The Myrtle Beach area might soon be moving up in the home exchange arena.
One of the top companies in the you stay in my house, Ill stay in yours vacation genre, HomeExchange.com, had its annual meeting in Myrtle Beach last week, with about 56 agents from around the globe checking out what Myrtle Beach has to offer.
The vacation concept, which experienced a surge after being the basis for the 2006 flick The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz and Jude Law, pairs homeowners who want to swap houses for their trip instead of booking a hotel. No money is exchanged, though homeowners have to pay a fee of about $120 a year to be listed on HomeExchange.com.
This is such a prime destination, said Ed Kushins, a California resident who founded HomeExchange.com about 20 years ago and is still its president. Now they are going to be able to talk firsthand about how cool Myrtle Beach is.
The company typically picks up-and-coming destinations on its website for the site of its yearly meeting, with Myrtle Beach joining previous hosts of Rovinj, Croatia; Portugal; Hermosa Beach, Calif.; and Avion, France. The gang will probably meet in Denmark next year.
Demand for houses in South Carolina has been increasing, and Myrtle Beach with its family-friendly offerings is a prime spot because about a third of HomeExchange.com members are families with kids, Kushins said. About 20 homeowners in the Myrtle Beach area have their properties listed on HomeExchange.com, though Kushins wants to add more.
HomeExchange.com has about 43,000 listings in 142 countries and is projected to have $5.5 million in revenue this year, according to the company.
The group spent a week having meetings at the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes and checking out the areas amenities. This was Kushins first visit to Myrtle Beach, and he was impressed with the elaborate miniature golf options and the regular golf courses.
We want people to enjoy it while we are here, he said.
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