Premium bookers – those for whom quality is more important than price – account for about 20% of all global hotel and vacation rental bookers, according to research by data analytics company, Kantar. In the US, this increases to around 34%.
To help you tap into this lucrative market, we surveyed 2795 premium vacation rental and hotel bookers across the US, UK, France and Germany about what matters most to them when choosing where to stay.
Broadly, these customers fell into two groups: high quality and luxury. In this first part of our series on attracting premium guests, we explore the needs of high-quality bookers.
High-quality bookers – an introduction
For this research, high-quality bookers were defined as those who told us they mainly choose top-quality accommodation.
They tend to focus on the practical side, caring more about value for money, location and breakfast.
This research focused on two different accommodation types – hotels and vacation rentals – to see how this group assess potential options, and ultimately choose the one they feel is right for them.
Quality – perhaps unsurprisingly – matters most to high-quality bookers across both vacation rentals and hotels. It also ranked first across all traveller types surveyed – families, groups, couples and solo travellers.
- Focus on cultivating good reviews – high-quality guests assess quality overwhelming via good reviews, with 73% of vacation rental bookers and 69% of hotel bookers indicating good reviews are a key quality indicator.
- Embrace your star rating – the research found that high-quality guests consider the star rating of a property to be less important than reviews. A lower star rating with glowing reviews is likely to be viewed more favourably than a higher-rated accommodation with negative feedback.
Of all the markets surveyed, the only country that didn’t rank quality highest was France, where interestingly it didn’t even make it into the top three factors. For French guests, you’ll want to focus on service.
The next most important factor for all guests was location.
- Vacation rental? Highlight any nearby nature – 46% of high-quality vacation rental bookers ranked proximity to a beach as the most important location consideration, and are the most likely of any group to rank ‘secluded place’ as a key feature.
- Hotel? Focus on the city centre – high-quality hotel bookers, on the other hand, rate proximity to the city centre as the most important factor.
- Proximity to bars considered less important – activities and restaurants nearby matter to about a third of high-quality guests, but when it comes to bars this drops off to a quarter for hotel bookers and to only a fifth for vacation rental bookers.
Amenities and facilities
Groups, couples and solo travellers all put amenities and facilities in their top three reasons for choosing an accommodation, so highlighting the right ones can be an effective way to get the attention of high-quality bookers.
- Don’t forget the wifi – wifi ranks as the most important feature for high-quality guests across both vacation rental and hotels. While it’s now an expected amenity, it’s definitely still worth highlighting on your property page.
- High-quality hotel bookers are likely to be more indulgent – for instance, 36% of hotel bookers consider pool facilities important, compared to 26% of vacation rental guests.
- High-quality vacation rental bookers are likely to be more hands-on – vacation rental guests are the most likely to look for practical items, such as a washing machine and kitchen appliances. In fact, 18% of these respondents indicated that a washing machine is more of a selling point than a gym (10%) or even a spa (17%).
Safety is a concern for many guests – especially families (29%) and solo travellers (36%).
- 24-hour support matters most – both high-quality hotel and vacation rental guests ranked a 24-hour staffed reception desk as the most important safety feature, followed by 24-hour surveillance.
- Health and safety measures remain important – over a third (38%) of hotel bookers said health and safety measures remain an important aspect of safety at a property following the pandemic.
Service is obviously important in hospitality, but the research shows it’s only fifth on the list of priorities across the premium booking groups. The exception is French guests, where service was listed as the most important feature.
- Include breakfast – high-quality bookers say they’re more likely to be drawn by ‘breakfast included’ than by ‘high-quality food’ – so offering even a basic free breakfast is likely to be a selling point.
- Offer daily room cleaning upon request – only 20% of vacation rental guests surveyed considered everyday housekeeping an important factor when choosing a property. This increased to 31% for hotel bookers.
High-quality bookers take their time when deciding. They want to get things right, and most importantly, get value for money.
Anything you can do to allay their concerns – from highlighting amenities that match their needs to sharing glowing reviews where they can find them – will make them even more likely to book.
- Premium bookers are a significant part of the market, covering about 20% of bookers
- High-quality bookers are practical and value-driven
- Get their attention by sharing great reviews and focusing on the features that matter most to them
- Cover the basics – from wifi to washing machines, these guests find reassurance in knowing their needs are met