A new way of looking at vacation rentals

After more than a year of staring at the walls, Americans are booking vacations again. To help them pack their bags, Home Improvement TV offers summer programming about where to go and where to stay.

The TV, it seems, wants to get out of the house as much as the rest of us.

Netflix will premiere “The World’s Most Beautiful Vacation Rentals” on June 18, showcasing quirky and quirky places from around the world – a snake-shaped apartment building in Mexico City, an igloo in Finland, a lighthouse in Alaska. HGTV has renewed two of its vacation shows for the second season, both of which aired in June – “Renovation Island,” about a couple renovating a dilapidated resort in the Bahamas, and “Vacation House Rules,” on how to fix your rental vacation to do is more profitable.

And when Magnolia Network launches digitally on July 15 as a joint venture with Discovery Inc., it will feature programming (available on Discovery + and the Magnolia app) of shows aimed at rusty vacationers, giving us a reminder of what’s out there. and what’s going on. to make a vacation rental shine. Some of the offerings on the road include “RE (Motel),” which describes funky roadside motels; “Van Go,” a Brett Lewis series that turns people’s pickup trucks into tiny mobile homes; and “Inn the Works,” which follows a young innkeeper as she prepares for a retreat in Big Bear Lake, California.

But even though these shows take us to faraway places, the emphasis is less on the sites we can see and more on creating temporary homes away from home. As we venture out as tourists again, they aim to help us travel to the places we book through Airbnb or other sites.

“It’s probably no coincidence that what resonated with us were stories of travel, of the possibility and the desire to travel,” said Allison Page, global president of Magnolia Network, of how so many travel shows have aired on a network run by HGTV darlings Chip and Joanna Gaines.

The timing of these shows is surprisingly fortuitous. The network was slated to launch last October, but has been delayed by the pandemic, and its cable TV debut, where it will replace the DIY Network, is still on hold until January 2022. Its programming couldn’t be truer. , offering viewers “That fantasy that seems achievable: that they can get in their car, get rid of that period of sedentary life, and find something beautiful,” Ms. Page said.

In an email, Ms. Gaines, Creative Director of Magnolia, said, “I know that for us these shows have served as timely reminders of what makes life so great: family, adventure and fun. possibility. When you hear these stories and watch how they play out, you can’t help but want to go out and create or experience something special.

Of all the shows, “The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals” looks like this one done for this moment. The first episode was filmed in Bali in January 2020, against the dynamic and crowded backdrop of a pre-pandemic Indonesia. But in the episodes that follow, mostly shot after the start of the pandemic, the world feels oddly empty. Again, who needs other people when you can stay in a 4,300 square foot floating mansion in Miami, or a 6,000 square foot lodge carved out of a cave in the Ozarks?

Million Dollar Listing hosts Luis D. Ortiz, YouTuber Megan Batoon and travel writer Jo Franco explore a world on hiatus. They marvel at their destinations, but rarely encounter a hotelier, let alone another client or local, on their travels. One episode features a luxury resort on a private island in the Bahamas, a destination as opulent as one would expect for $ 15,000 a night. We have the impression that this island is not the only deserted place.

“We were in these places in the middle of nowhere to spend the time of our lives,” said Ms. Franco, 28. And that may be a good thing. Our collective anxiety about travel in the late stage pandemic could lead to “a really interesting change in the way we travel now,” she said. “We can immerse in the experience, we can be more isolated, we can feel private and secure.”

Unlike Anthony Bourdain, who introduced a generation of viewers to rich cultures through the street food found in bustling markets and cramped cafes, this version of the trip offers a vacation focused on where you’re staying, not on what you do. Covid restrictions may be relaxed, but many travelers are still seeking shelter within safe social distancing.

“I think a well-designed vacation rental can give people a lot of comfort in knowing that something can be safe, if they are worried about Covid,” said Ms. Batoon, 30, a designer whose YouTube videos focus frequently on the do-it-yourself home improvement projects.

While “The World’s Best Vacation Rentals” focuses on where to stay, shows like “Inn the Works” focus on the elbow grease needed to turn hotels into places you would really want to visit. . “Inn the Works” tells the story of how Lindsey Kurowski enlists her three siblings to help restore a historic lodge with 13 cabins near Bear Mountain Ski Resort in Southern California.

In the first episode, as she and her siblings discuss how to renovate the lodge, Ms. Kurowski approaches two guests as they arrive, asking them to understand the state of the renovation. “In return, I’ll give you a discount, guys,” she told them. After ignoring the noise of the construction and an extension cord coming out of their room, she hugs them (the first episode was filmed before Covid), saying, “I’m so lucky!”

The rest of the series was filmed during the pandemic, as Ms Kurowski continued to rent cabins while a crew filmed renovations to the four-acre property. “It might not be my smartest idea,” Ms. Kurowski, 33, told me. “It is not ideal to stay in a hotel that is being renovated.

Despite the mess and the pandemic, Ms Kurowski said the hotel “has been incredibly busy” over the past year, which she attributes to the self-contained cabins making it an ideal socially distanced destination. She has since bought a second inn, a motel in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, near where she grew up.

Vacationers are looking for something different in the places they stay, and it’s not just the pandemic that is driving the change. Instagram and home improvement television have managed to turn even our getaways into something demanding the photogenic quality of a big reveal. Ms. Kurowski, who also produces corporate events, sees the value of “a few styling tips” and a well-staged photo.

“People are changing the way they travel, the way they book hotels, everything is different,” she said. “People want value for their money, they want as much convenience as possible. They want a personalized experience.

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