If you’re an experienced independent vacation rental owner, chances are you have pretty strong images of your guest profile. These will guide your marketing decisions.It could be a middle class family with 2 small children, into active holidays, keen on the outdoors. Or, a middle-aged couple, keen on luxury and fine dining, interested in visiting scenic attractions. You get the picture?
Glimpses of the bigger pictureSo I perked up as I browsed Vacation Rental Industry Trends, a presentation from the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) 2015 European Seminars. What intrigued me were glimpses of the bigger picture of our potential guest profile and their preferences. Although the report focuses on Europe, it still raises some interesting points about the guest profile of our target ‘travelers’ or ‘guests’ as I prefer to call them. First off, families are in a majority with 55 per cent of long-stay holidays in UK vacation rentals taken up by family groups and family groups with friends. An indicator that hotels are losing out to vacation rentals is given by the comparable figure for hotel occupation at 35 per cent of guests composed of family/friend groups.
Guest profile is brighter than averageNo real surprise there, but the same report also reveals that a very high proportion of frequent users (in Europe, remember) are married. College graduates make up more than half of the frequent vacation rental users with the brainiest found in the UK and France. If you have guests from these countries, maybe it’s worth reviewing the bookshelf space in your rental! The report also looked at the reasons why ‘travelers’ are choosing vacation rentals and avoiding hotels. Among the reasons cited by travelers were:
- The ability to cook meals as necessary
- Access to kitchen, laundry and other ‘home-like’ amenities
- Having private areas such as pools, gardens etc.
- Plenty of room/space for everyone
- To enjoy an authentic local experience
- Vacation rentals are interesting and unique
- Rentals are appropriate when you have just a few people.
Things we may need to address?Where we as independent vacation rental owners did not score as high as hotels was on:
- Perceived safety and security
- Perceived luxury accommodation.