How to Attract Domestic Travellers to Your Holiday Home

People outside holiday home

With COVID19 calling a halt to international travel and holidays abroad, domestic tourism and staycations are enjoying something of a boom. For holiday home hosts who previously welcomed guests from around the world, this means they now need to focus on attracting domestic tourists, and their needs are different. Here, we outline some strategies to help your holiday home appeal to people looking to travel within their own country.

By Stef Scott, Content Marketing Manager and Cassie Pryde, Account Executive

Reduce minimum nights stay

As the summer season comes to a close, domestic tourists who still want to travel this year are looking for short breaks and long weekends rather than week or two week long stays. If your minimum stay is high – e.g. set to 3 nights or longer, or you only allow bookings for week long stays, this won’t help to attract domestic travellers.

Our most successful properties are the ones offering shorter stays. Our data shows that the most popular length of stays are 1,2 and 7 nights. Properties with a minimum of 3, 4, 5, or 6 nights simply won’t appear in searches made by weekend or professional travellers. Reducing the minimum number of nights people need to stay can result in twice the number of bookings.

Domestic staycations are where it’s at right now. Property owners need to flex their approach to appeal to domestic travellers. It’s amazing what lowering your minimum nights stay can do to improve your visibility on the booking sites. Drop your minimum night stay and you’ll automatically appear in many more searches.

Cassie Pryde, Account Executive, TravelNest

Flex your cancellation policy

Family in a safari tent

COVID19 means that travellers need more flexibility in case their plans change. This means that your cancellation policy is really important – many travellers are now only searching for properties that offer a flexible cancellation policy. Many channels have a filter which removes listings with strict cancellation from search results. We recommend going with the most flexible cancellation policy you can to attract bookings.

Having a more flexible cancellation policy gives guests additional confidence to book your property during times of uncertainty - with the knowledge that they won’t lose out. I always recommend being as flexible as you can with your cancellation policy, as this has a noticeable impact on bookings.

Cassie Pryde, Account Executive, TravelNest

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Lower your booking notice period

The booking notice period (also known as advance notice period on some channels) refers to the number of days notice you require before a guest can arrive. Domestic travellers are often looking for a last-minute break, so we recommend keeping your booking notice period as low as possible to attract impulse travellers. One day’s notice will help you attract last-minute bookings from domestic travellers who are located fairly near to your property and can travel there within a day.

Allow children and pets

child and dog

If you don’t allow children and pets in your holiday home, this significantly reduces your bookability. Think about who domestic travellers are – parents with younger children, couples with a dog, parents travelling with grandparents and young children and families with teenage children etc. They are your new target market, so it makes sense to cater for families as much as possible. You’ll also make things much easier for pet owners by allowing them to bring their furry friends on holiday, rather than paying the additional cost of boarding kennels.

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Review your amenities

games console

Staycation guests are looking for opportunities to relax, unwind and get away from it all. They may also spend more time in the property rather than going out and about to busy tourist spots. You can boost your appeal by adding specific amenities which will ensure your property is a real home from home. Check out the ten amenities no holiday home should be without! Repurposing some of the space to provide somewhere for guests to work is also a good idea as they may need to work remotely for some of the time.

Guests may prefer to stay in and cook rather than going out to restaurants, so make sure the kitchen is well stocked. The minimum you should be looking to include should be a good range of cutlery, decent crockery and cookware (pots and pans etc), as well as sharp knives, plus a kettle, toaster and coffee maker. We recommend going for high-quality, so go for the best you can afford. Appliances like a blender, food processor, weighing scales, juicer and even a cocktail kit can also make all the difference to your kitchen and the enjoyment of your guests.

WiFi is one of the biggest necessities in modern vacation rentals. And it’s not just for kids either … we’re all accustomed to being able to readily get online wherever we are – for some, not being able to do this could ruin an otherwise restful holiday. Also consider adding services like Netflix and Amazon Prime to your amenity list. It’s no surprise that staying in is the new going out, so your guests will appreciate being able to keep up to date with their favourite shows, or watch a good film.

Lower your damage deposit

For the majority of booking sites, guests are expected to pay your damage deposit in full before they arrive. However, during the uncertainty of COVID19, people are far less keen to pay a large damage deposit upfront, particularly for a short break or weekend stay. If you have a large damage deposit, you risk losing out on bookings to competing properties who offer more flexibility.

We recommend lowering your damage deposit so that your property is more affordable. We partner with Pikl, a specialist insurer for vacation rentals. Having specialist insurance in place eliminates the need for a large damage deposit and immediately makes your property more attractive to potential guests.

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Big up the local area - especially rural spots

Glen Etive, Scotland

The impact of COVID19 has had a significant impact on traveller behaviours, with clear trends emerging in favour of domestic travel to rural locations rather than high density urban areas. If your property is in or near a rural location, play up the benefits of this in your listing headline and in your property description too. Let potential guests know all about what’s on offer – be sure to mention local beauty spots, parks, beaches, nature reserves, woodlands and open spaces they can visit.

Summary

COVID19 has knocked the wind out of property owners' sails. However, by thinking differently and attracting domestic travellers, they can set a steady course to gain control over their business. I’ve seen bookings significantly increase for TravelNest owners who follow these recommendations. If you're willing and able to tweak your listings, increase flexibility and open up your property to domestic travellers, you can reap the rewards!

Cassie Pryde, Account Executive

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TravelNest gets your property seen in all the right places. We can list your property on over 30 of the best booking channels including Airbnb, Booking. com, Expedia, HomeAway, TUI and TripAdvisor.