SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (TheStreet) -- If things are a little different at your summer rental house this year, thank America's favorite houseful of loud, spray-tanned mush-mouths.
MTV's Jersey Shore has become an industry unto itself, with the television franchise pulling in a network-record 8.45 ratings share for its Season 3 debut episode back in January and a series-record 8.87 share three weeks later for the season's fourth episode featuring diminutive cast member Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi getting out of jail after causing a drunken scene on the beach and being escorted off by the Seaside Heights police.
As a result, the cast members have built portfolios as impressive as their alcohol tolerance. Oft-shirtless misogynist meathead housemate Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino made an estimated $3 million last year through personal appearances -- including a place on ABC's (Stock Quote: DIS) Dancing With The Stars and an ill-fated appearance on Comedy Central's roast of Donald Trump -- a book deal, part-ownership of a line of protein-infused vodkas, fitness DVDs and endorsement deals with Reebok and Vitamin Water (Stock Quote: K). Heavily tattooed Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio, meanwhile, made roughly $2 million after demand for his DJ services increased his price tag to $40,000 a night.Not to be outdone or outshouted, the Jersey Shore women also capitalized on their most bankable talents when Snooki and Jenni "JWoww" Farley took a stab at professional wrestling and Snooki notched her first win during WWE's Wrestlemania. How did every summer rental-property owner that watched Jersey Shore through their fingers benefit from the show's success? In some cases, with a Pauly D-haircut-sized spike in rental interest.
Hank Hudepohl, director of vacation rentals at TripAdvisor, says his site has seen a 94% increase in Jersey Shore rental interest since the first quarter of last year. Those inquiries are expanding the rental base beyond its typical, more regional borders and drawing a younger crowd with expendable income to burn.
"More out-of-towners who may not have typically stayed in the Jersey Shore area for a vacation -- including travelers from Kansas, Iowa and California -- are submitting inquiries, but they are primarily 20-somethings looking to go there to party," says Jaime Dito, spokeswoman for vacation rental site HomeAway. "The owners also claim to receive three to five inquiries a day from kids -- 30 or younger -- looking to book their property, many for prom or graduation in May and June."That's little cause to celebrate, as renters and property owners have had reason to wince every time a table's been overturned in a fight between Jersey Shore housemates, a bed's been destroyed while being moved out of the "smush room" and persons of questionable repute and hygiene have taken long, cleansing, sometimes amorous soaks in the house hot tub.
HomeAway spokeswoman Dito, who we'll remind you is paid to present the site's properties in the best possible light, says that the general consensus among that site's property owners in the show's seasons 1 and 3 setting Seaside Heights is that it has been "detrimental to the area, giving it a bad reputation and having somewhat negative effects on the rental market."
"According to one homeowner, there's had to be an increase in the number of cops in the area, which has raised property taxes," Dito says. "Plus, they feel the show deters the coveted family renters from booking in the area."
Looking at this glass of RonRon juice as neither half-empty nor half-full, we took a look at five ways that the fist-pumping first family of reality television changed summer rentals forever: