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One in 10 Americans has now used a short term rental portal such as HomeAway or Airbnb, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. These home-sharing services attract a broad age range compared to other sharing economy apps (like ride-hailing service, Uber), which tend to skew younger. Different generations, however, crave different services when they book a vacation home and as a host, recognizing these distinctions will boost your occupancy rates and generate more five-star reviews.
Baby boomers – the generation aged between 51 and 69 – cited health, cost, and family commitments as barriers to travel in 2015; however, they were still responsible for 80 percent of travel expenditure last year, which totaled more than $150 billion. This generation is willing to pay more for luxury and convenience, and they value face-to-face interaction more than any other age group, according to eHotelier.
By 2017, Baby boomers will make up 50% of the country’s population and are the fastest-growing demographic on Airbnb. As more adults in this age group turn to the sharing economy for cheaper accommodation, attract this market by showcasing local activities like wine tasting and hiking tours in your property listing.
Also, 65 percent of baby boomers look for culture when they travel so include information about must-see local landmarks – like galleries, theaters, and historical sites – in your listing to encourage more bookings.
Gen Xers – the “baby bust” generation that spans 1965 to 1984, love vacation rentals, as specified by the Joint Center for Housing Studies. The median age for those who use home-sharing services is 42, according to the Pew Research Center; however, awareness of rentals is higher among Gen X members who have a college degree and generate an income of $75,000 or more per year.
As a host, tapping into this market can provide you with lucrative results. Studies suggest that Gen X members are likely to be nature lovers, activity seekers, and cuisine-driven travelers. They also have a burning desire to explore with 71 percent of travelers in this age group hungry to learn about their destination. Here’s where a good house manual comes in. Sending your guests your manual – which should be jam-packed full of information about local restaurants, museums, and attractions – via email helps them plan their vacation before they arrive. Having this foresight could lead to more positive feedback on your Airbnb or HomeAway page. (For more on why reviews are so important, read here).
Millennials – the generation born between 1982 and 2004 – are far more likely to be influenced by social media than baby boomers and Gen X members. Tour operator Topdeck Travel surveyed 31,000 people from 134 countries and found that 76 percent of millennials thought friends’ opinions were an important factor when determining a travel destination and were more likely to listen to social media recommendations than travel agents.
Millennials seek out property listings with lots of content on rental portals such as Airbnb and VRBO. They want quick, concise information about what makes a rental different from the rest – excellent amenities or access to public transportation, for example – and details about the local area, such as top hiking spots or the best restaurants.
In addition, 74 percent of adult millennials used a vacation rental when traveling for work, compared to only 20 percent of baby boomers, according to a recent study by travel brand Hipmunk. You can attract these business travelers with features like a laptop workspace and amenities like a hair dryer and steam cleaner.
No matter the generation, travelers all across the age spectrum have become increasingly aware of rentals. Tailoring your property listings to a particular age group and incorporating different features into your home will instantly improve the attractiveness of your listing and could ultimately increase your booking rate.
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