Industry Perspectives

How to attract new guest segments with long-stay rates

From business bookers and digital nomads to expatriates and students, various traveller segments are increasingly searching for long stays. Gianbattista Vespucci, Commercial Director at Booking.com, explains how properties can attract these guests - and the benefits of doing so

Once the mainstay of serviced apartments, long stays at hotels and homes are growing in popularity, according to our search data, as travellers increasingly seek out properties on our platform that offer an extended getaway and a change in scenery. 

To satisfy this demand and help our partners drive occupancy, we are introducing two new rate plans: weekly rates and monthly rates. The weekly rate plan requires a minimum length of stay of seven nights and the monthly rate plan requires a minimum length of stay of 28 nights. Partners can set these as foundational rate plans with the flexibility to provide them based on their business needs, time of the year and cancellation policy of choice. 

In addition to this, we’re also launching a pilot programme in select cities around the world which will enable guests to book a stay longer than 30 nights in the same booking.

A rapidly growing industry

There’s a real opportunity for traditional hotels and vacation rentals to capitalise on the long-stay segment. A report from Kalibri Labs and The Highland Group reveals that guests staying seven consecutive nights or longer spend 57% more at traditional hotels than guests at serviced apartments (extended-stay hotels, as they are called in the US). Additionally, the report highlights that traditional hotels are hosting 28% more extended-stay room nights than serviced apartments - further highlighting consumer appetite for long-stay product offerings. 

Will this trend extend to vacation rentals and homes? It’s reasonable to think so. In the second quarter of this year, about 40% of Booking.com’s new bookings were for alternative accommodations. Especially during COVID-19, vacation rentals and homes seemingly have the upper hand as travellers increasingly value the privacy, space and self-service nature that comes with these property types - especially when they plan on staying longer. 

Targeting new guest segments

The reality is, in today’s travel landscape accommodation providers should explore every growing segment possible in order to fill rooms. The rise in long-stay demand offers partners an opportunity to reach and capture new markets - such as domestic vacationers, families, remote workers and expatriates, to name a few - while boosting occupancy and increasing revenue.  

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'To help our partners drive occupancy, we are introducing two new rate plans: weekly rates and monthly rates.'

 

Along with helping partners secure revenue for a longer horizon, long-staying guests can defray labour costs associated with constant room turnover and decrease operational hassle. From reservation management and check-ins to cleaning, operations are a big part of guest management. With long-stay guests, that operational pressure is decreased while maintaining occupancy. 

What long-stay guests are searching for 

Our user research reveals the main reason leisure travellers opt for a longer length stay is to relax and enjoy peace of mind in one place. Additionally, guests who are looking to get away long-term or work from another location prefer to stay at a property that has a high review in cleanliness. 

Long-stay travellers are more likely to look deeper into facilities and amenities of the property compared to short-stay guests. The longer the trip, the more important self-service becomes. These guests desire amenities that can make for a comfortable stay, such as having a wardrobe space and a coffee maker or kettle to ease into the days. 

While both hotels and vacation rentals are very popular with travellers looking for longer stays, their preferences differ slightly when it comes to key criteria. Home bookers put more emphasis on privacy and their ability to be self-sustainable with included equipment, whereas hotel bookers expect professional services which enable them to switch off from their everyday life. 

How can you start benefiting? 

To benefit from the increased demand for long stays, partners can set up compelling weekly and/or monthly rate plans in the extranet. What also helps is an up-to-date listing that highlights the facilities long-stay guests are looking for - such as strong wifi - along with any unique facilities that can contribute to a comfortable stay. 

Partners can utilise weekly rates throughout the year depending on their occupancy needs. Monthly stays, on the other hand, should be adjusted to your individual business model, seasonality, location of the property and revenue goals.

These rates should be built in connection with your overall pricing strategy, taking into consideration the other rates - such as non-refundable and last-minute - you may have also implemented. Finally, rather than just setting and forgetting, it’s important to adapt the rates depending on the season - the right price may not be the same price every day.

 

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Set long-stay rates

Start attracting guests searching for long stays by setting up weekly and monthly rates via the extranet

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Takeaway
  • Special weekly and monthly rates will now be available to guests worldwide who are looking for stays of seven nights or more and stays of 28 nights or more
  • These new rates can help you tap into the demand we are seeing on our platform for extended stays from a variety of traveller segments
  • Along with helping partners secure stable revenue for a longer horizon, long-staying guests decrease operational hassles and defray labour costs
  • Partners can set these as foundational rate plans via the extranet with the flexibility to provide them based on their business needs, time of the year and cancellation policy of choice

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