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2011 Cape & Islands Rental Season Wrap-up

Contact: Elizabeth Weedon
Phone: (888) 281-8660

September 21, 2011 - Summer vacation rental bookings on the website for the Cape and Islands were up 4.4% over last year and even 2.4% over the pre-recession 2008 summer season. While fall bookings have continued their strong, steady growth over the past 3-4 years, spring bookings, with the exception of Nantucket, have tended to remain relatively weak since 2008.

Nantucket enjoyed the greatest increase in summer bookings this year at nearly 10% better than last year, while the Cape's were up 4.2% and Martha's Vineyard 's up 1.7%. Regionally on the Cape, the Lower Cape benefited most from a summer booking increase of 11% over last year, the Mid-Cape enjoyed a more modest 4.1% increase and the Upper- and Outer Cape were virtually unchanged. Since the pre-recession year of 2008, however, the Upper Cape has emerged with the greatest increase in summer bookings with a 6.9% gain, followed by the Mid-Cape with a 5.3% increase, the Lower Cape with a 2.1% increase, and the Outer Cape with a decrease of 3.4%.

Summer Vacation Rental Bookings from 2007 thru 2011

Once again, the growth in popularity of vacationing in the fall is evidenced with late season booking numbers this year up almost 6% from last year, and a dramatic 29% better than the fall of 2007. The Islands particularly have gained in fall appeal, with Nantucket bookings 33% improved over 2007 and the Vineyard up 35%!

Fall Vacation Rental Bookings from 2007 thru 2011

Where the demand for fall vacations has risen persistently and significantly over the last 4-5 years, spring bookings have been inconsistent and relatively soft. Throughout the region, spring bookings were particularly diminished in the difficult 2009 season, overall off 10% from the previous year (the Cape off 9.6%, the Vineyard off 14.1% and Nantucket off 9.2%). And this spring, only Nantucket bookings were improved over spring of 2007 (8.2%), while the Cape and Vineyard were off 6% and 10.4% respectively.

Spring Vacation Rental Bookings from 2007 thru 2011

This year vs. last year: Although an overall 5.1% gain in bookings over last year is not, in itself, terribly significant, it is encouraging to see that the vacation rental industry on the Cape and Islands has weathered the economic storm that has ensued since 2008. The relatively warm and sunny summers of late have undoubtedly had a positive impact, too, allowing those who rented on the Cape and Islands to enjoy a great vacation experience - which, of course, bodes well for next year as well.

Notable trend: The most popular time to vacation in New England has changed significantly from a generation or two ago when most Americans took vacations of longer duration and primarily during the last 2 weeks of August. But the vast majority of schools resume so much earlier now than in the past, forcing most families to take their vacations before the third week in August. As the high summer season shrinks, vacationers, homeowners and businesses alike are looking for ways to extend the vacation season.

Given the relative appeal of fall vs. spring:

Value-seeking vacationers are opting for fall's diminished crowds, lower rates, drier weather and fewer conflicts with graduations, reunions and other spring events.

Homeowners are only too happy to fill empty rental homes then because, due to the weak economy, they are incented to stretch the rental season in order to provide additional income.

Businesses, as a result, are remaining open longer in the season to satisfy the demand created by the increased numbers of fall tourists.


About WeNeedaVacation: Since 1997, WeNeedaVacation has been providing an efficient and inexpensive way of matching vacationers and vacation rental homeowners. The website lists nearly 4,000 properties on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. The WeNeedaVacation Vacation Planner also offers extensive information to the 175,000+ vacationers who use our site yearly, including information about beaches, events, dining, activities, and shopping. Our amazing staff provides unparalleled guidance to our Cape & Islands vacation rental homeowners. Many of our staff are vacation rental owners themselves, and all work hard to promote this special place. We proudly belong to 17 local Chambers of Commerce.

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Phone: (888) 281-8660