Trends & Insights

New research provides insight into long-stay booker behavior

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

Longer stays are on the rise, with various types of travelers 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 from the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia, the UAE, and Japan. These travelers 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 travelers 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 traveled was for “leisure” – to go on a vacation to rest and relax, no matter the length of stay. Interestingly, 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 travelers 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 traveled with, the people in this cohort traveled with their spouse and children if they have them. Only about one in five of these travelers ventured out on their own.

Domestic vs. international

With so many people restricted from traveling internationally in the past year, it’s no surprise 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 longer than two weeks are more likely to be international.

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

Long-stayers (eventually) favor vacation rentals

The preference for large hotels decreases notably as stays get longer, ultimately shifting to vacation rentals. For example, of those traveling for up to two weeks, one in three booked a large chain hotel, but only one in five who traveled 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 traveling 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 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 traveling longer than two weeks. If you offer amenities like this, it’s worth indicating them on the Extranet so 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 neighborhood info and reviews than short-term guests. If you put together your own local guide for guests, consider including info that someone staying longer would find useful. This might include public transit routes, the location of the nearest post office, or a list of nearby co-working spaces.

A longer book window for longer stays

The majority of travelers we surveyed booked accommodations 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 accommodations 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 travelers 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 vacation and work-related travel, but one notable exception involves solo travelers. While couples were more likely to book further in advance, solo travelers 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 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 on the Extranet.

Visit 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 traveling 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 travelers
  • Some accommodation details become more important as stays get longer like dedicated workspaces and washing machines