2018 Vacation Rental Performance Report: Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Calistoga, and Petaluma

The Evolve Team
The Evolve Team
June 7, 2018

California Wine Country is one of the top traveler destinations in America. In 2016 alone, Napa Valley welcomed 3.5 million visitors. People come from near and far to visit the wineries, enjoy the food, and take in the breathtaking views of rolling hills.

With more and more travelers visiting the towns that makeup California Wine Country, including Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Calistoga, and Petaluma, the area has become increasingly profitable for vacation rental owners. After seeing this trend, we decided to look more into the data and find out what type of vacation rentals see the most success in wine country.

In our Vacation Rental Performance Report for Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Calistoga, and Petaluma, we analyzed thousands of vacation rental listings and compiled all the data to give existing owners and prospective buyers a good idea of what to expect.

Some of the key factors we’ve identified that are contributing to the region’s immense success for vacation rentals are:

  • Huge demand for the privacy and comfort of a vacation rental
  • Little or no low season
  • Minimal competition
  • High average nightly rates

Why California Wine Country Rentals Are So Successful

California Wine Country is a great place to own a vacation rental. It never has a true low season, and it’s a top destination for all types of travelers, from couples to bachelorette parties.

But even with so many visitors throughout the year, wine country has a limited number of small Bed and Breakfasts and boutique hotels – making the need for vacation rentals even greater.

Competition for vacation rentals is relatively low, while demand remains high year round. Big groups of travelers prefer the flexibility and privacy that vacation rentals can offer them, along with being able to cook their own food and have a place to call home after a long day in the California sun.

Unlike vacation rentals on the coastline or properties near attractions, vacation rentals in California Wine Country don’t have to be located directly next to a winery to attract guests. They’re much more focused on having a great place that has the right amenities, space, and accommodations.

With that being said, you’ll want to be sure to research short-term rental regulations in your specific area before purchasing a property or listing your rental. There are quite a few regulations on vacation rentals in California Wine Country, which makes the demand for successful ones even greater.

Graphic icon illustrating a bar graph

How Much Owners Can Earn with California Wine Country Vacation Rentals

In our report, we found that rentals of any size can see a high yearly occupancy, whether they have accommodations for two people or ten.

Two-bedroom vacation rentals make up the majority of the vacation rental inventory at 28% – but they also manage to get booked 56% of the year.

We found that two-bedrooms at the median make $40,501 per year, but two-bedrooms in the 75th percentile earn $52,252.

Five-bedroom vacation rentals are far less common, but bring in a much higher yearly income. They only make up 4% of the inventory, and manage to secure bookings for 54% of the year.

Because of the rarity of five-bedroom rentals and the demand for larger accommodations, five-bedrooms make $163,153 at the median, and earn $233,821 in the 75th percentile.

How to Make Your California Wine Country Vacation Rental Even More Successful

It’s hard to go wrong with a vacation rental in California Wine Country, but the difference between the median and the 75th percentile can be huge. Going the extra mile for your rental requires more money and effort in the short-term, but leads to a much greater payoff in the long run.


Professionalism is an absolute must when it comes to running a California wine country rental. Vacation rentals in Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Calistoga, and Petaluma get booked over 70 days in advance on average during high season. Travelers are looking for a rental that’s organized and well-appointed for their trip.

Homeowners should keep their calendar completely updated, respond to traveler inquiries within 24 hours, and be sure to be communicative with the travelers from booking date to post-check out. They should also keep listing descriptions professional, by putting the most relevant information first and sticking to professional photography.

Upgraded Appliances and Amenities

Upgraded appliances and resort-like amenities are quickly becoming the standard for California Wine Country rentals.

Because average nightly rates in Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Calistoga, and Petaluma tend to be higher, guests will expect that the rental they stay in feels luxurious.

Updated appliances are completely necessary to get bookings, and to get rave reviews. This includes having modern kitchen appliances and renovated bathrooms.

When it comes to additional amenities, while not a necessity, they will help you stand out against your competitors. Additional amenities in California Wine Country would include a hot tub or pool, an outdoor grill, and an outdoor deck for guests to spend time on.

Download Our Full Report for More Details

With consistent demand, the California Wine Country is proving to be one of the top markets for vacation rental ownership.

Are you thinking about buying a vacation rental in this area? Already own a second home in the area and want to outperform the competition?

Download our free 2018 Vacation Rental Performance Report for Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Calistoga, and Petaluma to find out about:

  • Rental income potential by property size
  • Average occupancy by property size
  • Average daily rate by property size
  • Average days booked in advance
  • Average length of stay
  • Vacation rental inventory by property size
  • Occupancy rate by month

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