Industry Insights

Google’s New Travel Insights and How to Act Upon Them

December 08, 2021 |

Google just released its Think with Google Next Gen Travel Report, converting billions of travel-related searches over the last several months into deep insights on consumer behavioral patterns and trends. 

You can access the full report here, but to make your life just that much easier, we’ve distilled this information into short-term rental property management action items you can tangibly use today. 

1. Are You Prepared to Meet Pent Up Demand?

Despite the emergence of new COVID-19 variants such as Delta and Omicron, Google has recently logged an 800% boost in searches containing the question “can i travel?” and a 100% increase in searches containing the phrase “travel to.” Guesty data indicates a similar uptick in demand. US Christmas reservation volume is 469% higher than 2020 and 157% higher than 2019, and Christmas reservation volume in the UK is already up 433% compared to where it stood in 2020.

Guesty’s Christmas 2021 booking data

Property Management Action Item: To meet this demand, you will need to adopt a data-driven approach and have a clear pricing strategy in place. Seek out analytics and revenue management tools that will help you automate and easily configure your rates according to your specific market. To maximize the opportunity presented by this holiday season, identify high-performing properties, and investigate how to improve low-performers. 

2. Flexibility. Safety. Repeat.

Traveler expectations have changed drastically over the last two years, but all can be funneled into two categories: safety and flexibility. 57% of consumers expect bookings to be flexible, and 59% are concerned about their safety. 

Property Management Action Item: If ever there was a time to implement a flexible pricing strategy, this is it. The revenue that might be put at risk will be made up for by attracting guests actively seeking these options. If you couple flexible booking policies with contact-free experiences such as digital check-in and check-out and contactless keyless access, you’ll be able to position and market yourself as a prime option for an ever-growing COVID-era segment of travelers. 

Watch this Guesty Virtual Meetup for ideas on how to market yourself as a COVID-safe option

The Next Generation of Travelers Is Here, and They Want Experiences

There are 151 million millennials and Gen Zers with $350 billion spending power in the US alone. More than half of Americans are millennials or younger. And when it comes to traveling, they’re not seeking a place to stay as much as an experience to be had. Per the report, 43% of these “Next Gen” travelers are “seeking experiences that are new to them.” 65% are inspired by digital content to plan their trips. Judging by Guesty’s State of Confidence in the Short-Term Rental Ecosystem report, the industry is already heeding this call, with 24% of surveyed property managers and travel industry leaders stating that guest experience is a key area of investment for them this year. 

Property Management Action Items: Focus your attention on opportunities to offer memorable and authentic experiences to your guests during their stay. First, take stock of your location. What partnerships can you form with local businesses to create holistic experiences for your guests? For example, is there a restaurant near your property renowned for its local cuisine? Offer guests booking a stay at your property, a private chef dinner at the restaurant, or even better at your property! Are there any natural or urban attractions near your rentals? Communicate that within your listings’ information and encourage guests to explore the neighborhood. You can also use a wide array of tech vendors to offer your guests specialty tours, discounts for local services, workshops, and more. 

Stress-Free Is the Way to Be

41% of all traveling generations this year are, understandably, searching for stress-free stays. With this much uncertainty in our everyday lives, guests’ tolerance for any “unplanned surprises” is at an all-time low and can transform even a small hitch into a terrible review.

Property Management Action Items: At times like these, fluid, consistent, and reliable communication is absolutely crucial to alleviate guest anxiety and preempt service blind spots. Implement tools that will streamline and funnel your guest messages across multiple OTAs into a centralized hub so that you never miss a query. Additionally, use tech to automate your guest journey messaging flows, providing instructions upon check-in and check out and updates as needed throughout their stay. 

Insights Into Action

To recap, here are the action items you should consider implementing today to be better prepared for tomorrow:

  • Deploy revenue management strategies to meet this upcoming holiday season’s pent-up demand for travel.
  • As much as it makes sense for your business, offer guests flexible booking options, and strongly consider adding touch-free amenities to your property, such as keyless entry and digital check-in and check out. 
  • Remember: Millennials and Gen Z travelers are prioritizing experiences over anything else. Find creative ways to meet these expectations. Use your surroundings to identify opportunities. 
  • To alleviate guest stress, use tools to help you centralize and automate your communication channels. 

Want more insights served as action items? The Guesty blog updates regularly with new helpful articles, and our virtual meetups are sure to provide you with the inspiration and knowledge you need to make decisions that will have an immediate and tangible impact on your business.

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