Global travel leader Booking.com reveals the driving factors behind the appetite to stay in different types of unique accommodation and the fine balance an accommodation host, manager or owner must strike to get that all important personal touch just right for guests. As travelers have the luxury of more choice than ever before when planning their next trip, getting it right as a ‘host’ can be the difference between checking in or checking out other properties.
From a helpful B&B manager equipped with local tips for their guests, to an apartment owner who takes pride in every little detail of their guest’s stay or a villa manager who shares home cooked meals with those staying at their property, the most unique stay experiences are often reflected in the special personalities of their hosts – whether that’s revealed in person or simply in the choices they make for their property. Booking.com research reveals that over half of travelers have even opted to stay in the same accommodation again primarily because of the host.
The role of a host will continue to carry significant weight for travelers seeking alternative types of stay this year, with over two thirds of respondents planning to stay in accommodation which allows them to interact with a property owner or manager in 2019 – whether that’s someone who is around daily or who is only there to offer a warm welcome upon arrival.
The research also found that while some travelers are happy with a simple warm welcome, others have ‘great expectations’ when it comes to what they want from hosts when traveling. For most, the main advantage is feeling ‘at home’ with 66% of global travelers stating that this is important, while for 62% the main perk of people powered accommodation is the ability to take advantage of ‘insider’ knowledge by staying in an accommodation owned by a native to that area. What’s more, nearly half (45%) of global travelers are looking to this insider know-how as a bottom line for their vacation budget too, hoping for tips to help them save money by avoiding tourist pitfalls. An accommodation owner or manager even brings a social element to their trip for some, with 44% of global respondents looking to boost their social circle, stating they would like to be invited to a party by the person managing their accommodation.
It’s not all a party for accommodation owners and managers, however. There is a fine balance to strike to ensure they’re providing the best possible experience for their guests, and not every traveler is keen for such a close relationship. Over half (52%), of global travelers feel that they only need to see their host once during their stay to feel welcomed and over a third (36%) only expect to be contacted once at check-in and once at check-out. What’s trickier still for hosts is that travelers also expect the people overseeing their stay to have a sixth sense and know how much is too much when it comes to the personal touch. 69% believe that hosts should intuitively know the right amount of time to spend with their guests. For nearly four in five (79%) of travelers this means respecting their need for personal space too, noting that privacy is key.
To stack the odds in their favor, accommodation managers could look to embrace the most universally welcomed attributes that travelers are looking for. A warm smile could be the key to positive reviews, with three quarters (75%) of global travelers expecting to meet someone friendly and personable upon arrival. Offering a personal touch, such as gifting local delicacies, can also make a big difference; added extras such as tea, coffee and edible treats help nearly half (45%) feel settled in their new environment.
Text and photos courtesy of Booking.com