By Vinayak Mahtani, Special to Gulf News

Tourism has changed from being a service industry offering you a flight, a room and some food to offering experiences. It is now more about rejuvenation, adventure, fulfilment, learning new skills and “being more of who you are” than just ticking off places and things and flopping down on the beach.

With tourism experiencing changes, holiday homes are the hot favourite around which a whole vacation plan revolves. Witnessing growth across destinations, holiday homes are sought by tourists looking to enjoy freedom, bask in luxury and experience a vacation that doesn’t take you away from the comforts of staying at home.

Holiday homes are personal properties rented by people to be used as accommodation for tourists on a vacation. Ranging from small, cosy homes to grand villas, these are an exciting option for vacationers.

Millennials are taking over every industry... and tourism is no exception. They like to do things differently and don’t travel to see only museums and tourist sites. They want to experience the local life and are not easily impressed with cookie-cutter approach of hotels that strive on making every room in every country the same.

What they prefer, however, is the culture, which has given rise to the concept of vacation rentals. Research indicates that 58 per cent of millennials are seriously concerned about how the hotel looks on their Insta accounts, and holiday homes with its eloquent set-up and locations allow the guest to create their own desired experiences.

Studies indicate that 700 million Chinese will have passports in five years. Luxury is a different concept for the Chinese as compared to the rest of the world. Their living habits and dietary needs cannot always be accommodated by the most expensive hotels.

Many holiday homes are set up for Chinese guests with chopsticks, rice cookers and Chinese tea pots. This along with privacy makes them more comfortable.

Similarly, for GCC tourists, who like to travel with families, the comfort of multiple rooms is the not the same as a large apartment or what a villa can offer, paving way for holiday homes to be a hit with them.

In addition, European travellers don’t appreciate or like the over-the-top luxury and attention most five-star hotels have to offer. They prefer a better view and more sun beds to themselves. With the five-star facilities of apartment buildings in Dubai, the holiday homes provide luxury at par with the best resorts.

An important factor that has given rise to holiday homes is that these are not properties but offer services as well. Guests can pick and choose what they want. Right from daily cleaning, breakfast, airport pick-up to private pools, butlers and more, each holiday home is equipped to satisfy the guest’s budget and style.

Vacation rentals across the globe allow you to stay in unique locations that a hotel never could. Be it a single cabin in the middle of a forest in Norway or an igloo home in Finland, a yacht in Los Angeles, a tent in Dubai’s desert or a castle in the UK — holiday homes is every traveller’s fantasy answered.

Vinayak Mahtani is CEO of bnbme.