8 Types of Vacation Rental Guests (And How to Cater to Them)
Owning a vacation rental business means people flocking in and out of your properties all year round — guests from all walks of life, all personalities, travel experience, and parts of the globe. As a vacation rental owner, you want every guest to feel welcome and accommodated. Though no guest is the same, there are certain kinds of travelers you may come into contact with fairly regularly and it’s worthwhile learning how to cater to their needs. Being able to recognize the kinds of travelers staying in your place will help you improve the guest experience and make sure guests leave wanting to come back. Here are some common types of vacation rental guests and how to make sure they have the perfect trip while staying in your place.
The First-Timers are exactly that: inexperienced travelers who have probably never experimented with lodging options beyond hotels. Staying in a vacation rental for the first time might be new, a little intimidating, and maybe even scary. They may have spent hours scouring Airbnb, Booking.com, AllTheRooms, VRBO, and more before finally deciding on your place to stay. You’re tasked with making quite the first impression. Luckily, there are numerous ways to help make this type of traveler’s stay in your place nothing short of memorable.
A good way to start with First-Timers is to make sure the process is completely understandable and accessible from check-in to check-out. Igloo Home, a smart key and lock service, makes check-in and check-out a fool-proof breeze, which First-Timers may greatly appreciate. Igloo Home also allows vacation rental owners and managers to unlock the property using a PIN number or Bluetooth Key, both of which can be programmed for the exact length of the guests’ stay. Ease your First-Timers into a smooth and efficient welcome with automated keys and locks.
Another thing to focus on with First-Timers is safety. Despite its growing popularity, many travelers may think of vacation rentals as less safe than a traditional hotel room. Make sure you advertise your location’s rock solid safety on the listing site to attract First-Timers that may be a little hesitant to trust something relatively new. Fibaro is an industry-leading home security automation company that provides both sophisticated software and trusted hardware to make sure every safety base is covered. Fibaro offers smoke sensors, flood sensors, door and window sensors, smart key fobs, and much more. Their in-house services are all controlled by “The Button,” a bright red button that activates and deactivates all systems. Make sure your First-Timers feel safe and protected throughout their stay.
The Business Traveler
The Business Traveler isn’t exactly on vacation. This traveler is more about getting in and out and doing their job. That isn’t to say this traveler doesn’t also want to enjoy their stay, but efficiency is the main goal. The Business Traveler tends to book throughout the work week and return for more business trips in the future. This is a key type of guest to understand, cater to, and continually attract.
Make sure to incorporate fast digital payments (via PayPal, Stripe, Wave, etc.) and digital check-in and check-outs (a major plus for self-check-in). This traveler’s time is money needs to be appreciated, so ensure every process in your vacation rental is efficient. Your rental should be stocked with self-care and maintenance supplies, ironing tools, excellent WiFi, an open and uncluttered closet, toiletries, and a coffee-maker. Handy is a great maintenance and task management app for making sure your rental is always in tip-top shape for these business travelers.
The Honeymooners are on their ultimate vacation. This is the vacation they have had booked months, or maybe even a full year, in advance. This is the vacation at the end of the tunnel of wedding planning. The cherry on top of their big day. A celebration of their newly minted marriage. The first page in their new chapter as spouses. This is a moment. A memory to last a lifetime.
Honeymooners–or other kinds of couples on vacation–tend to flock to romantic, secluded, low-key locations. If you have this kind of vacation rental property, flaunt it to its best ability with quality photos and charming descriptions (photos really make a difference). With Honeymoon travelers, it may also be best to be a little more in the background as a host in order to give them their space. Try apps like Yoomando, which completely digitizes and revamps the traditional brochure. List all local recommendations, sights, and attractions in one place. Honeymooners will appreciate being given their space while being able to access your insider tips through an app.
Group Vacationers are large packs of friends and family on vacation to have a good time. They are looking for group fun, adventures, and parties. It is important to keep in mind that they will most likely want to do things as a group, so consider that when tailoring local recommendations.
Group Vacationers tend to be people sifting through endless vacation rentals on listing sites, looking for homes spacious enough to accommodate them comfortably. If you have this space, make sure the photos on your listing emphasize your properties interior and exterior space. If your vacation rental property happens to have party features like a hot tub, surround sound speakers, or outdoor furniture, it’s a good idea to highlight these accommodations on the listing site.
Something to keep in mind with Group Vacationers is property management and maintenance. Partysquasher is an app that lets owners track the number of people in their vacation home and set a capacity limit. Once a limit is breached, an alert will be sent to the vacation rental owner or manager’s phone. This is a great way to make sure this fun-loving group doesn’t get too out of hand. Roomonitor is another great mobile app to control noise and respond to incidents in real-time. This group is probably paying more to stay in a larger vacation rental, so providing a positive experience while protecting your assets is a win-win for both owner and guests.
Big Families on the go are similar to Group Vacationers. However, Big Families may come with small children or elderly grandparents. It’s important to make sure you are catering to the family as a whole. Like First-Timers, Big Families look for safety first. Make sure you advertise your place’s safety features on the listing site.
Guidal is a nifty way to cater to Big Families who may be juggling an assortment of generations. Guidal is a digital concierge desk for easy guest check-in and check-out. Owners and managers can store guest information, local recommendations, directions, and more on this app to share with guests. Remind guests about important scheduling, times, and events. This is also a convenient way to recommend family-friendly activities that everyone will enjoy.
The Instagrammer staying in your vacation rental is all about aesthetics. This traveler can be vacationing through a sponsor, meaning the images and videos they post is for paid marketing. The Instagrammer may have thousands or even millions of followers so it’s important your place looks nothing but amazing in the background of their pics. They are essentially marketing your home to their followers. Make sure your home is as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The app Houzz is a great way to spruce up your place’s interior and exterior design. The site boasts thousands of photos for decorating inspiration. Capture this type of traveler’s attention with beautiful scenery that may increase your property’s chances of going viral.
Remember to emphasize your vacation rental’s location too. If your vacation rental property happens to be close to all the hustle and bustle of the city center, clearly advertise that point. Instagrammers are looking for that perfect shot that encapsulates the heart, soul, and energy of the city so as to put out quality content online. Let these travelers know they will be near the action when staying in your place.
Senior Citizen Travelers
Senior Citizen Travelers are another kind of traveler you may frequently encounter. Some may be retirees looking to experience as much as they can during this new chapter of their life while others may be looking for a more laid-back and relaxed vacation. Recommendation and guest-communication apps, like Yoomando and HelloThere, are also great to keep exploring retirees happy and on-the-go.
To cater to Senior Citizen Travelers, make sure all home management and maintenance is taken care of and easy to understand. House manuals are a good idea to include in-house for these travelers.
The Solo Traveler
The Solo Traveler is more of an enigma. This person is doing something that most people don’t do alone. However, traveling by yourself can be an enriching and fulfilling experience. This traveler can be a First-Timer just taking the plunge abroad or an experienced traveler who enjoys seeing the world solo. They could be looking for a short-term rental or a long-term rental. It may be hard to read a Solo Traveler and gauge their needs so talk to them beforehand or during their stay about what they want out of their trip.
Solo Travelers appreciate attentive host assistance, like a helping hand guiding their time spent in a foreign city. The hospitality app, HelloHere, provides direct communication between host and guest. Through HelloHere, owners and managers can list all home amenities, services, schedules, recommendations, directions, and much more. Be able to keep in touch with the Solo Traveler throughout their stay and make sure they’re always well accommodated.
About the author: Emily Russo is a writer based in New York. She loves traveling, meeting new people, reading, and being outdoors. She hopes to travel to Italy 500,000 more times in her lifetime.