune in to channel preference and booking requirements to offer the right people the best holiday.
“The variety of ways in which people arrive at choosing their holiday destination is clearly different depending on the audience. Online behaviour provides important insight into the mindset of audiences travel brands are trying to reach – by challenging expectations and digging that bit deeper, businesses have the power to spot great opportunities to engage in new and unique ways.”
When it came to destination, London was the most the popular destination for hotel searches, whilst Cornwall took the top spot for holiday rental sites.
The growing holiday rentals market is predicted to be worth US$169.7 billion, by 2019, according to the Global Vacation Rental Market report.
In the UK, it has led to regulation of the sharing economy – with the government creating the world’s first kite mark for the industry.