What is attracting travellers to home stays instead of hotels?

New research from Populus gives us insight into what travellers dislike about hotels, and how home stays are changing the hospitality game.

The decline in hotel popularity

New research has found that hotel-style touches like fresh linens and towels, professional cleans and certified health & safety standards are the key to encouraging more people to stay in homes when they travel. More than a third of all respondents (38%) felt a homestay offered much better value for money than staying in a hotel, and more than a quarter (29%) said it was a more spacious option.

This study of 2,000 GB adults has found that the best thing about staying in a hotel is the fresh sheets and towels (63% of adults saying this was one of the best things). Among the other top reasons for staying in a hotel were having an included hotel breakfast (57%), nice quality beds (51%) and a daily room clean (47%).

Many adults are clear that all hotels have their qualities, but aren’t necessarily of the best value: the biggest negative factor was bad value for money for a room (47%), followed by noise from next door (45%).

Sofa with clean linen

Hotel horror stories driving the rise of homestays

Populus surveyed 2,000 people on behalf of UnderTheDoormat between 14 and 16 July 2017. Although statistics show that tourists are still more likely to choose hotels over homes for the certainty of hygiene, comments from respondents show that this is not always guaranteed. The survey reviewed UK adults and their experiences of staying in hotels, B&Bs and home stays.

Once booked to stay at a hotel in London and found that the sheets and cover throws were full of poo streak marks … We went to complain, and were told that if we were not happy, we should leave.

I arrived at a hotel in Corfu, Greece and found the previous guest’s sick still on the balcony. The room looked nothing like the pictures with wonky light switches, dirty walls, etc.

There was a huge tree overhanging out balcony, and there were hundreds of ants.

The restaurant looked like a canteen, and there were cockroaches on walls outside the rooms.

When we finally found our B&B – it was in the middle of nowhere – there was bird poo all over the bed.

I once arrived at a bed and breakfast to find an un-cleaned room, with cups and glasses that had not been washed, an unmade bed and dirty towels on the bathroom floor.

Please contact us for a more detailed breakdown of the research results:

Will home stays take over?

Despite the rise of Airbnb giving travellers the ability to stay in someone’s spare room or enjoy their whole home, two-thirds of British adults (65%) have still never stayed in a home when travelling. Research results have concluded that a large part of the reason why this is the case, is the fear that sheets might not be fresh and the home could be dirty. The same study discovered that this uncertainty about what state the home will be in is the most off-putting factor about staying in a home (49%).

The primary upsides are that homestays typically provide much better value for money (38%) and just more space in general (29%). 68% of adults say that they would be more likely to do so if the home is professionally cleaned before and after each guest stay.

Given the huge untapped market of potential guest stays, this suggests that the key to the continual growth of home stays is to combine the strengths of each options: the space and value for money of staying in a home, with hotel-service benefits and certainty that the sheets you sleep in are clean.

UnderTheDoormat: The best of both worlds

UnderTheDoormat provides a fully managed holiday rental service for both homeowners and guests. It launched in 2014, after its founder, Merilee Karr, had a bad experience renting a home in Switzerland – she turned up to find that it had been left dirty, and that she was expected to spend the weekend cat-sitting.

Merilee created UnderTheDoormat in order to give guests the experience of enjoying the comfort of a home, while receiving the professional service of a hotel. The staff prepare each home, provide a professional photoshoot, handle all marketing and guest enquiries, and carefully match the guests to the homes. As standard, they also provide a professional cleaning service, hotel-style fresh towels, bed linen, toiletries and welcome gifts to enhance your stay.