When it comes to guests deciding between accommodation options, not all information is created equal. Of course, the two biggest factors are price and location. After these, what other information do travelers care most about on a property listing?
This question was answered by 42,513 respondents across 33 markets.* According to them, here are the five most important factors – and some ideas for how you can best tap into each.
1. Reviews from other travelers
Reviews from other travelers were almost universally the most important factor after price and location.
This was consistent across all generations, and traveler reviews were actually cited almost three times more often than reviews from known sources like journalists and travel bloggers.
Of those who mentioned looking at traveler reviews when booking, 63% read the most recent reviews, and an equal share say they look at both positive and negative reviews (54% for each).
Responding to guests was also seen as important, with 35% of respondents saying they look at responses to reviews from accommodations. That shows it’s worthwhile to respond to guest reviews in a timely, courteous manner.
2. Room photos
The second most important factor globally was room photos.
This is considered especially important for European travelers, including guests from France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria.
Guests should have a clear and realistic representation of your property from the photos when booking. Some tips to really make your shots shine include:
- Offering clear, bright, and flattering views of your property at its best
- Capturing every room in your property from a variety of different angles
- Highlighting your property’s main rooms, features, and unique details that will captivate travelers
- Using a camera that can take pictures in high enough quality and resolution to work effectively across various digital platforms
3. Accommodation facilities
The third most important factor globally was the accommodation’s features, such as kitchens, hot tubs, and air conditioning.
Providing potential guests with clear info on the facilities at your property not only helps inform a guest’s decision, but can also manage their expectations and prevent any disappointment during the stay, which could affect their review.
For more insights on which facilities can have the most impact, check out our article on the 8 vacation rental amenities you should be showcasing.
4. Free WiFi
Free WiFi remains an important consideration globally. If you don’t provide it, you risk deterring travelers from booking your property.
While important for everyone, this factor is particularly valued by long-stay guests. If you want to attract long-term bookers and work-from-anywhere guests, this is definitely one to highlight.
Make sure your welcome pack includes all the relevant info so it’s easy to find, such as:
- WiFi log-in details
- Instructions to reset the router (in case there’s an issue)
- Terms and conditions on use
5. Cancellation policy
Another important factor among travelers is a cancellation policy.
Offering guests greater flexibility doesn’t have to mean extra costs or risks for you because guests are often willing to pay a premium for the peace of mind it brings.
That’s why an industry best practice is to offer different rate plans—such as a flexible rate that allows guests to cancel along with a cheaper non-refundable option that lets guests modify their reservations—to benefit from interest in both.
You can offer even more flexibility—and sell up to 30% more nights as a result—by joining our Smart Flex Reservations program, which means if a guest books but cancels, we’ll help you look for a replacement.
Getting your listing right can have a big impact
Offering potential bookers the right info at the right time can help them pick your property over all the other available options.
On Booking.com, we offer all pages a property page score based on the content partners upload about the listing. Our research shows that properties with 100% completion get up to 18% more bookings than properties with incomplete content.
But once you get a booking, how can you personally stand out to guests? Find out with our article on what makes a great vacation rental host.
*Research was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who had taken a trip in the last 12 months and planned to take another in 2023. The sample comprised 42,513 respondents across 33 markets. Respondents completed an online survey in January or February 2023.
- After location and price, reviews from other travelers are the most important factor for potential bookers
- Room photos are very important – make sure they’re clear, bright, flattering, and realistic
- Free WiFi is important too—especially for long-term guests—so invest in it, highlight it, and make it easy for guests to use
- A flexible cancellation policy remains important to many guests and doesn’t have to mean increased costs or risk for you