Traveler trend showing people prefer peer-to-peer rentals

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One in three travelers now prefer private accommodations and the peer-to-peer rental market is exploding. (KFSN)

One in three travelers now prefer private accommodations and the peer-to-peer rental market is exploding.

"It was about $30 billion, $31 billion in 2016 and we forecast that growing to almost $38 billion by the end of the decade," said Douglas Quinby, Phocuswright Travel Research.

But the industry is also changing-- according to travel researchers, some sites now focus on a more hotel-like experience.

"Things like 24 by 7 check-in, a virtual concierge, daily cleaning," said Quinby.

Even super soft sheets, plush pillows, and other luxury treats-- other sites now target specific demographics.

"There are niche platforms for African American travelers. There are platforms for gay and lesbian travelers," said Quinby.

Stefan Grant got into the niche business after he said he rented a home for a weekend and the neighbors called police alleging a robbery.

"We were trying to figure out what was going on."

Grant said he was angry, but then laughed off the incident, taking a photo with the officer once the mishap was cleared up. After that, Noir BNB was born. He said anyone can use the site, but it has geared toward African American travelers.

"I don't think it's so much of a separating thing as much as it is a, 'You know what? Why not create a platform for people who understand our experience and can, can really cater to that market?'"

Quinby said he sees the value in the niche startups, but there are challenges.

"Are they going to be able to build enough of a marketplace in terms of supply and demand to be really significant businesses?"

No matter what, Quinby said it always comes down to the basics.

"All shoppers, you want more choices, you want more options, you want better prices."

Some options are even free or nearly free when it comes to home rentals. Some, like "Guest to Guest" and home exchange, involve swaps or operate off a points system.

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