Luxury rentals are winning over the classic hotel holiday
The idea of going on holiday to someone else’s home is relatively new. For many, it was not even a consideration until home swapping websites and disruptive tech like Airbnb normalised the sharing economy some 10-15 years ago. Let’s get real here, the service a hotel provides is still far superior to the average Joe’s spare room. From the crisp, freshly laundered sheets, room service and 24-hour reception, in many cases hotels win hands down.
When it comes to finding a viable holiday option for today’s discerning travellers, however, a new trend is emerging. Consumers still enjoy the perks a hotel offers but they also need privacy, space and freedom. Welcome to the “next-level” of holiday rentals that merges the best of a hotel and rental accommodation in one, giving today’s savvy holidaymaker what they want on their terms.
Some of the world’s finest hotels are not only special, they are iconic, like Claridge’s in London, or The Plaza in New York. These establishments are much more than a place to stay, they have a romanticised image and give kudos to the lucky traveller who gets to experience them.
The best of hotels, from business to buffets
Hotels are undeniably big business. Even in 2021 with the obvious travel restrictions, hotels will bring in around $2,071m in revenue for the year in Spain. (Source, Statista.com) From high-end to budget chains, when it’s vacay mode: on, hotels across the full spectrum of star ratings give many benefits: Housekeeping (of course with the option of “do not disturb”), room service, porters and facilities like conference rooms or hairdressers on-site to name but a few. As we are emotional creatures at heart, it’s those little extras that really seal the deal and tug at the heart strings. Who hasn’t revelled in taking a sneaky second tour of the pastry aisle at a hotel buffet breakfast? And if you’re anything like us, finding your room freshly prepped with those fluffy white towels and little shampoo bottles gives us a spring in our step. That’s the hotel “feel good” factor, one that clients don’t want to lose.
Guests who want it all want a different kind of holiday
So what’s the catch with hotels and why are more and more upscale clients shunning them in favour of rentals? Despite the obvious plus points, there are some drawbacks. Breakfast and meals tend to have set hours, so guests are effectively living under someone else’s rules. Do you really think clients who are used to the “always on” mentality and instant gratification want to be told when to eat? For many the lack of a kitchen is equally disempowering. Consumers are increasingly health conscious and need their meals prepped a certain way. It’s far easier for guests to remain in control of their nutrition if there is a private kitchen, even if the idea of eating out every night sounds good in theory.
When it comes to actually staying in a place for more than a couple of nights, even stunning hotel rooms with a sea view don’t measure up if there is not enough room to properly relax. Sharing of common areas and facilities like pools and gyms adds insult to injury too. Some of us just don’t want to share, or prefer to workout in private. Furthermore, the trend for extended families and groups to holiday together means they need more room to live, breathe and make noise. A holiday is supposed to awaken the spirit after all, not dampen it with rigidity.
The next level luxury hybrid
Aparthotels have existed for years, offering travellers autonomy with a kitchen and laundry facilities. Well, what if the benefits of a home-from-home could be merged nicely with hotel style perks and service for the customer who expects the best and won’t compromise?
The new breed of rental combines excellent service with the autonomy a private residence offers. First there is the neutral décor. No one wants to see photos of someone else’s family they don’t know or people’s personal effects. We say, “keep it clean”.
At Swish, we include white freshly pressed sheets and towels, high quality textiles, beauty amenities, 24/7 concierge and client services in our rentals. Whilst you don’t get some of the perks such as a porter or buffet breakfast, you do get privacy, space, a fully equipped kitchen to cook for loved and little ones, the ability to host friends and family and even space for pets in some instances.
As well as privacy and the ability to be self sufficient, there are also financial benefits for large groups who choose luxury rentals, as it works out cheaper per head compared to the cost of separate hotel rooms.
Experiences- the new currency
The psyche of the holidaymaker is evolving. Experiences are the new luxury currency. The need to explore a place and its culture is paramount to give you that feeling of having really lived a little. In a rental with a sense of “home”, guests can peruse local farmer’s markets, go grocery shopping and practise the lingo, or even enjoy simple pleasures like opening a bottle of wine on the terrace or in the garden. This gives a more rounded experience to the holiday than the often one-dimensional, shiny veneer found in hotels.
So, is it curtains (standard issue black out ones of course) for hotels? Not exactly. There is still a very relevant market of those who want the services on offer and who do not mind compromising on privacy and space. Couples benefit more from hotels than large groups and of course anyone who has a secret fetish for pastry or can’t resist the mini bar. (We know who you are!) For the rest of us, and the more discerning traveller who has to be in control of their holiday destiny, hotels need to up their game.