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What makes a great vacation rental host? Travellers reveal all

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Our 2023 travel trends survey results are in. And they're packed with handy pointers for what travellers say makes a host ‘great’.

In an ever-growing holiday rental market, it's important for property owners to showcase their first-rate hosting skills. In a recent survey, we asked 42,513 respondents across 33 markets “what can a host do to make your stay special?”

Because the more special the stay, the more guests will come back. Plus, great hosting leads to great reviews. So what do these travellers really think makes for a great hosting experience? And what can property owners do to make their offerings stand out? Let’s take a closer look.  

1. Provide your guests with travel tips

It can often feel strange arriving in an unfamiliar place. Guests want to feel comfortable and in-the-know. So it’s no surprise that 'Providing tips on the local area and events' tops our poll of global travellers. 

When it comes to hosting, more than half (55%) of all respondents worldwide say they want tips from their hosts on where to go and what to do. Travellers from Brazil (64%) and Croatia (63%) were among the most likely to cite this as a great hosting skill. This might be highlighting under-the-radar hotspots, pointing out tourist traps, or providing a list of cultural happenings. 

More food for thought? Some 51% of guests appreciate restaurant tips. Let’s say you’re repeatedly impressed by your local bistro. Or you know the go-to place for eggs benedict. Maybe the best coffee house in town is a two minute walk away. Tell your guests. Travellers from Portugal (59%), Taiwan (57%) and Thailand (57%) say such recommendations boost a host’s greatness.

2. Add personal touches 

A warm welcome and personal interactions were highlighted by 39% of those surveyed. Indian (51%), Croatian (47%) and Israeli (47%) travellers prized personal touches particularly highly. A friendly hello and asking guests how their journey was and if they have any special plans when they arrive goes down well. 

When it comes to personalised items, 23% of those surveyed thought it made for a great host. Still, 44% of those from South Korea and the UAE and 40% of Vietnamese visitors say they are keen on a personal flourish - so, a handwritten note or welcoming is certainly something to consider.

Consider, too, ‘acknowledging special occasions’. Do you have guests celebrating a particular milestone - a certain anniversary, say? Feel free to offer a card or bunch of flowers. Guests from India (46%) and Singapore (40%) were especially keen on this. 

3. Impress guests with complimentary gifts and services

31% of all travellers thought that offering a complimentary item helped make a great host. Australian (42%) and Japanese guests (40%) in particular felt that this was a nice touch. 

Being on hand to provide 'additional cleaning' services was especially attractive for travellers from Latin America (46%), followed closely by travellers from Asia (43%).

And then there are those small yet meaningful gestures that can wow guests. Some 46% of all travellers thought that 'offering some amenities free of charge' helps make a host stand out. This is as true for Gen X (47%) as it is for Millennials (47%). 

Sprinkling in some thoughtful extra touches takes a four-star review to a shining five stars - and helps build customer loyalty into the bargain. Consider providing fancy toiletries, a universal phone charger or a handful of gripping novels to make your guests feel at home. For guests arriving late at night, consider a small snack basket, along with tea and coffee for the morning. And adding fresh flowers, magazines, or even free Netflix might see hosts’ ratings going from ‘great’ to, well, really great.


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We have lots of other insights delving into what travellers want.

Check out what ‘high-quality’ bookers look for in a stay.

Click here to find out more.

What do you think of this page?

  • 55% of global travellers felt providing tips on the local area helped make for a great host
  • Providing tips on local restaurants was a hit with 51% of travellers surveyed
  • 46% of respondents felt offering some amenities free of charge boosted a host’s greatness
  • A warm welcome and personal interactions are important to 39% of guests
  • 33% of travellers worldwide liked the idea of additional cleaning during their stay