traffic, and buyers tend to prefer the sites that offer them the widest variety in terms of price and accommodation type. BUYER POWER: MEDIUM Buyer power is medium in the online vacation rental industry. There are alternatives including hotels, hostels, or staying with friends or family. These, however, do not offer the same benefits that a vacation rental would - such as privacy, price, or customization. For example, staying in a hotel could be an alternative, but there is little privacy due to the close proximity to other rooms, the prices are often astronomical, and, other than the number of beds, there is little room for customization. Staying with friends and family is a much more customized experience, but is not always an option that is readily available for travelers. While there are options for vacation travelers, options for staying in relatively private, customized lodgings are more limited. 3
9 SUPPLIER POWER: MEDIUM/DEPENDS Supplier power in the vacation rental industry is usually low. While there are many businesses that allow consumers to lease their own properties on a short-term basis, few exist on a large scale since home-sharing is a new industry. This gives this small number of businesses that offer a rental platform a greater power over the suppliers (those leasing property/rooms). In order to reach the greatest number of people and optimize the chances that their property will be leased, the suppliers rely on companies already operating on a large scale. There are many smaller companies where the supplier power is higher. This is because they are not only less established, they rely on suppliers to fill their portfolio of rentals. Without rentals, the business would fail. Large companies are less impacted by this phenomenon, because the company has an established base of suppliers and the power is spread thinly amongst them.THREAT OF SUBSTITUTES: HIGH The threat of substitutes in the vacation rental industry is high. Rental agencies, hotel services, hostels, and full-service vacation booking agencies are all well-established industries.4Consumers considering short-term vacation rentals might also have the option of staying with family or friends, which is considerably less expensive. Short-term stay options are widely available in other formats as well. There are camping services, bus rentals, and couch sharing options. COMPETITIVE INTENSITY: MEDIUM/HIGH The vacation rental industry provides a unique challenge since it intersects multiple industries. The first of these, home-sharing, has a relatively high level of competitive intensity 4
10 because the model is fairly easy to replicate.5It is important to note that, while there are several options, many of the new home-sharing businesses have not established notable scale. The second industry, accommodation booking through third party services, is an older
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