High-end villa rentals and limitless luxury are among the travel trends experts are predicting will grow in 2014.
A high-end, vacation-rental company in Wyoming is an example of a company aiming to tap into both this ski season.
The Clear Creek Group, which rents villas in Wyoming’s Teton County, one of America’s wealthiest counties and home to Jackson Hole, has put together the “Elite Winter Escape.” The package includes private ski guides; handmade, custom skis from the local Igneous factory; beer and whisky tastings from Wyoming brewers and distillers; and private snowmobile tours in the Gros Ventre wilderness, where sightings of big horn sheep, elk, moose and deer are common.
For $5,800 per person, the package can be added to any of the rentals from any of the company’s more than 50-plus properties in the area, which offer over-the-top experiences in and of themselves.
The villas range from one to 10 bedrooms. They include Windswept Ranch, a six-bedroom home offering stunning views of the open Wyoming sky, and the five-bedroom Phillips Ridge, which includes an indoor bowling alley, grotto pool and movie theater.
Clear Creek is also among the growing number of luxury villa rental agencies paying agent commissions, and is just one more example of the nontraditional offerings agents can tap into as wealthy travelers eager to spend vacations with their families look for alternatives to hotels and resorts.
Recent research from PhoCusWright shows U.S. travelers spent $23 billion on vacation rentals in 2012, which amounts to nearly one-fifth of the U.S. lodging market.
In a report last year to the Vacation Rental Managers Association, PhoCusWright estimated the total U.S. vacation rental industry was expected to reach $25.8 billion by 2014.
Expedia, for example, is expanding its offerings this year to include vacation rentals from HomeAway.
Executives like Bobby Gibson, CEO of the agent friendly villa rental company TravelKeys, have long been urging luxury travel agents to tap into the market. After the PhoCusWright report on vacation rentals came out last year, Gibson told me that agencies committed to learning the market “are doing quite well.”