Welcome to the first instalment of our Travel Trends series. In the coming weeks, we’ll take you through the most prevalent travel trends that are being addressed by niche vacation rental websites, starting with sports tourism and vacation rentals. 

Niche vacation rental websites specialising in sports tourism provide a great opportunity for property managers to attract athletes and sports fans.

If you have rentals in sports destinations, why not take advantage of listing sites that cater specifically to sports lovers? It’s guaranteed to boost your vacation rental marketing and distribution efforts.

Let’s take a look at the sports tourism travel trend, why it’s interesting for vacation rental property managers and which niche websites you should get listed on.

Sports tourism: a growing travel trend

Sports tourism is currently one of the fastest-growing travel trends. The global sports tourism market is expected to have a CAGR (compound Annual Growth Rate) of over 36% in the period between 2019 and 2023. Sports tourism is estimated to be worth €710 billion, making it 10% of all international travel and tourism. 

While sports tourism is itself a niche within the travel industry, it also has its own sub-niches. 

The most common types of sports tourism involve travelling in order to participate in sports activities, watch sports competitions or discover the sporting history of a destination. Think surf aficionados looking for the perfect beach break, MotoGP enthusiasts flying halfway across the world to see a race, and Barça fans flocking to Barcelona to explore their favourite team’s home stadium.  

Based on these sub-niches, researchers have identified three types of sports tourists:

1. Participatory: Sports tourists who actively participate in sports at their destinations. 

2. Event-based: Sports tourists who travel to witness a live sports event.

3. Celebratory: Sports tourists who visit attractions like halls of fame, museums and stadiums. 

It’s essential for property managers who want to leverage sports tourism to be familiar with these traveller profiles. 

The only way to target a specific group of travellers and provide them with the best possible guest experience is by asking: Why do people travel? 

In the case of sports tourists, the answer becomes very clear just by looking at the three typical guest profiles above.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Why should property managers want to attract sports tourists in the first place? Let’s take a look. 

Why sports tourism is an interesting niche for vacation rentals

Sports tourism and vacation rentals go together in many ways. 

Firstly, targeting sports fans is a great way for property managers to secure low-season bookings. Many sporting events take place during the months of drought when traditional tourism drops. No selfie-stick brandishing sightseers? No problem, bring in the football fans!

Secondly, sports can serve as a great way to market destinations that otherwise wouldn’t be popular among tourists. You would be surprised how many people are willing to travel for the sole purpose of finding a perfect sports spot!


Thirdly, catering to sports enthusiasts gives property managers a whole host of opportunities for upselling. You can offer sports gear for rent, lessons, guided activities, and more. 

And last but not least, sports fans often travel in groups. For property managers, that means more guests per booking.  

Now the only question is: how do you get your property in front of sporty travellers? The best way to do that is by getting listed on niche vacation rental websites specialising in sports tourism. These websites get thousands of visitors each month, looking for sports-optimised vacation rentals just like yours. They each focus on a different type of traveller (participatory, event-based and celebratory). Some are global, others hyper-local. 

Here are the top 5.

5 Niche vacation rental websites addressing the sports tourism travel trend

1. World Sport Villas

World Sport Villas helps vacation rental property managers target a specific guest type that travels year-round, often in groups, to participate in sports activities and events. 

They allow travellers to search destinations and find popular sports spots as well as accommodations nearby. Their most popular destinations include the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Portugal, Morocco, South Africa and Switzerland. 

Guests booking on World Sport Villas can find up-to-date information about each sports spot on the website, including a live 7-day forecast of sports conditions. At checkout, guests can also hire sports equipment, book lessons and buy tickets for upcoming events.

World Sport Villas uses Rentals United as its Channel Manager.

2. Sportihome

Sportihome creates unique opportunities for property managers to maximise their occupancy in the low season when weather conditions are optimal and major sporting events take place.

On Sportihome’s booking platform, travellers can find vacation rentals near sports destinations around the world, from France to South America and beyond. When searching, sports lovers can choose between 45 different sports to practice, including skiing, surfing, paragliding, mountain biking, kiteboarding and many more. 

Guests also have the option to stay with a host who practices the same sport, get tips on local spots and even go on sports activities together.

Sportihome uses Rentals United as its Channel Manager.

If you want more information about these niche listing sites – and many more! – you’ll find it in our free ebook The Who’s Who of Short-Term Rental Listing Sites. You’ll have access to exclusive data such as Average booking value, Average nights booked, Number of listings, Traffic sources, Fees for property managers, etc.

Start reading now:


3. Xplorie

Xplorie partners with vacation rental property managers and local activity providers to offer guests free activities to go with their accommodations. 

They target active, outdoorsy people who want the full package: a stay at a quality vacation rental and a bunch of activities to choose from, all included in the price. From the beaches of Florida to the mountains of Utah, they cover all the most beautiful destinations in the US. 

4. TripMVP

TripMVP specialises in accommodations for amateur sports groups, their coaches and fans in Florida. 

They offer vacation homes, townhouses and condos close to venues where tournaments or other events take place. They also provide accommodations for some high school and collegiate athletic associations.  

5. Rent Like a Champion

Rent Like a Champion offers weekend rentals in more than 20 college towns around the US for fans of college football, among other sports. 

The properties listed on their website are all close to football stadiums, golf courses and race tracks. Travellers can search by event and browse through available homes. 

Want to learn more about getting listed on niche websites? Book a call with one of our distribution experts!