March 2020

We all know that our region gets a huge number of tourists. Nothing new there.  However it’s interesting to see some of the details.

The University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management  have recently released a report on the impact that the vacation rental industry has on the Florida economy.  Although the report only covers Florida it gives an indication of what is happening along the Northern Gulf Coast as a whole.

Of course many visitors stay in hotels and resorts which contribute to the employment figures and of course to bed taxes and sales taxes.  However we do have a very mature vacation rental sector. This include all the condos, houses and apartments. Something that we’re very used to along our piece of coast.

Families have been visiting the area for generations and staying often in the same property year after year. This sector also include the seasonal snowbirds. It appears that vacation rental customers tend to stay longer than those who go to hotels and resorts, with stays of 30 days or more.  They also spend more money, on average $1000 per person.

Traditionally renters dealt with the vacation rental companies, known as property management companies who handled virtually every part of the rental from reservations services to housekeeping, property maintenance and security.  In recent years we’ve seen this expand to VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner), companies like HomeAway and the current hot ticket – AirBnB.  This later concept started off as people who rented out a spare room in their home to today’s giant that rents everything from rooms to whole houses. It’s grown into a world wide phenomena.

The whole long term vacation rental industry in Florida provides more than 100,000 jobs.

According to the Rosen College’s report, what they call the ripple effect has a mighty contribution to our state’s economy.

In 2018, in the main tourism states, vacation rentals contributed $27.4 billion in sales.  That’s $16.6 billion in direct sales and an additional $10.8 billion in what are termed indirect spending.  That $16.6 billion of direct spending translates to 18.7% of the total opening of the Florida tourist industry.  That in turn amounts to nearly $46 million per day. This supports 115,000 jobs with one Jobe being created for every $144.181 spent. Apparently that’s 312 jobs statewide very day, 13 jobs every hour and one job every 5 minutes!

Just to add to the mind boggling statistics the people staying in vacation rentals in Florida during 2018 added up to 14,233,274 or 11.2% of the 127 million tourists who visited Florida in 2018.  These visitors spend $1.9 million every hour or nearly $32,000 per minute.

Impressive figures certainly and just shows how vital this sector is to our area.