Rental homes may be the new way to vacation

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Many people stay in a hotel when they go on a vacation, but others have started to look for less expensive rental homes more fitting for a larger group of people.

Rachel Douglass and her family travel from Southern California to visit Provo at least twice a year to enjoy both summer and winter activities. Douglass said she found a rental home in Provo through Vacation Rentals By Owner, a website for renting vacation homes.

She stayed at Bret Grow’s rental home in Provo and said she had a great experience.

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“The Vacation Rentals By Owner experience was totally different than any vacation we had taken before,” Douglass said in an email. “We never felt invaded by hotel housekeeping, loud guests in hallways, busy parking lots crammed with cars and unnecessary phone calls from the front desk.  It actually felt like a vacation.”

Like Douglass, there is a trend of people wanting to stay at an accommodating rental home for their vacation.

“I have really enjoyed using Vacation Rentals By Owner because of the quality referrals I receive from families who travel to Provo from all over the world,” Brett Grow, an owner of the Provo rental home, said in an email. “These families are looking for a safe, comfortable and fully furnished family atmosphere. Because of Provo’s unique attractions, like the MTC and endless BYU activities, we’ve hosted renters from all over the world. They include successful business people, visiting educators and extended families on longer term trips.”

His house is allowed to rent for a minimum of 30 days based on Provo rules.

Douglass shared her experience staying at Grow’s home.

“Not only were we happier with the spacious and warm accommodations, it was far less expensive than two rooms at any of the hotels we had stayed at previously,” Douglass said. “Because we were renting a real home, we enjoyed many conveniences that make a vacation easier.”

Vacation Rentals By Owner launched more than 15 years ago and is a sister company to HomeAway.com.

HomeAway.com, an online vacation rental marketing website, innovated a new way to provide an online-friendly vacation for travelers.

In 2005, HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples received inspiration for his website as he and his family stayed in various beach homes and found that reserving a beach home was not as easy as reserving a hotel.

According to HomeAway.com, the website has more than 735,000 vacation rental properties throughout 168 countries.

Jon Gray, vice president of HomeAway, is responsible for HomeAway’s North American vacation rental websites, including HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com.

“The best thing about HomeAway is that we provide a tremendous value to our customers,” Gray said in an email. “Like most other successful companies, HomeAway had an aggressive vision and pursued it with passion, focus and determination.”

Most popular vacation destinations from HomeAway.com are around the Florida beaches during the summer and the Rocky Mountains during the winter. However, as vacation rentals continue to grow in awareness, Homeway.com is seeing urban destinations such as Chicago, San Francisco and other major cities gain popularity.

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