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A lot goes into booking an experience, and we know that understanding what leads guests to take that leap to book is valuable information for hosts. Airbnb Experiences researchers recently surveyed guests to get insight into their thoughts. 

They heard back from over 2,000 respondents with an upcoming trip booked who had searched for experiences with specific dates selected or had looked at least two experiences on the site. 69% of respondents were from the US, while the remaining 31% were from the UK, France, Germany, Korea, Italy, Spain, Russia, Japan, India, China, and Brazil. This means that there are some populations the team did not reach, but the results still provide some helpful insights. 

Keep in mind that these just the results from one survey. There will always be more to learn, and the research team hopes to continue to share their findings with you as more and more guests from around the world take experiences. 

Who’s most likely to book an experience? 

First, familiarity is key: respondents who had booked an experience before were much more likely to book again than those who had never booked an experience. This means that you can expect some of your guests to have taken an experience before and have an idea of how it works. 

Another takeaway from the survey was that someone’s age did not affect their likelihood of booking an experience. Of course, the type of experience you’re hosting will likely draw more of some age groups than others, but overall get ready for guests from a wide range of ages to be booking.

Takeaways

  • Expect guests of all ages to be interested in booking your experience. 
  • You’re more likely to have returning guests who have booked an experience before.

Why do guests book experiences?

Respondents said that experiences are appealing because they are unique. One said their goal was to do one unique thing in every place they visited. Another respondent who was traveling to Europe for the first time said that booking an experience was a way to have an interesting experience while not being overwhelmed. Guests seem to think about experiences as a way to do something that few other travelers would get to do, so showcase what makes your experience special on your page. What parts of your experience make it stand out from the crowd? 

Respondents also place a lot of value on local access. Having no insider knowledge and feeling like a tourist can easily distance a person from a place, so guests love the chance to gain a local perspective. One respondent mentioned that they like hiking, but that it’s difficult without local knowledge, so they’ll seek out someone to help them. Locals have the power to unlock a place for newcomers, so do your best to highlight how your knowledge as a local enhances your experience. 

Locals have the power to unlock a place for newcomers, so do your best to highlight how your knowledge as a local enhances your experience. 

Do you tell stories about the place’s history? Do you take them to areas that are normally hard to find? Including these details on your experience page can make a big difference.

Takeaways

  • Communicate how your experience is different from other options.
  • Help guests feel like they are a part of the local community. 

What stops guests from booking experiences?

For respondents who decided to not book an experience, there were a few reasons why. The most common barrier was price. Guests who did not book often saw experiences as being too expensive for what was offered. This is why it’s important to articulate to guests why your experience provides a greater value when compared to the average activity. Remember that the value comes from you! The cost of the experience does not just cover supplies and other expenses, but it also reflects the value of your time, skills, knowledge, and unique perspective. 

Remember that the value comes from you! The cost of the experience does not just cover supplies and other expenses, but it also reflects the value of your time, skills, knowledge, and unique perspective. 

This could also help convince guests who are unsure about the quality of experiences––many survey respondents mentioned this as well. 

The research team also noticed that many respondents who did not book were worried about scheduling time during their trip so far in advance. Travelers often prefer their time to be less structured, which means that they’re often those last-minute bookers. To help with this, some hosts have reported that reducing cut-off times for booking can help draw more of these guests.

Takeaways

  • Be specific about what makes your experience valuable to show why it’s worth the price.
  • Shortening booking cut-off times can bring in guests who don’t want to commit to a specific time too far in advance.

There are a lot of elements that contribute to whether a guest books an experience, and Airbnb’s research team is always working to figure them out. The ultimate goal of this research is to produce actionable insights for hosts, and we hope that you find it useful.