Gatlinburg, Tenn., a resort town nestled along the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains, ranked just after the Poconos. Sevierville, Tenn., less than 15 miles from Gatlinburg, ranked first in Vacasa’s list of most popular vacation home spots last year.
During the coronavirus pandemic, vacation home sales boomed in some locations — the Jersey Shore among them — as did vacation rentals once Vacasa said states lifted some safety regulations and people gained more confidence to travel.
“[P]eople were eager to travel and rebooked their vacations at an almost alarming rate,” Vacasa said in its report. It noted that the sharp influx of rental bookings started to compensate for the sharp drop of rental bookings in March and April, when the majority of states temporarily ordered recreational activities shut down.
Even as entertainment venues were allowed to reopen in late spring, many people have opted for outdoor activities, where it is easier to social-distance and lessen the chance of transmitting the coronavirus. Several of the vacation home hubs Vacasa listed are in or near the scenic places and within 2½ hours from a major city.
“In a post-pandemic environment,” according to the report, “we expect nearly all markets to rebound in terms of both rental rates and occupancy.”