Demand for luxury accommodation, especially in Sydney, has almost doubled since 2007 and the supply of traditional hotels has not kept pace, according to Tourism Research Australia.
This has seen holiday-makers turn to short-term rental sites that give them the chance to live in private homes offering ocean views, luxury fittings and extras such as a butler or chef.
“The way we holiday has become a lot more experience-based. And many people simply want the experience of living in a magnificent home for a while,” said Matthew Fleming, director of contemporary- hotels.com.au.
Young urban professionals had been one of the main drivers of the trend, he added.
“Even when they earn decent money, many young people choose not to spend it on real estate purchases, but on experiences. One of them is to see what it is like to live in luxury first-hand, maybe just for two or three nights.”
Palm Beach has been a prime target for such holiday-makers, who often come from other parts of Sydney to get a glimpse of what living in this prized suburb is like.
Katy Young, guest relations manager for a string of luxury holiday homes in the region, said it was easy to see the appeal. “Who wouldn’t want to live in a beautiful house?” she said.
One of her most popular rental properties is an eight-bedroom house with views stretching across the Palm Beach peninsula.
“People like it because you become part of the view,” Ms Young said. “You can see the ocean from every room and you have a bird’s eye view of the beach.”
But it doesn’t come cheap.
Guests must stay a minimum of seven nights and fork out nearly $3930 per night. That’s $27,500 per week.
Tourists have to pay even more if they want a luxury stay in other tourist hot spots like Queensland’s Whitsundays coast.
Aqua, a five-bedroom resort-style home on an entire headland opposite a private beach, rents out for $7000 a night.
The minimum stay period is also seven days. The rental bond is more than $20,000.
Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Carol Giuseppi said owners can charge such high rates because the supply of luxury holiday homes has changed little in the last decade, despite a bump in the number of high-end visitors from overseas, especially China. “Rates will become more competitive when supply begins catching up with demand,” Ms Giuseppi said.
Contemporary Hotels Luxe Houses