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Tropical dreams

Hawaii rentals net the most page views on TripAdvisor but lag in actual inquiries

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 1:42 a.m. HST, May 30, 2011

Hawaii is the No. 1 market in terms of page views on TripAdvisor's rental vacation site, but trails other U.S. destinations when it comes to summer inquiries or leads.

Vacation dreamin’

Top 10 U.S. destinations for summer vacation rental inquiries in 2011:
1. Myrtle Beach, S.C.
2. Kissimmee, Fla.
3. Miami Beach, Fla.
4. San Diego
5. Destin, Fla.
6. San Francisco
7. Ocean City, Md.
8. Virginia Beach, Va.
9. Panama City Beach, Fla.
10. Honolulu

Top Hawaii destinations for summer vacation rental inquiries in 2011: 1. Honolulu (10th overall in U.S.)
2. Lahaina (22nd)
3. Kihei (26th)
4. Kailua-Kona (36th)
5. Poipu (42nd)
Source: TripAdvisor

Honolulu was the 10th top U.S. destination for summer vacation rental inquiries in 2011, according to new TripAdvisor research. It ranked behind Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Kissimmee, Fla.; Miami Beach, Fla.; San Diego; Destin, Fla.; San Francisco; Ocean City, Md.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Panama City Beach, Fla.

None of the neighbor island rental vacation spots made Trip-Advisor's top 10 list. Lahaina, a popular Maui vacation rental spot, ranked No. 22, and Kihei ranked No. 26. Hawaii Island's Kailua-Kona was the 36th-ranked U.S. vacation rental spot on TripAdvisor, while Kauai's Poipu came in at No. 42.

"When people are looking at individual properties, they are more looking at Hawaii than any other rental market," said Hank Hudepohl, director of vacation rentals at TripAdvisor, whose branded booking and review sites make up the largest travel community in the world. "It's a destination that attracts people who are dreaming about vacations."

While there is plenty of demand for Hawaii as evidenced by its high page views, the higher costs and greater distance associated with the destination could be why its summer rental vacation inquiries lag, Hudepohl said.

Also, summer is not the peak vacation rental time for Hawaii, he said.

"Hawaii is a year-round market place, but we do see increased interest in the December time frame and for New Year's," Hudepohl said. "Rental rates increase during that time as well."

Top visitor supplier markets for TripAdvisor's Hawaii vacation rentals are as far away as Los Angeles; Seattle; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Calgary, Alberta, Canada; San Francisco; Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Sydney, Australia; New York; San Diego; Portland, Ore.; and Phoenix.

The average weekly cost of a Hawaii vacation rental on Trip­Advisor is $2,313 compared to $1,066 per week in Orlando, Fla., another major all-season rental market, he said.

"The Outer Banks in North Carolina and Massachusetts's Cape Cod can be quite pricey, too; however, when it comes to Hawaii airfare also is a consideration," Hudepohl said.

Luckily, dreaming is free, he said.

"There's an aspirational quality to any destination in Hawaii," Hudepohl said. "Maybe that's a trip that they'll take in five years or the honeymoon that they'll take in two years."

While Hawaii might not be Trip­Advisor's top summer vacation rental booking market, it's tops in terms of inventory and the qualities that travelers seek, he said.

"We now offer 4,500 rental properties in Hawaii and we've seen inquiries on these grow by as much as 78 percent," he said, adding that the growth reflects TripAdvisor's gains in market penetration as well as consumer demand.

Hawaii vacation rental rates range from $50 a night for the Bunk House Hostel in Wailua-Kapaa, Kauai, or a yurt studio with an incinerating toilet at Hawaiian Journeys on Hawaii Island, to $10,000 and up per night for the eight-bedroom, nine-bathroom Alii Kailua Estate at Kailua Beach on Oahu.

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