Beach Property Vacation Owner in the Carolina Beach Area? Here’s Trends, Stats, & How to Stand Out Amidst Fierce Competition


As owners operating in the Carolina and Kure Beach area, Carolina Beach Realty recognizes the utmost importance of staying attuned to industry trends. Harnessing data and tracking these trends empowers property owners like us to enhance guest experiences and optimize booking opportunities.

In this context, there are various platforms that provide invaluable global insights pertaining to pricing trends, demand dynamics, and other critical factors. Carolina Beach Realty recommends acquainting oneself with prominent tools such as AirDNA, Beyond Pricing, Hostfully, and AllTheRooms Analytics. Market research reveals that the short-term rental sector reached a valuation of approximately $115 billion in 2020, and it’s projected to surge to $161 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 6.9%.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that we specialize in the beach vacations rental segment, primarily concentrated in the Carolina Beach and Kure Beach market. Amidst the sea of industry insights and resources, it’s easy to overlook the fact that our operations exist within a distinct niche. Some insights don’t align with the dynamics of vacation rental ownership and others might not apply at all.

Take Airbnb, for example. They emphasize the rapid growth of long stays, spanning 30 days or more, driven by the remote work trends arising from the pandemic. In contrast, our beach market operates more like a bustling destination, with an average vacation stay duration of just 3.5 days. These shorter stays still allow travelers to explore the area, partake in activities, and savor their vacation without consuming an excessive amount of precious vacation time.

Conversely, it’s worth noting that Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, has expressed a renewed focus on private room rentals, aligning with the platform’s origins in the AirBed days. Nevertheless, this shift in strategy does not directly apply to our unique beach vacation rental business.

Vacation Rental Industry Trends That (Really) Matter to Us On The Beach

Let’s do something different and quickly dive into some recent stats and trends that really matter to those of us running beach rentals on the beach:

  • Spacious Getaways: Beach vacation rentals are favored for their generous space. Research indicates that travelers who opt for vacation rentals instead of hotels are seeking roomy accommodations. While the average hotel room typically spans around 325 square feet, beach vacation rentals often offer over 1,300 square feet of living space, providing guests with ample room to relax and stretch out during their stay.


  • Desire for Kitchens: Access to a fully equipped kitchen is a significant draw for beach rental guests. A recent study revealed that 64% of short-term renters consider the presence of a kitchen to be a crucial factor in their choice of accommodation. Having a kitchen allows guests to prepare their own meals and enjoy dining with friends and family. Interestingly, privacy also ranks high, with 49% of respondents expressing a strong desire for their own private space.


  • Rural and Natural Retreats: Beach destinations with a focus on rural and natural settings are gaining popularity among travelers. The demand for big-city travel in America appears to be slowing down. Platforms like Vrbo report a 25% year-over-year increase in the number of people searching for beach cabin rentals, with 61% of families displaying a preference for “outdoorsy destinations.” This trend aligns well with the appeal of beach rentals in serene and scenic coastal areas.


  • Changing Guest Preferences: Modern travelers have become more discerning and expect a higher level of service from their beach rental experience. It’s crucial to understand the needs and preferences of today’s travelers, which extend beyond just millennials to include Gen Z. This generation is known for being financially conservative and environmentally conscious, making sustainability and eco-friendly features increasingly relevant in beach rentals.


  • Location Dynamics: When considering beach rentals, it’s important to note that development trends can impact revenue. In the beach rental market, revenue may be influenced by factors such as the presence of new attractions, theme parks, or casinos in the area. It’s worth keeping an eye on these developments as they can potentially affect rental income.


  • Proximity Matters: Proximity to popular beachside towns or city centers remains a critical factor for beach rentals. Whether it’s in or near the downtown area, guests often prioritize rentals that offer easy access to local attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options. When choosing a beach rental property, consider the balance between proximity to these amenities and the number of bedrooms, as it can greatly impact the property’s appeal to potential renters.

On the Beaches, Revenues Are Returning to Normal and Competition is High

Revenues in beach rental markets are gradually returning to levels seen before the post-COVID highs of 2021, marking a transition towards a more predictable and stable revenue pattern in the post-pandemic travel landscape. However, the beach rental market is simultaneously grappling with a significant surge in competition. Over the past two years, there has been a remarkable 50% increase in rental inventory, amplifying the competitive landscape for property owners. This surge in offerings underscores the necessity for property owners to implement effective strategies that set their rentals apart in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Set Your Beach Rental Up for Success With a Modern, Instagram-Worthy Decor

While the allure of scenic beach views and lush coastal surroundings remains timeless. Beach vacationers often seek the cozy ambiance that beach properties are renowned for, making it essential to maintain warm and inviting interiors. However, many beach rental properties in our area carry a dated aesthetic from the 1980s and 1990s, featuring builder-grade cabinets, worn carpets, and old-fashioned wallpaper. The introduction of modern upgrades and contemporary design elements can substantially enhance the overall guest experience, making accommodations more appealing to prospective renters.

Notably, today’s travelers often seek something beyond the ordinary, leaning toward modern, spacious beach rentals that seamlessly blend rustic and modern decor. Such accommodations typically offer a full-fledged kitchen, spa-like amenities, and enjoyable extras like a hot tub, movie room, fire pit, or pool table. When designing a beach rental, several critical factors come into play. Selecting contemporary design concepts and streamlined furniture with fewer adornments or frills can create a sleek and cohesive atmosphere. Thoughtful choices, such as sofas and armchairs with slim legs and textured, minimally patterned fabrics, infuse the space with a sense of lightness.

Incorporating vintage and intricate pieces, especially those created by local artisans that depict the local culture and natural beauty, can add character and charm to your beach rental. These items can help tell a captivating story and evoke an emotional response from your guests, immersing them in the unique charm of the coastal surroundings. Balancing natural and artificial lighting is another key consideration, allowing you to control light and privacy while enhancing the decor with sculptural light fixtures.

Indoor plants, both real and faux, offer a refreshing touch of greenery that enhances the ambiance and adds a sense of serenity to the beach property. In addition to focusing on the interior, don’t forget the outdoor spaces. Balconies, terraces, and porches offer opportunities to extend your interior style to the exterior, creating functional and character-filled outdoor areas.

Furthermore, in a saturated market, it’s imperative to stand out with more than just decor. Beach rental owners should consider adding impressive amenities to create a “wow” factor. Investing in these amenities not only attracts more bookings but also increases revenue. It’s essential to align the amenities with the property’s size.

Boost Guest Experience with Tech

In the realm of beach rentals, it’s not just the decor that calls for a contemporary touch; technology is a vital aspect of the overall guest experience. Younger generations, in particular, have a strong inclination towards technology, and this desire resonates with modern travelers who are accustomed to the efficiency and convenience it brings to various aspects of their lives.

When it comes to entertainment, guests often expect cable channels as a standard amenity. However, consider providing Smart TVs or Roku players as more practical and cost-effective alternatives. These devices enable guests to access their own accounts, saving on cable TV costs as most travelers come prepared with their own streaming subscriptions.

For an elevated guest experience, contemplate offering EV chargers, acknowledging the eco-friendly preferences of Gen Z travelers. Implementing contactless check-in through smart locks, a trend that gained traction during the COVID-19 era, can further enhance guest satisfaction and safety.

We’re Here to Help


The competition in the beach rental market can be quite fierce. However, the art of standing out and delivering exceptional service is not magic; it’s a well-crafted science. To truly enhance the appeal of your beach property, creating a more comfortable, convenient, and memorable experience is paramount. Staying attuned to local trends, adapting where feasible, and heeding the insights and tips mentioned above can be the key to maintaining a consistent flow of bookings and maximizing your property’s revenue potential. If you’re seeking further suggestions or advice on thriving in the vacation rental market, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Carolina Beach Realty. We’re here to support you and help answer any questions you have.