Trends & Insights

New research provides insight into long-stay booker behaviour

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We surveyed 2,735 long-stay bookers who stayed between seven nights and six months to uncover insights into their behaviour, preferences and perceptions

Longer stays are on the rise, with various types of travellers increasingly looking to stay in a single place for longer. This is reflected on our platform, where we’re currently seeing a higher proportion of bookings for seven days or more than we did at this same time in 2019.

To help you market to the trend, we surveyed 2,735 long-stay bookers hailing from the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, the UAE and Japan. These travellers were the primary decision makers for their trip and they all went on a trip within the past six months that lasted between seven nights and six months. What’s important to these travellers and how can you attract them on our platform? Let’s unpack the findings.

Business, leisure or other?

To begin with, the biggest reason they travelled was for ‘leisure’ – to go on a holiday to rest and relax, no matter the length of stay. Interestingly, though, their reason for travel is more likely to be for ‘business’ as the duration of stay increases. There are, of course, many other reasons to travel long term, such as relocating during a home remodel or seeking a specific type of medical treatment – and it’s very common for travellers to combine personal and work-related trips. Regardless of individual motivations, the ‘other’ responders in this survey were more likely to travel for at least two weeks.

As for who they travelled with, the people in this cohort travelled with their spouse – and children if they have them. Only about one in five of these travellers ventured out on their own.

Domestic vs. international

With so many people restricted from travelling internationally in the past year, it’s not surprising that the majority of those surveyed reported domestic stays. But their responses to related questions indicate that trips lasting less than two weeks are always more likely to be domestic, while trips of longer than two weeks are more likely to be international.

Because these long-stayers lean strongly towards international travel, you can appeal to them with Country Rates.

Long-stayers (eventually) favour vacation rentals

The preference for large hotels decreases notably as stays get longer, ultimately shifting to vacation rentals. For example, of those travelling for up to two weeks, one in three booked a large chain hotel, but only one in five who travelled for four weeks or longer did so.

This is good news for home and vacation rental partners, who seem to have an advantage in the marketplace when it comes to the longest stays. 

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Long-stay business bookers know what they want

In the study, those travelling for work, including remote work, expressed strong preferences for what they want. They were more likely to look for properties with flexible cancellation options, that offer the ability to extend their stay and that offer flexible 24/7 check-in. 

All of these preferences combined may be asking for a lot, but it underscores the importance of building in flexibility for long-stay business bookers. If these guests can provide you with more profitable extended stays, it may make sense to offer a long-stay rate and policies that attempt to meet these needs.

That said, many of their responses do line up closely with conventional wisdom around business booker preferences: good WiFi, natural light and air-conditioning are important amenities, while cleaning, parking and breakfast are important services. We’ve seen these same characteristics associated with business bookers in past research.

Unique needs of long-stay guests

Some accommodation details become more important as stays get longer. For example, a dedicated workspace and washing machine are more likely to be of value to those travelling longer than two weeks. If you offer amenities like this, it’s worth indicating them in the extranet so that they appear on your property page.

Guests staying longer than two weeks are more likely to choose a property based on location, but they’re less likely to be interested in neighbourhood information and reviews than short-term guests. If you put together your own local guide for guests, consider including information that someone staying longer term would find useful. This might include public transport routes, the location of the nearest post office or a list of nearby coworking spaces.

A longer book window for longer stays

The majority of travellers we surveyed booked accommodation within four weeks before their stay, but the longer the stay the more likely it is they’ll book further in advance.

In the study, most guests booked accommodation up to one or two weeks in advance. For seven to 13 night stays, they were more likely to book only two to seven days in advance. But travellers who stayed 14 nights or more were more likely to book two to four weeks in advance. This highlights the importance of diversifying your availability to be found by all potential guests. 

This was the case for both holiday and work-related travel, but one notable exception involves solo travellers. While couples were more likely to book further in advance, solo travellers were more likely to book a long stay at the last minute. Pricing your rooms based on occupancy could help you attract these bookers and fill a room at the last minute for the long term.

Where do they choose to book?

Before booking their long stay, respondents report they considered booking through online travel platforms, directly with the property or through a price comparison website. The majority of them ultimately chose an online travel platform, citing ‘ease of use’ as their reason.

Considering that we rolled out expanded Weekly Rates and Monthly Rates in the past year, this research shows a strong affinity for our platform as a place consumers look to when they book a longer stay.

 

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Long-stay rates

Capture the growing demand for longer stays by setting up a Weekly Rate or a Monthly Rate in the extranet.

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Takeaway
  • In general, as length of stay increases, trip characteristics gradually shift from leisure to business, from domestic to international and from large chain hotel to vacation rental
  • Those travelling for business, including remote work, have strong preferences and a strong need for flexibility when choosing a long-stay option
  • Respondents stated that book window increases as stays lengthen, except for one key group who may be good to target with last-minute long-stay offers: solo travellers
  • Some accommodation details become more important as stays get longer like dedicated workspaces and washing machines