Have you ever wanted to spend your vacay above the canopy in a historic fire tower in Idaho ($200/night)? How about working from a flying saucer in the English countryside ($235/night)? Better yet, beating the summer heat in a renovated luxury missile silo in Roswell, NM ($875/night)? Well according to Airbnb there are now more than 170,000 unique accommodation options, which short of any better categorical term fall under the label of OMG (oh my god!) vacation rentals.
The popularity of original and whimsical vacation rentals has become so immense that the category has become a leading marketing pillar of the vacation rental business. AirBnB’s recent $7M SuperBowl commercial featured a whimsical terrestrial yellow submarine designed to highlight the skyrocketing OMG category. In fact, the category is now featured first on its list of 54 vacation rental types.
At the end of 2020, the number of guests seeking unique stays more than doubled between the first months of that year and the same period in 2018. Airbnb said searches for unexpected and unique spaces like shepherd’s huts, windmills and tiny houses increased by nearly 70% between 2021 and 2022. Some of the most booked listings of all time, across the world, were domes, RVs, treehouses and yurts.
The demand for OMG vacation rentals is so high, that in 2022 AirBNB created a $10M OMG grant program to award 100 individuals $100,000 “to build the craziest places on earth”. And the recipients didn’t disappoint. The winners of the contest included a six ton Idaho Potato Hotel, a tricked out double decker bus, and yes, that famous yellow submarine.
As wild as some of these concepts are, the AirBnB data speaks to an exploding demand for destination stays with character, originality, and one-of-a-kind experience.
Searches have exploded by a whopping 1000% compared to 2019.
- Yurts (1,701%)
- Islands (1,668%)
- Huts (1,379%)
- Earth houses (1,285%)
- Barns (1,068%)
- Farm stays (1,055%)
- Houseboats (1,015%)
- Tiny homes (791%)
So what exactly is behind the demand for OMG architecture? Well there’s no one particular answer, but it is clear that the dwelling itself has become as much a part of a destination vacation as the location.
With pent up demand lingering from the pandemic, the idea of an original and distinctive destination is scratching the itch of our wanderlust itch. And fueled by the propellant of social media ready vacation pics, it becomes all the more enticing to show you’ve shattered the ceiling of the cooped up pandemic lifestyle with something that turns heads. Or to quote Cyndi Lauper, “girls [and everyone else, for that matter] just want to have fun.”
According to experts, the trend is not going away anytime soon. A recent Airbnb survey showed that 84 percent of respondents were open to exploring unique and remote lodgings for a future trip, with cabins, barns, and treehouses ranking at the top of the list. Other categories on the rise include eco-friendly stays and wellness vacations.
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