Travelers today want to be at home in the world, no matter where they find themselves. But because home means something different to everyone, meeting that desire is complicated for accommodation providers. A survey commissioned by online booking industry giant Booking.com found that travelers’ wish lists include a variety of amenities, from subjective (a comfortable bed) to practical (free Wi-Fi) to specific (a waterfall shower).
At least one ingredient remains consistent. Behind every outstanding guest experience is a host who expended time, effort and resources to ensure its success. Booking.com honored accommodation partners that consistently excel in this area with its 2016 Guest Review Awards.
Booking.com connects travelers with an immense global inventory of incredible places to stay, including resorts, B&Bs, villas, apartments and homestays. The 2016 Guest Review Awards recognized 355,535 properties in 205 countries and territories. Accommodations from the top 10 most awarded countries account for 56 percent of that total: Italy (53,005), the United States (24,761), France (23,003), Germany (18,221), Spain (18,037), the UK (16,514), Austria (12,659), Greece (12,439), Croatia (12,219) and Poland (10,399).
Given travelers’ growing preference for home-like lodgings, it’s no surprise that rental options such as apartments, vacation homes and villas dominated the perfect 10 review score category. Properties in this sector accounted for 70 percent of the 486 awardees to receive the coveted perfect 10.
Booking.com relied on a vast in-house resource to calculate partners’ scores—their more than 110 million posted guest reviews. To ensure authenticity, only guests who have actually stayed at an accommodation can review the property, and comments are not edited or adjusted. These policies enable users and accommodation partners to trust travelers’ feedback and use it to instruct decision making regarding where to stay and how to best serve guests.
“We not only help guide travelers to find their perfect stays, but also empower our accommodation partners to stay up-to-date with evolving customer expectations, including what travelers appreciate most about their property, as well as what can potentially be improved,” said Remco van Zanten, global director of partner services at Booking.com.
Reviews are part of that equation; the commissioned survey adds another component. Survey participants provided insight into what turns a stay into an experience. A helpful, professional staff (91 percent) and a personal connection with the host (59 percent) are essential for a majority of guests. Having those elements in place equips a property to incorporate the guest-specific details that make for a memorable stay.
In that regard, Booking.com and its partners seem to be succeeding. The total number of properties to receive a 2016 Guest Review Award outpaced the 2015 total by 25 percent.