31st March 2018 by

Posted in Holiday Letting

Travel Giant HomeAway Maps Out 10 Most…

Data driven from one of the world’s largest booking and listing sites.

Texan vacation rental giant, HomeAway, who own the popular booking platform Owners Direct, and who themselves are owned by Expedia have used their customer data to map out the 10 most important amenities that holidaymakers look for when booking accommodation.

Originally a listing platform, HomeAway have seen huge expansion in their short existence, and in 10 years have overseen an overhaul in company ethos that has seen them engulf Owners Direct, create no less than 23 regional brands in 19 different countries, and move their platform from a simple listing site, to a booking giant. After the decision came over 3 years ago to sell themselves to Expedia, the company has moved on from posting a $162m US turnover, to over $4B in global turnover some 4 years later and is now one of the largest rival websites to Airbnb, TripAdvisor and indeed, it’s own brand in Expedia.

So the data they provide means we should take notice. Using key-customer data up to August 2017, the platform has provided the top 10 requested or searched amenities on their websites and cross-matched them with actual bookings to paint a picture of guest requirements, and this is something we would always sit up and take note of. Apart from providing home-like comfort and familiarity, certain amenities can go a long way in making your guests have the perfect stay. We’ve compiled a list of features that matter most to travellers, so when you’re listing your property, highlight the availability of the following:

Top 10 HomeAway features that matter to travellers

1) Wi-Fi/Internet:
The internet is indispensable. After all what is a holiday without check-ins, Instagram pictures, and ‘getting-away-this-Monday’ tweets! So make it a point to mention whether Wi-Fi is available (ideally, it always should be) and the speed too. Print the password out and make it easily accessible so that guests don’t need to contact you for it.

Comfort factor: Put in range extenders to ensure coverage across the house.

On the checklist: Internet bills are paid on time.

2) Air-conditioning:
This may not be critical for countries that are cold throughout the year (in which case a heater would be essential). But if your property is located in a hot/humid country or city, an AC is a must. Do ensure that the servicing is up to date; the remotes are working; and are placed where they can be easily seen.

Comfort factor: Keep some universal remotes that work for all units across your home.

On the checklist: AC remotes have working batteries. Ideally, provide a back-up of batteries too.

3) Kitchen:
Travelers [who book self-catering] choose a home-like environment, and a well-equipped kitchen will make your property more appealing to a potential guest. Do list out features in detail like dishwasher, electric kettle, coffee machine, cutlery, wine glasses, microwave, fridge, etc. If you have space in your home for barbecues, don’t forget to put in a mention.

Comfort factor: Stock your kitchen with non-perishable essentials such as coffee, tea bags, sugar, salt, pepper, etc. In case you also want to provide perishable items, do indicate expiry dates.

On the checklist: Garbage bags and garbage disposal instructions. Also, let your guests know about the availability of drinking water.

4) Television/Cable:
If there is one amenity that is most common across homes in the world, then it is the television. No reason then to give this one a miss in your home and listing. From movie marathons to TV series bingeing, holidays are perfect for just that. Include details like whether you have Cable TV, a Netflix account, Apple TV, and the like

Comfort factor: It helps to have one TV set in the living room and smaller units in bedrooms, allowing larger groups an option to choose their entertainment of choice.

On the checklist: Usage instructions and extra cables are made available. Remotes are working and in proper condition. And subscription fees have been paid.

5) Washer/Dryer:
Clean clothes are non-negotiable for everyone, and it is ideal to have your home equipped with a washer and dryer. Also, keep a clothesline and laundry basket for your guests.

Comfort factor: Make an iron and ironing board available.

On the checklist: The instruction manual is placed on top of the machine and the detergent powder/sachets are located close to it.

6) Children Friendly:
Your home must be child-friendly and if there are any toys, board games, gaming consoles, etc., do let your guests know.

Comfort factor: The little details also matter, such as a high chair for babies, baby proofing material, and door locks.

On the checklist: Earmark areas unsafe or dangerous for babies, like water bodies around your home.

7) Parking Included:
Many travellers opt to hire a car, or may even be driving down to your property in their own. The parking space around your home should ideally have a place for at least one car. If there is no parking spot available, include details of the nearest spot where guests can park their vehicle safely.

Comfort factor: If there is a stand for motorcycles/bikes/cycles as well, do mention it.

On the checklist: Include parking charges in your listing, if any.

8) Pet Friendly:
Pets deserve a well-earned break too. If your accommodation welcomes pets you should sing it loud and proud, as this is a huge advantage for many pet owners who otherwise have to make provisions for costly alternatives. Include details of the area which are pet-friendly, such as nearby walking trails and off-leash beaches

Comfort factor: Basket of toys – including balls, ropes and chew toys.

On the checklist: Food, water bowls and utensils clearly marked for pets. Local veterinarians and contact details.

9) Private Pool/Hot Tub:
While certainly not critical, do flaunt it if you have it! Since it does feature on the wish list of quite a few travellers. A private pool is a great attraction for potential guests, who’d like to unwind after a long day out in the city. If there is swimming gear available, do let your guests know.

Comfort factor: Mention details like indoor heating, depth of the pool, saunas, etc.

On the checklist: Pool maintenance records must be updated.

10) Heating:
This is important for colder countries and even the warmer ones that get cooler by the evening. As for all appliances, do ensure that the instruction manual is located close to where the heater is situated.

Comfort factor: Central heating systems are ideal. Also, ensure that the auto cut-off feature is available.

On the checklist: Heater has been serviced.