The history of the overnight vacation rental industry in the Gatlinburg area goes all the way back to shortly after the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was created in 19??. Chalets came on in a big way beginning in the late 60’s and early ’70’s and development of our area has continued exponentially ever since. Along the way, the “bar” has been raised several times with regard to features that these chalets (and then cabins) have needed to have to rent well.
Several years ago, jetted bath tubs became popular and not much later, hot tubs were the standard. Try renting a house today that doesn’t have a hot tub and you will fully understand – In general, it can’t be done. Pool tables came into vogue beginning a few years later, and once again, it is difficult to rent a home without a pool table. More recently, arcade style games have become more commonplace and now to own a successful rental property, you will want a cabin or chalet that has all of these features.
The latest must-have feature however is wi-fi internet access which is kind of odd. Although most of our guests come to the Smokies to get away from it all, Gatlinburg area vacationers now often require internet access. Unwilling (or unable) to leave their communication lines at home, visitors now routinely ask for a property that has internet service available. Since many people now travel with their laptop or other portable computing device, wi-fi internet access is now becoming the standard. It is my estimate that only about half of the cabins and chalets in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area have internet access but I expect this to change very quickly. With the advent of the new cell phone mi-fi networks, I expect that most all Smoky Mountain vacation rental properties will be sporting wi-fi availability before long.