DAVENPORT — With the arrival of the holiday season, Central Florida’s tourism and hospitality industries are shifting into high gear. From tropical weather in the dead of winter to some of the world’s best known theme park attractions, the Orlando area can always demonstrate every December why so many want to vacation here.
For a lot of northern families and international visitors now looking to book a holiday vacation here, there are a wide assortment of hotels and motels to pick from in this region. But there are also likely to be families that don’t really like the idea of cramming everyone into a single hotel room for a week or more.
What some of them may not know is there’s another option.
And as it turns out, the concept is growing very quickly in popularity, noted An Flamand, the owner of USA Vacation Homes & Spa.
“We are starting to book up pretty well for the holiday season,” she said.
USA Vacation Homes & Spa, located at 115 Lake Davenport Boulevard in Davenport, markets something very different from hotels, which offer single rooms with one or two beds, and maybe a small refrigerator and microwave tossed in. USA Vacation Homes offers just that — homes to rent for the holidays, luxury houses that are spacious — and fully furnished.
That means each vacation home that Flamand rents on a short-term basis offers a living room, dining room, multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, a game room for the kids, and a private heated pool. No more sharing the hotel pool with other families, no more feeling crunched together in a single room like sardines in a can. It means a day at the theme parks, then an evening relaxing in a house that — well, feels like home, in a development that is quiet, peaceful and thoroughly relaxing.
What she offers, Flamand said, is a variety of different homes.
“We still have 3 star homes, 4 star and 5 star, exactly like you have in the hotels,” she said.
Flamand is also the past president of the Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, the trade group that represents this very fast-growing segment of the Central Florida tourism industry. Vacation homes have become a key part of the local economy, particularly along U.S. 27 in Northeast Polk County and on U.S. 192 in Osceola County — two roadways located within easy driving distance to those major theme parks like Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando.
Flamand noted that the Orlando area is already one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and a lot of families love the idea of having an entire house to relax in during their stay here.
“The majority of people will come to Orlando because of the climate,” she said. “Orlando has a mild climate here in the winter. We practically have no rain in the winter, so the number one reason people come to Orlando in winter is the weather. On the other hand, there is so much going on in Orlando. Things are opening up constantly in Orlando.”
In 2014, for example, Orlando celebrated the opening of the new Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, which begins hosting the smash Broadway musical “Phantom of the Opera” on Wednesday.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando expanded with the opening of the new Diagon Alley this summer, and a year earlier SeaWorld unveiled the new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction.
“There’s so many different things you can do here,” Flamand said, adding that holiday shopping opportunities can be another draw for visitors.
“The Mall of Millenia is one of the upscale malls in Orlando,” she said. “There’s so much to do in Orlando, and that’s why people come back every year.”
USA Vacation Homes is now offering holiday specials for those who want to escape the northern cold and snow to enjoy Orlando’s winter t-shirt weather.
“We now have a special for holiday clients,” she said. “They can book seven nights for the price of six. It’s just to book the last few homes we have. That’s our special this holiday.”
To learn more, contact USA Vacation Homes & Spa at 866-242-9922.
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