Published in partnership with AllTheRooms

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The vacation rental industry is booming — with the growth of companies like Airbnb, the hotel market loses somewhere around $450 million in direct revenue to vacation rental sites every year. And while there have been issues with Airbnb Paris and other cities, the impact has mostly been positive. Unlike hotels, vacation rentals are not concentrated in particular areas, so smaller neighborhoods and businesses are finally seeing tourist dollars. Not to mention, people who stay in Airbnbs spend twice as much on their vacation, and 45% of that is spent in the area they stay in.

Data from 2018 confirms that people around the world are eager to book vacation rentals, and the demand has had a significant impact on the market. When looking at cities that have had the sharpest increase in vacation rental profits, the last two years have revealed the role of large global events. The 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang saw its host city, Gangneung, receive a 2,175% increase in Airbnb vacation rentals in 2017. Meanwhile, with 2018 came the World Cup, which had similar effects on the vacation rental sphere. Based on unique data insights from AllTheRooms, here are the top 10 cities with the biggest growth in the vacation rental market in 2018:

1.   Saransk

To little surprise, the cities that saw the most growth in the vacation rental market were cities hosting FIFA World Cup games in Russia — specifically, cities that aren’t typical Russian tourist destinations. Places like Moscow have already seen their influx of rentals, but Saransk is a beautiful city at the joining of the Insar and Saranka Rivers, and saw nearly a 550% revenue growth increase in 2018.

2.   Kuehlungsborn (Kühlungsborn)

The only city in the top five not to be a World Cup host, Kuehlungsborn is a seaside resort city in Germany. Located on the Baltic Sea, it has become a popular summer vacation spot for Germans, Danes, and Brits. While there was a steep drop off from ranks 1 and 2, Kuehlungsborn still saw a significant 28% increase last year.

3.   Samara

Another riverfront Russian town, Samara didn’t quite have the same boom as Saransk because it’s a significantly larger city. However, not only did Samara host six World Cup matches, it’s also always been a transportation hub for rail passengers traveling to Russia, so many people stopover here on their way to other cities.

4.   Nizhny Novgorod

Russia’s fifth largest city, “Nizhny” is often affectionately called “Russia’s Third Capital”. The nickname is a high compliment, as it places Nizhny on the same cultural tier as Moscow and St Petersburg. The Nizhny Novgorod Stadium hosted six games as well, including an exciting quarter-final between Uruguay and the eventual champions France.

5.   Rostov-on-Don

Besides the World Cup, travelers usually go to Rostov to experience Cossack culture or to follow the Don River to some of the most pleasant natural areas in Russia. Rostov’s vacation rentals brought in over $12 million USD in revenue in 2018, compared to 2017 when it was under $1 million USD.

6.   Volgograd

World War II history buffs will know Volgograd as Stalingrad, the location of the Battle of Stalingrad, which remains one of the largest and bloodiest battles in the history of warfare. Nowadays, the grand city is a tourist hub because of the sandy beaches of the Volga River, museums, and The Motherland Calls — a statue erected for the heroes of WWII that stands twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. Volgograd was another World Cup host city, and the last to appear on this list.

7.  Ebeltoft

The quaint Danish town of Ebeltoft has all the ingredients of becoming a very successful vacation destination. The city has long beaches, old timber architecture on cobblestone streets, and is surrounded by a new national park. It is also rather close to Aarhus, a much larger city with an airport, making Ebeltoft an easy to get to.

8.   Enshi City

Enshi City in China has a population of some 780,000 people, but its increase in popularity is owed to the picturesque nature in the surrounding area rather than the city itself. The region has a wealth of outdoor destinations including rivers, caves, and a canyon that is so dramatic it earned the name Grand Canyon. Also, outside of Enshi is a free-floating bridge that got millions of shares on social media, drawing adventure-hungry travelers.

9.  Katowice

Another city formerly named after Stalin, Katowice is now a part of Poland and saw a vacation rental revenue increase of about $4 million USD in 2018. Katowice incorporates a sizable metro area where a large number and variety of rental homes can thrive.

10. Huizhou

The largest city to crack the top 10, Huizhou is a beautiful southern Chinese city on the Pearl River Delta, which opens up to the South China Sea. It’s an amazing place to visit, boasting phenomenal access to both oceans and mountains, with other natural features like hot springs nearby too. Tourists also go crazy for Huizhou’s ancient pagodas. The city made headlines in 2018 as the construction of a fully automatic railroad (no drivers and passenger assistance will be provided by robots) broke ground.

Author: Zack Davisson

Zack is a recovering technical recruiter who traded in his suit and tie in Silicon Valley for salsa music and a passion for writing in Medellin, Colombia. When not writing for AllTheRooms you can find Zack with his nose in a book, puttering around nature, or getting ultra-competitive while watching Jeopardy.

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