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 1 million properties on the site, at Booking.com we’ve learned a lot about what travelers want and how they look for a place to stay.

So how do they tend to search? The most-used filter—after people select their destination and dates—is price, as you might expect. But there are some facilities and services that seem to be more important than others.
Under the “Facility” category, travelers tend to think practicalities first, with “Parking” being the most-chosen filter, followed by “Swimming Pool” and “Spa.”

When filtering by the guest-rated “Review Score,” the most-chosen range isn’t the top tier of “Superb: 9+” but one tier below at “Very Good: 8+” – maybe because that suggests somewhere special which might still be affordable. The score range of “Superb: 9+” is the second most common selection. In addition, 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. Research firm JD Power also recognizes the importance of a healthy morning start – according to its recent research, the most important amenities to guests are free WiFi, breakfast and parking.

When it comes to selecting a property, reviews remain the deciding factor. Our testing shows that the 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 info such as age, location, and a real image as their avatar, they’re 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 guests use when searching for a property 
is price.
  • “Very Good: 8+” is the most commonly selected guest-rated “Review Score.”
  • Having breakfast included is very important.
  • The most selected facilities are “Parking,” “Swimming Pool” and “Spa.”
  • Testing shows that review comments about staff and property cleanliness can have a large impact on bookings.