Pandemic drives higher rental prices in Northwest Florida

Okaloosa County

DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Rental companies say demand is greater than ever for vacation properties on the Emerald Coast. With coronavirus still running amuck, more money and time are having to go into every guest reservation.

Ryan Arnold with Salt Life vacation rentals said they have raised rates for this year to combat increasing cleaning and maintenance costs.

“I think supply and demand is driving everything right now,” said Arnold. “Shortages on supplies and materials across every aspect of this industry is affecting everybody and everything.”

Another rental company RealJoy vacations said 2021 was a record year for bookings and 2022 demand is already pacing ahead. RealJoy says nightly rates across the board are up a couple of hundred dollars this year.

One customer of the Hidden Dunes resort says she will be looking elsewhere for her summer getaway after her vacation condo came out to $6,500 dollars for a week’s stay, rising from $4,000 last year and just $3,000 in 2020.

January is the biggest month for bookings. Arnold says if you are wanting for a fourth of July vacation, you need to be looking now.

“I think six months out you still have options out there, but inside 6 months you are losing options every single day,” said Arnold.

Both Salt life and RealJoy say the best advice to consumers is to book early and make your vacation dates flexible to find the best deal. Just like flights and uber rides, the longer you wait the more expensive they are.

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