The Truth About Outer Banks Vacation Rentals: When to Book Your OBX Vacation

Last week I gave a quick introduction to a new blog series - The Truth About Outer Banks Vacation Rentals - where I'm going to attempt to highlight some of the nuances of the OBX vacation rental industry.

As I mentioned in that post, I've been on both sides of the check-in desk; I've rented a number of Outer Banks vacation rental homes, and I've now had the pleasure of working at Seaside Vacations for about four years. With an understanding of both perspectives, my goal is to to pull back the curtain and try to give you an insider perspective of the OBX vacation rental industry.

How do we make the magic happen, and why doesn’t the magic always happen? Let’s dissect it and figure it out together. Please join in the discussion. Have any topics or questions you’d like me to cover? Feel free to leave a comment below, and I’ll be happy to address them.

Let's start this fact-finding journey with a look at some data that could help you determine when is the best time book your Outer Banks vacation.

As with most things in life, timing is everything. Vacations are difficult to plan, especially with large groups of people with a lot of particular interests and needs. I need this week, how about this house, let's go here, definitely not there, don't forget Bobby can't be in the same room as know how it is...and so do we. :)

If you are completely flexible with your plans, than timing is much less important. Book when you're ready to come and see what's available. However, the "fly by the seat of your pants" planning strategy doesn't work for most OBX vacation planners.

Most groups need to fit into a specific planning strategy with a particular week, particular town, particular location, and possibly a particular house. The more "particulars" you have in your planning strategy, the more crucial timing becomes... especially for the busy summer months.

As you may guess, it all depends on when you want to come and where you want to stay.

This data is gathered from our reservations over the past four+ years and averaged to give you a general understanding of the "booking window" or "lead time" for reservations based on the various categories.

Basically, how far in advance do guests book oceanfront homes, or 10 bedroom homes, or homes in Southern Shores, etc.Please keep in mind, these are averages so there is some wiggle room, but this should give you a good idea of how early you should consider booking to make sure you get everything you need from your vacation.Let's take a peak, shall we?

Average Lead Days: This first graph demonstrates the Average Lead Days over the past few years. It is interesting to note that the lead days have not fluctuated too much over the years. We see an expected dip in 2008 with some of the economic concerns, but the lead time has regained that ground. And it is interesting to note that we are seeing a bit of a "break out" for 2012 at the end of the graph. This trend seems to indicate that it is wise to book your 2012 OBX getaway early rather than waiting for the last minute.

Rentals: Average Lead Days[ad Days by Town:  Each town varies slightly, but no big surprises.    Town            Days Southern Shores            156 Nags Head            152 Corolla            136 Kitty Hawk            135 Kill Devil Hills            133 Duck            128 Lead Days by Property Location:  Here's a link to get specific definitions of the locations. As you may guess, homes on the water (ocean or sound) book first.   Property Location            Days Oceanfront            162 Soundfront            141 Semi-oceanfront            139 "Between the Roads"            134 Oceanside            129 Soundside            115 Fronts Beach Road            115 Lead Days by Number of Bedrooms:  It is interesting to see the Lead Days jump for 9 bedrooms. This seems like a "sweet spot" for reservations. If you're hunting for a 9 bedroom home, you may want to get out in front of the pack to have more choices.  Bedrooms            Days 10            186 9            236 8            176 7            166 6            150 5            137 4            130 3            134 2            130 1             91

Lead Days by Occupancy of Home:  Similar to the 9 bedrooms in the above data, it is interesting to see homes with occupancy at 21 people jump in the Lead Days. This seems like another "sweet spot" to make note of if you are trying to find a house for a group of 21.  Occupancy            Days 30            204 29            243 24            198 23            166 22            185 21            316 20            155 19            189 18            171 17            196 16            141 15            134 14            145 13            125 12            146 11            143 10            129 9            136 8            133 7            161 6            127 4             97 2            134 Lead Days by Nights of Stay:  With this data set , keep in mind that during the summer season a 7 day stay is required, and as a result, the Lead Days around that "magic number" are altered by this requirement. For example, a stay of 8 days has fewer Lead Days because they are harder to find and must wait until the last minute.    Nights of Stay            Days 14            218 13            199 12            137 11            28 10            146  9            81  8            60  7            143  6            38  5            41  4            36  3            34  2            20  1            12

Lead Days by Stay Value:   This data set is interesting because there isn't a large discrepancy between most of the Lead Days, regardless of stay value. Just a steady decline in Lead Days as the Stay Value decreases, which seems to be intuitive.   Stay Value Days  22,000 332  21,000 352  20,000 209  19,000 325  18,000 191  17,000 155  16,000 181  15,000 241  13,000 185  12,000 201  11,000 219  10,000 221  9,000 221  8,000 215  7,000 206  6,000 193  5,000 190  4,000 160  3,000 144  2,000 131  1,000  61

Monday, February 20, 2012

Seaside Showcase

It all starts with a luxurious Seaside vacation home or condo in one of the world’s most beautiful beachside communities.