Privacy concerns have grown throughout the pandemic, with many travelers steering clear of shared facilities. Enter entire places, a segment encompassing several alternative accommodation types that are growing in popularity. We sat down with Group Product Manager Inas Abdella to learn more about the increased customer demand for entire places and what we’re doing to highlight these listings on our platform.
Click.: How has the pandemic changed travelers’ accommodation preferences?
Abdella: Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen a growing concern for social distance, with privacy considerations now playing a prominent role in bookers’ decision making process. This aligns with shifts in travelers’ preferences for more domestic, non-urban, longer stays – some of the key trends to emerge from the pandemic. As a result, we’ve seen increased demand for entire places, which usually cater well to these traveler types.
Any listing that offers guests a private sleeping area, bathroom, and kitchen is classified as an entire place on our platform. Those are the three attributes we look for, which can generally be found in seven different listing types: Studio, apartment, villa, vacation home, bungalow, chalet, and mobile home. The main differentiator compared to hotels is the level of privacy they offer. As the name suggests, an entire place is a listing the guest has entirely to themselves during their stay.
Click.: What are we doing to address this demand for entire places on our platform?
Abdella: We rolled out several features that aim to meet this increase in demand, including entire place labels. These appear on our website and app at multiple touchpoints throughout the customer journey, helping guests easily identify and book entire places. Partners can indicate if they have private or shared facilities on the Extranet, and we assign the label based on this data in combination with the listing type.
We also specify the configuration of each entire place – the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, beds, living rooms, and the size. Customers actively look for this info so making it easily discoverable is important.
One example of how entire place labels are displayed alongside configurations.
Additionally, we’ve added an entire homes and apartments filter on our website and we’re working on extending it to other platforms, including our mobile app. Along with these features, which make entire places easily identifiable, we’ve added reassuring messages throughout the customer journey to showcase the privacy benefits of entire places. One example of how we do this is by highlighting the facilities—such as a refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher—that guests can find in the listing’s private kitchen.
Click.: What’s the value of these developments for our property partners?
Abdella: The main benefit is increased visibility and bookings for partners with entire places. We see customers increasingly interacting with and booking these listing types, and these new features make it easier for partners with entire place listings to get found and booked.
The new features can also help partners appeal to new and growing traveler segments like family travelers. It’s common for families to book entire places because privacy is important to them – pandemic or not. The nature of entire places offers them more space and the ability to stay together in one place, as opposed to being split between two or three different hotel rooms.
Click.: How can partners optimize their listings to take advantage of these new features?
Abdella: Content is key, and we need our partners’ help for any of our initiatives to be successful. It’s only through the right content that we’re able to offer the right listing to the right customer. My main advice for partners is to make sure your content is up to date and indicate on the Extranet if you offer a private bathroom and kitchen, or through your connectivity provider if you offer a private bathroom.
An example of a property with a private bathroom that isn’t only accessible through a bedroom.
Informative, attractive photos also play a huge role, especially when it comes to entire places. To make their decision, guests want to see more of an entire place as opposed to a hotel room. Make sure to capture all the different rooms in your listing – the bedrooms, living space, kitchen, bathroom, and outside view. There are so many more elements to consider, and customers want to see them all.
As I mentioned earlier, entire places cater well to a range of growing traveler trends, which includes longer stays and the work-from-anywhere crowd. Taking advantage of initiatives like our Work-Friendly Program and Long-Stay Rate Plans can help partners double-down on attracting these traveler types. Similarly, ensuring your pricing, flexibility, and availability are set up for success is always crucial to maximizing visibility and bookings.
Click.: What’s next for entire places?
Abdella: From remote working to longer stays, I anticipate certain trends that emerged from the pandemic are here to stay. For us, that means continuing to improve the search and booking experience for customers who are looking for entire places.
One thing we’re currently working on is flexible property types. And by that I mean extending our guest searches to show travelers related properties across multiple stay types. Currently on our platform, we have very specific property types—villas, B&Bs, apartments—but our research shows that our customers are a lot more flexible with what property type they stay in, as long as it meets certain needs they have, such as for space, privacy and certain facilities or amenities. Someone looking to stay in a vacation home could be just as happy staying in a villa that provides a similar stay experience. Moving forward, we plan to enable multiple ways for guests to easily find entire places, regardless of the property type.
- In alignment with growing privacy considerations, we’re seeing an increase in demand for entire places on our platform
- As the name suggests, entire places are listings that guests have entirely to themselves, with a private sleeping area, kitchen, and bathroom
- To highlight entire places and make them easier for guests to identify, we’ve rolled out features including labels and search filters
- These features can help partners appeal to a variety of traveler types, including families, remote workers, and long-stay bookers