Great guest experiences happen everywhere

How guests decide where to stay

What do guests look for? Here’s what we know.

It’s a question for property owners around the world, from friendly little guesthouses to five-star hotels: What do guests actually want?

With more than one million properties on the site, at Booking.com we’ve learned a lot about what travellers want and how they look for a place to stay.

So, how do they tend to search? The most-used filter, once people have selected their destination and dates, is price, as you might expect. But there are some facilities and services that seem more important than others.  

Under the ‘Facility’ category, travellers tend to think practicalities first, with ‘Parking’ the most-chosen filter, followed by ‘Swimming pool’ and ‘Spa & wellness centre’.

And when filtering by ‘Guest rated’ score, the most-chosen range is not the top tier of ‘Superb: 9+’ but one tier down at ‘Very good: 8+’, perhaps because that suggests somewhere special that might still be affordable. The score range of ‘Superb: 9+’ is the second most common choice. And our testing shows that review comments about staff and cleanliness also have a big impact on where people book.

In the Meals category, ‘Breakfast included’ is by far the most popular selection, and research firm JD Power also recognises the power of a healthy morning feed. According to its recent research, the most important amenities to guests are free Wi-Fi, breakfast and parking.

When it comes to selecting a property, reviews remain the deciding factor. Our testing shows that volume of reviews can be key: having engaged guests is seen as the ultimate proof that a place is good, especially if reviewers also reveal a little bit about themselves. When people include personal information such as age, location and a real image as their avatar, they are more likely to be trusted. And the details of what they write are vital too, according to Adrienne Enggist, Booking.com’s director of product.

‘When we ask guests in testing what they are looking for in reviews, it’s always for insights that are not in the actual property descriptions,’ she says. As always, it’s the small details that count.

In numbers: the world’s greatest experiences

In brief:

  • The most common filter that guests use when searching for a property is Price.
  • ‘Very good: 8+’ is the most commonly selected ‘Guest rated’ score.
  • Having breakfast included is very important.
  • The most selected facilities are Parking, Swimming Pool and Spa & wellness centre.
  • Testing shows that review comments about staff and property cleanliness can have a big impact on bookings.