Vacation Rentals vs. Hotels: What Amenities Do Consumers Really Want?
By Kacey Bradley, Lifestyle Blogger for The Drifter Collective
There was once a time when travelers had only a handful of places to choose from when traveling, and all of them were hotels. Nowadays, though, there's almost no limit to where they can stay, and that's all thanks to the vacation rental industry, which has opened up locals' homes and apartments to short-term tenants, too.
There's so much variety in vacation rentals, it may seem impossible to decipher what consumers want in general from this type of lodging. However, the following are must-have features, whether you're renting a bedroom, apartment or luxury villa.
A Local Experience
Local flavor is potentially the most important feature a vacation rental can have. Many travelers look to property rentals as a way to avoid an overly touristy experience. Instead, they choose a property that's in an authentic local neighborhood where they can blend in with the residents, sample their go-to restaurants, shop at their favorite shops, etc. In many cases, a hotel can't provide this same level of immersion.
To that end, vacation hosts can work to make their properties fit this bill by providing local tips, tricks and even restaurant menus — the latter is a proven feature guests like.
Hotels have rooms side by side by side. In a vacation rental, though, guests can spread out and feel more comfortable in their quarters. That is important for landlords to keep in mind — a small bedroom or tiny apartment might not fare well with travelers. But an entire home, guest house or apartment will provide space to spread out.
Before choosing where they want to vacation to, renters they must consider the ease with which they can travel to and from the place where they'll stay. It might be something as simple as providing a parking spot so families driving to the beach won't have to worry about their cars. Or, you could have to update your property's listing to include information regarding airport transfers, nearby train and bus stations, etc. At a hotel, front-desk staff can answer questions, arrange shuttles or call taxis, but at vacation rentals, that's not possible. Before someone rents your place, they'll want to know if they can easily get around or not.
Imagine you're welcoming your rental's guests into your actual home. What would you offer them after a long day of traveling from their place to yours? Providing your guests with a welcome snack, as well as tea, coffee, fruit or other nibbles for the rest of their stay, will make a lasting impression. If they have kitchen access, be sure to have essential supplies on hand so they can whip up their own meals, too.
As for hotels, consumers demand a separate set of must-haves from their stays. These are just three of them.
The Standard Conveniences
A hotel's website often waxes poetic about the extra features and amenities that make the property unique. But hotel guests care most about having the comforts that make their hotel stay convenient in comparison to property rental.
For instance, a 2018 study revealed the most-used amenities included ones that might seem pretty run-of-the-mill: toiletries, printing and business facilities, valet parking and comfy seats in the lobby were some the most frequently used features. That's not to say more luxurious additions won't draw in clients, too — but it's most essential to start with the basics and build from there. Otherwise, your potential customers will hop to another hotel that's sure to have those little luxuries on hand.
A hotel will appear to be the safer option to many guests who opt to stay in your facility over a rented property. They won't have to worry about the property's surrounding neighborhood or its many exits and entrances. Instead, they can rest soundly knowing they need a keycard to enter the elevator, side doors and even their room. Plus, if there's any trouble, they can call and have a staff member help out. Again, this might seem standard, but it's the comfort of a hotel, and it's what guests want.
On top of that, many guests will require the use of a safe to protect their valuables when they're not on site. Be sure to add one to each guest room so they can feel even more secure than they do already.
Finally, your hotel has a significant advantage in its staff, which aims to ensure each guest has a superior stay. It's impossible to overstate the importance of regular cleanings, laundry services and room service. At resorts, you'll want to add even more onsite services, such as spa technicians, fitness instructors and skilled chefs, to make the hotel more than just a place to sleep — it needs to be a luxurious, convenient experience, because that's what your guests want from this type of stay.
Each option has its pros and cons, and every consumer will weigh those before booking. But these are the most important features to consider so the customers you draw in will stick around — and come back for more visits.