Hostfully: Transforming vacation rentals with local recommendations

US: This week, end-to-end property management platform Hostfully released its latest local recommendations report, and in this feature, co-founder David Jacoby and his team reveal its significance to the space to ShortTermRentalz.

This week Hostfully, a leading software company that makes property management software for vacation rental companies, released a 2019 market study titled “Transforming vacation rentals with local recommendations”. The study is based on data gathered from the Hostfully platform over three years, with customers creating more than 500,000 content pieces during that time.

Why recommendations matter to vacation rental managers

Hostfully found that local recommendations are considered by property managers as one of the most important components of a personalised vacation experience. Using the Hostfully platform, tens of thousands of managers have systematically incorporated personalised local recommendations for their guests, namely through digital guidebooks.

The study found that vacation rental travellers are more tolerant of questions from property managers because these travellers expect to do more planning, and by answering questions, travellers provide more data because they are communicating more frequently with the property manager. The market study notes that this is a hugely untapped business opportunity in terms of upscaling the experience, branding and lead generation.


The 2019 market study found that the most common type of recommendations from property managers are related to one thing: food. The top category, with more than double the number compared to any other category, is Places to Eat. This category accounted for 39 per cent of recommendations, attractions was next with 17 per cent of recommendations and the other frequent categories included activities, bars, shopping, and other.

An insight int0 Hostfully’s local recommendation categories [Credit: Hostfully]

Personalisation and Customisation

The study also showed that there were 300 custom categories that vacation rental managers created to better personalise the travel experience. The top custom category was beaches, followed by breweries, and wineries in second and third place, respectively.

According to the report, this is a signal as to the growing importance of local recommendations in vacation rentals. In 2016, Airbnb launched its experiences platform, which heralded the start of the mainstream booking platform push to further personalise the vacation experience. Now, Hostfully’s data suggests that the trend has continued a strong upward trajectory, with more managers than ever leveraging local knowledge to upscale the vacation rental experience.

It will be interesting to see in the future if its usage increases, and how travellers are interacting with this new form of personalisation. Hostfully has stated that it plans to issue a follow-up study that will show how travellers are interacting with local recommendations.

Learn More

For the entire report including local recommendation best practices, download the market study here at 2019 Market Study: Transforming vacation rentals with local recommendations.

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