There’s no question that Airbnb revolutionized the travel industry. Making it more accessible to be able to rent out a full home for your vacations instead of just a hotel room. According to data collected by the Despegar group, one of Latin America’s most important online travel agencies, the demand for vacation homes has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Their numbers indicate that at the end of 2021 the demand for vacation homes went up 40%. Granted the number is competing directly with what we saw in 2020 where travel numbers were at record lows.
The rise in the demand for vacation homes also seems to have brought with it an increase in the amount of fraudulent activity regarding these rentals. With fake ads popping left and right. At least that is what the President of the Hotels’ Association of Cancun seems to think. President Jesus Almageur recently addressed the issue of fraudulent vacation homes being listed for rent.
“There’s a new breed of tourist scammers that has surfaced. They offer fake rentals particularly in the residential sector,” Almageur stated.
“We know that there are efforts being made by state and federal authorities, we could help out as well.”
Are Vacation Rental Scams Really On The Rise?
Recently, we published an article about travel scams for tourists in the area seeing a downward trend. In that piece, according to data from the Vacation club association of Quintana Roo their numbers suggested that scams were on the decline. They based those claims on the fact that their office had seen a drastic drop in the numbers of calls that it received from scam victims. The vacation club association claims that they are only getting around 2 calls a week from travelers claiming they had been scammed. Compared to the 4 calls a day that the organization had been receiving beforehand.
The Cancun Hotels’ Association via their President didn’t necessarily provide evidence to support their claims that scams in vacation home rentals were on the rise. This can certainly lead to questions about the legitimacy of the claims. Especially when they are coming from the industry that stands more to lose from this rise in the demand for vacation homes. The good news for both parties is that in the coming Easter break domestic and foreign tourists are looking to flock to the Riviera Maya area. With both Cancun, and Playa del Carmen reporting that lodging options are almost fully booked for the week of April 10th to the 16th.
Digital Travel Agencies Are Set To Continue Offering Vacation Home Options
Despite the potential rise in scams regarding vacation homes Alejandro Calligaris, country manager of Despegar group was quick to mention that the company was going to look to expand its offering of vacation home rentals on their popular sites. Such as, Despegar.com, and Best Day. That’s potentially not news that the Hotels’ association loved to hear. Calligaris mentioned though,
“At the end of 2021 we saw a 40% increase in the interest for temporary home rentals at the regional level (Cancun). It’s a tendency that is clearly on the rise, and as always we are focused on providing our clients with the best options available,” Alejandro Calligari said.
“Our priority is to adapt to the habits of Mexican travelers, as well as tourists that travel to other Latin American countries.”
Staying Safe While Booking Your Vacation
Regardless of whether the number of scams is trending up or down it’s still a good idea to be careful when booking your vacations. Buying only from trusted sellers is essentially the best way to stay safe. Another tip is to flat out ignore suspicious calls that you may get offering packages. Particularly those offering unrealistic prices to a Cancun hotel or vacation home. Sadly, when a price tag seems too good to be true it usually is!
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