Casa AmoreThe rapidly evolving vacation rental market, according to new research by PhoCusWright, will impact online agencies, hotels and online travelers. A new study to be released January 15, the  “Vacation Rental Marketplace: Poised for Change,” says the vacation rental marketplace is gearing up to go after new business opportunities, at the expense of online agencies and hotels.

“This very fragmented frontier of lodging is poised to be the next major online growth opportunity,” the research firm says. “Hundreds of millions in venture capital have flowed into the category in recent years, and new research from PhoCusWright reveals why. Vacation rentals represent a rich landscape of property management companies and individual homeowners with low online penetration but plenty of ambition. Say goodbye to one-week minimum stays, hefty deposits and BYOB (“bring your own bedsheets”). Today’s innovative vacation rental players, no longer content with their $24 billion market, are starting to think, market and distribute like hotels. And several new technologies and online services have emerged to turn that ambition into bona fide business.”

PhoCusWright says its research presents the first comprehensive sizing and analysis of the complex, fragmented, often overlooked, and usually underestimated vacation rental market. The new study delivers sweeping analysis of the more than $24 billion vacation rental market. This soon-to-be-released report provides detailed sizing and assessment of key vacation rental categories and booking channels, and takes an in-depth look at the key players who make the market: property management companies, vacation homeowners, and vacation rental guests (consumers).

The study notes that just 12 percent of vacation rentals were booked online in 2007, but this will change significantly as vacation rentals challenge traditional hotels and resorts for the leisure consumer. “Online players and vacation rental management companies are investing in online distribution and technology as the first step in the competition,” PhoCusWright says.