Sponsored by: Expedia Group
By Hari Nair
Consumers all over the globe have experienced a change of pace in day-to-day life, and, with this, many opportunities have emerged for those in the vacation rental industry. Expedia Group’s recent research, including “What Travelers Want” and “The Traveler Value Index” brings actionable data to the hands of hosts, helping them to improve guest experiences, and drive reservations and revenue. The findings are a great reminder to the industry that while some behaviors or preferences may have changed due to the pandemic, people are really ready for a vacation.
This pent-up demand for a vacation is evident, with the research finding 75 percent of travelers claiming that a vacation would make them happier than a new smartphone. Additionally, more than three quarters of working adults are placing more value on vacations, so much so that 66 percent of them have now created a travel bucket list as a result of the pandemic.
Travel Is a Higher Priority
According to the Traveler Value Index, 18 percent of respondents have stated that travel will be the outlet they spend the most money on in 2021, on par with home renovations but topping entertainment, buying, or maintaining a car, and even healthcare. The pandemic also shifted value toward adventure and the opportunity to have new experiences, with 75 percent of travelers likely to choose a destination they have never been to before, and 22 percent of them planning their next trip to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Key Takeaways for Hosts
- Travelers want a longer vacation. Many individuals now have the flexibility to work from almost anywhere, making the dream of an extended vacation more realistic. Hosts can expect to have guests add an extra night to their weekend trip or book a month long stay for a change of scenery, especially if there are incentives such as discounts, work areas, or pet-friendly facilities.
- Travelers want flexibility. The research also found that when searching for possible properties, one in three travelers filter their selections by a refundable cancellation policy. This is remarkably consistent worldwide, with the ability to get a refund if plans change being the number one value to travelers.
- Travelers want to envision their stay. The modern-day traveler wants more details on a property before booking their stay. This can include things such as cleanliness policies, parking information, and description of amenities, all of which can influence an individual’s booking decision. Furthermore, 40 percent of people believe that reviewers are more important due to the pandemic, and approximately 70 percent of travelers are willing to pay extra for properties that have their favorite amenities and services. The right details, especially if sourced from their peers, can be an incentive for guests to book, stay longer, and pay a premium.
- Travelers want to see their personal values in travel destinations and those that supply them. Research indicates that the public is seeking out sustainable travel practices and would like to see these sustainable actions in their destinations—nearly three in five travelers are willing to pay additional fees for their trip to be more sustainable. Data also shows that some of the most common themes noted in guest reviews were sustainability and environmentally friendly travel. Some 65 percent of travelers are also likely to book a trip if the property is owned by women or people of color, inclusive of groups such as those with disabilities and LGBTQ+.
Providing an Amazing Experience, Each and Every Time
Vrbo, which is part of Expedia Group, recently launched a campaign, Doing Together Together, showcasing the pride hosts have in being able to share their home with others and offer them a wonderful experience they would not get to have in otherwise. Vrbo is committed to continuing to provide insight and guidance for hosts to help them successfully grow reservations and revenue and give each and every guest a wonderful stay.
Hari Nair is the senior vice president and general manager of Lodging and Activities Account Management at Expedia Group.