The Spring Break Impact on Short Term Rentals

Together with Guesty, Lighthouse has analyzed the US Vacation Rental Market for Spring Break 2019.

Spring Break has officially arrived and students begin to flood all over the US to make the most of their holidays. Together with Guesty, Lighthouse has analyzed the US Vacation Rental Market for Spring Break 2019.  As vacation rental prices skyrocket at this time of year, property managers must price their listings correctly to ensure that they are optimizing their revenue.

Ski, sun and Spring Training seem to be the clear factors resulting in increased prices during Spring Break. We have taken a look at the data to see where there has been the highest percentage increase at this time of year.


When it comes to Spring Break, nothing beats a ski trip. Big Sky took the lead with the average daily rate throughout March costing $691. As the February frost begins to clear and the days get longer and sunnier, Big Sky has become the go-to destination and has been coined the “Biggest Skiing in America”. The combination of perfect skiing conditions and the Spring Break apre-ski scene makes it the perfect destination, with vacation rental prices increasing a whopping 97%. However, it must be noted that Spring Break falls during peak season for US ski resorts which may contribute to its high prices.

Another ski resort, Winter Park, Colorado, was also in the top 15 most costly vacation rental destinations in March 2018. Winter Park came in fifth place as spring breakers also looked away from the typical beach setting, changing their mindset from ‘sand’ to ‘snow’, with prices increasing 49% above the annual average daily rate.


As spring breakers look to soak up the sun, surf and sand, it is no surprise that Florida has 6 spots with the highest ADRs, coming in second (Siesta Key), third (Cocoa Beach) and fourth (Marco Island). As spring breakers attempt to escape the colder climates, Florida’s plethora of attractions draws in crowds of partygoers from all over the US. Cocoa Beach has the highest percentage increase, 118%, as the East Coast’s Surf capital offers some of Florida’s best surfing waves alongside an array of activities for any spring breaker. The sparkling gulf coast waters and spectacular sunsets are not to be missed in Siesta Key and Marco Island, providing revelers with ample sea, sun and sand.


Scottsdale, Arizona, took sixth place with the second highest percentage increase, 98%, as spring breakers head down south, costing them an average of $387. There’s something for everyone in the desert town and as temperatures continue to rise when many destinations are in the midst of winter, spring breakers look to Arizona to get a headstart on their tans. A further reason for the high increase in price is Spring Training and the Cactus League. 15 of the largest baseball teams head to Arizona, resulting in crowds of keen baseball fans that are eager to watch preseason games.

Tempe’s vacation rental prices had the 4th highest percentage increase, increasing 66% with nightly rates of $232. Tempe, Arizona, is another Spring Break hub for devoted sport fans as they look to squeeze in as many Cactus League baseball games as possible and see how their favorite athletes are shaping up for the upcoming season.

The increase in prices for Spring Training demonstrates the impact that sporting events have on the vacation rental market. Large events, such as Spring Training and the Super Bowl, attract crowds of people looking for places to stay and it is essential that property managers understand the market.

During times of high demand, property managers are faced with the challenge of how to price their listings and Spring Break provides excellent opportunities for property managers. Throughout the year, month and, even, week there will be a fluctuating demand for vacation rental properties. Property managers must monitor their vacation rental market prices, occupancy and trends to maximize their revenue.


How Spring Break was defined: Data was extracted from March 2018 short-term rental pricing across all US cities, with March chosen as the month to analyze after reviewing North American university calendars, finding that for the majority of US universities, Spring Break most commonly starts and ends within the month of March.

Source: U.S. data from Lighthouse, short-term rental data provider, based on March 2018 average daily rates (ADRs) plus all fees (service, cleaning, etc) in each city. Percentage increases provided based on the 2018 annual average daily rate in each city.

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