Premium bookers – those for whom quality is more important than price – account for about 20% of all 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 second part of our series on attracting premium guests, we explore the needs of luxury bookers.
Luxury bookers – an introduction
For this research, luxury bookers were defined as those who told us they tend to only choose top-quality accommodation, with cost being less of a consideration.
They tend to focus on more experience-based aspects, choosing room service, concierge service, good restaurants and uncrowded places with more privacy.
The 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.
Across all luxury traveller types surveyed – families, groups, couples and solo travellers – cultivating a reputation for quality fell into three main areas:
- Highlight your star rating – the most important factor for luxury guests when it comes to assessing quality is star rating, which reassures them their selection will offer the experience they’re after.
- Don’t neglect reviews – the majority of luxury guests also consider good reviews to be a key quality indicator. While reviews didn’t rank quite as important as the star rating, asking for guest reviews is likely to pay off.
- Sell the quality of your restaurant/chef – luxury travellers place a lot more value on a star restaurant or chef than other bookers.
The research shows that luxury bookers are fairly unified in what they look for in a location.
- Let them know they’re where the action is – being near the beach is a draw for luxury bookers, as is being near the city centre. But wherever you’re located, you can catch their attention by talking about activities nearby – an important factor for almost half (47%) of all luxury hotel bookers.
- Highlight the dining on their doorstep – compared to high-quality bookers, luxury guests place greater emphasis on having quality restaurants and bars nearby – which ties into what we know about them being ‘experience seekers’.
Amenities and facilities
When it comes to amenities and facilities, it’s not necessarily a case of more is always better. Ultimately, luxury guests like unique experiences and a touch of indulgence so focusing your messaging on that can help entice them.
- Sell those experiences – facilities like spas, gyms, pools and bath tubs all appeal, tapping into that indulgent streak.
- Mention renovations – high-quality and luxury guests value many of the same room conditions – giving similar weighting to the view, noise level and modern interiors, but luxury vacation rental bookers are the most likely to be won over by new/recently renovated rooms. If you’ve recently refurbished your property, don’t be shy about telling them.
Safety and privacy
Safety is always an important consideration, but luxury guests want to feel secure without it impacting that exclusive feeling they crave.
- Highlight security features – security matters to luxury travellers, with 65% of vacation rental bookers and 66% of hotel bookers listing ‘24-hour surveillance’ as an important factor.
- Emphasise privacy – 77% of luxury guests say it’s very important to find an uncrowded property, with 80% saying that COVID-19 has made this even more important to them.
- Use pictures to highlight ‘exclusivity’ – draw attention to features like independent entrances and standalone buildings to tap into luxury bookers’ preference for privacy.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to what good service looks like, but going the extra mile to boost the guest experience can make a huge difference.
- Highlight food quality – half (50%) of the luxury hotel guests surveyed say high food quality is the most important aspect of service, and 42% of luxury vacation rental bookers agree.
- Offer a personal service – luxury bookers expect in-stay services like room service and concierge service. This is the case for both vacation rental and hotel guests.
- Follow their lead on being a ‘host’ – 35% of luxury hotel bookers say having a ‘good host’ is one of the most important aspects of service. Follow their lead when it comes to face-to-face time and tailor your interactions accordingly.
Show what you have to offer
Luxury bookers can be a compelling customer group to target. They know what they want and are happy to pay for it. But because they know what they want, they may be quick to discount properties that don't immediately seem to provide it.
Taking the time to tailor how you present your accommodation – from listing all the facilities that matter most to them to displaying photos that highlight the quietness and exclusivity of your spaces – can make a huge difference.
Remember that you don’t have to offer everything yourself, either. If your accommodation is ideally placed for activities, entertainment, dining and bars that would appeal to luxury bookers, highlighting their proximity can already be a huge draw.
- Premium bookers are a significant part of the market, covering about 20% of global bookers, according to research by Kantar
- Luxury bookers are experiential – they want the best, most unique experiences and are happy to pay for them
- They also value privacy, with 97% saying it’s important to find ‘uncrowded’ properties
- Tap into what you can offer them, but also sell what’s available a short distance from your property