What a year… Obama for president, the collapse of the financial industry and an unknown future for U.S. automakers. 2008 was chalk full of headlines with the vacation rental industry carving out its own “major news.” Based on an extremely unscientific poll, FlipKey has amassed the Top 10 Vacation Rental Highlights of 2008.
#10: FlipKey launches the industry’s first independent guest review serviceamassing the industry’s largest collection of verified vacation home rental guest reviews to promote the advantages of the vacation rental experience.
#9: VRMA overhauls board of directors, including the introduction of the industry’s first supplier representation (Kyle Buehner, Navis Technologies) in an effort to improve the market awareness, impact and membership growth.
#8: PhocusWright conducts the first formal, independent, industry study on the $24B vacation rental market highlighting that vacation rentals are emerging as a mainstream lodging category
#7: Orbitz begins promoting vacation rentalson Orbitz.com and Away.com through partnerships with Zonder and Vast, respectively.
#6: Discover Vacation Homes is launched,introducing the first dedicated public relations effort to promote the advantages of vacation rentals and professional managers.
#5: Industry addresses consumer confidence in vacation rentals with several companies introducing new vacation rental insurance products, the introduction of manager only search portals (e.g. ClearStay.com and VacationRoost) and additional PR efforts to educate consumers on the safety and advantages of vacation rentals.
#4: Instant Software announces over $1B in online reservations were executed through its ISILink global distribution system (GDS), highlighting the migration of vacation rental reservations from call centers to the desktop.
#3: Large RBO website raises $400M, underscoring the growing popularity and growth potential of the vacation rental industry.
#2: Vacation rentals hit mainstream press with the WSJ, New York Times, USAToday and several other national publications featuring articles on the vacation home rental industry.
#1: TripAdvisor takes a majority stake in FlipKey and announces it will begin promoting vacation rentals to TripAdvisor Media Group’s 24M monthly visitors in 2009.