The seasonal rental market includes platforms for renting accommodation for a short period, usually between individuals. According to French law, a seasonal rental is considered to be "the rental of a building contracted for a maximum and non-renewable period of ninety consecutive days". This includes furnished accommodation, villas, apartments, rooms, bungalows and caravans.
The European and American seasonal rental market is estimated at nearly 50 billion dollars. The seasonal rental market is booming in France, it is expected to reach 101 billion euros in 2018, which represents a 20% growth compared to 2016. The market share of private rental will account for 19% of the accommodation market in 2018.
The seasonal rental market is characterised by a large number of operators and a high degree of competition. The market was originally dominated by estate agents, who were responsible for all aspects, but their market share has fallen since 2010. In this case, specialised operators, belonging to the sharing economy, like AirBnB, have entered the market and are multiplying, intensifying competition. These new operators allow the management of seasonal rentals from individuals to individuals, without agency fees, which normally amount to 15-20% of the rent.
Seasonal rental operators rely heavily on the Web 2.0 and social networks. The new companies have succeeded in penetrating the market by offering an innovative mode of distribution: from private individuals to other types of individuals, user-friendly, source of meetings, and at more advantageous prices, with new and varied types of accommodation. The growth of the various brands has been driven by the need to offer new and innovative types of accommodation. The growth of the various operators is achieved through international expansion, such as AirBnB, and also through the acquisition of organisations presenting a complementary offer, such as Homelidays, which acquired HomeAway, which in turn was acquired by Abritel.
The main issue in the seasonal rental sector is still regulation, which is particularly restrictive in terms of subletting. The weak point of the new specialized sites is that they do not offer any guarantee. Faced with this risk, some sites have entered into an agreement with Europe Assistance to consolidate their services. Moreover, the new specialized sites are prone to abuse as the supposed seasonal rentals become long-term rentals, a source of undeclared income for the owners, or even tenants who sublet without the owner's agreement.
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