Tourists or Travelers: Learn What Vacation Rental Guests Are Looking For

June 8, 2022

Is there a difference between a tourist and a traveler? Who are the tourists? The travelers? There are clear generational divides in how people are staying in vacation rentals. So, how do you appeal to a diverse range of guests? 

Then there are the constant shifts of industry travel trends to consider. So, that may leave you wondering, what do guests want?

Be careful who you brand as a tourist. Guests who just want to go on vacation and see all the sights, won’t mind it, but it may be received negatively by those in the younger generations who are clued up on sustainability and value experiences over the materialistic. They’re travelers now. 

Travelers are more likely to trip stack, exploring as many cultures as they can, they’ll eat like a local, and will be set on discovering secret spots. So, how can you help travelers achieve the perfect stay, whilst still providing for the vacationer?

How to set your vacation rental up for every type of guest

By generation

One booking site says its average age of traveler in 2022 is 27 years old. There are 80 million Millennials in the US alone, making them the country’s largest demographic. And according to Deloitte’s 2022 Travel Outlook, Millennials and Gen Z took more trips last year than any other age group. So, it’s vital to be aware of their needs if you want to up your bookability this coming season. 

Gen X and boomers on the other hand took fewer trips, fewer flights, were more likely to travel in small groups, and over half took shorter trips. Younger generations are less likely to take shorter trips and more likely to travel with more than one person, so provide comfortable accommodation suitable for groups and extended stays. This will also appeal to the 76% of Americans who are prioritizing family travel this year. 

Appeal to younger guests by partnering with local attraction providers to offer accommodation packages with included discounted activities in the nearby area, at no extra cost to them. 72% of Millennials want to spend more on experiences than possessions. 

And what about their juniors, Gen Z? TravelAge West has dubbed them as the ‘adventurers’ as over half plan to take international trips. They also grew up during the rise of technology, which means they’re likely to be attracted to smart rentals. Meet both Gen Z’s demands, and provide in-room tech like voice assistant SmartHost that offers deals on nearby adventures, by partnering with Xplorie

Every generation rates safety as a top travel concern. Installing smart home technology, such as keyless locks and monitoring systems which immediately notify guests and property managers of any issues, helps guests feel more secure as well as provides higher protection of your property.  

By values

Younger generations have a heightened awareness of world issues such as sustainability and environmental damages caused by the overuse of tourist hotspots. Due to this, they’ll be seeking eco-friendly, people-empowering trips. Research shows 69% of Gen Z feel strongly about responsible travel and are three times more likely to volunteer when traveling compared to Gen X and boomers. 

They’ll be careful with spending and are likely to choose to contribute to local economies over worldwide restaurant chains or tour providers. You can offer this opportunity by partnering with attraction providers in the community. Guests will have easy access to the authentic experiences they desire and as an added bonus you’ll also be boosting the area’s economy. 

These types of guests will be attracted to lodging providers whose values align with their own. So, improve your vacation rental’s sustainability by stocking it with eco-friendly/locally bought amenities, enabling recycling, and using environmentally safe cleaning products. Install tech solutions to reduce energy usage and streamline business efficiency. To go the extra mile, get eco-certified.

By experiences

One of the top 2022 activities travelers are interested in is self-guided cultural tours, as people seek authenticity. Other highly-rated attractions include trying new cuisines and visiting new places where they can learn about local culture and history. 

Help guests plan their perfect vacation by using smart tech to give recommendations in the local community personalized to them. SmartHost, created through a partnership with Amazon Alexa, is an in-room virtual concierge able to answer accommodation, activity, and destination-specific questions.


Key takeaways

Tourists or travelers? There are more than two types of guests and what they want varies from sightseeing to self-guided tours. But, it’s easy to attract a wide range of traveler types with digital self-service technology that allows you to offer a tailored vacation with personalized recommendations for activities, dining, and more! 


Xplorie is the leading platform in guest acquisition and retention solutions for leisure lodging providers. Since 1996, Xplorie has leveraged local and complementary activities to help lodging providers differentiate their properties, improve guest loyalty and increase top-line revenue. To learn more about how Xplorie enables lodging providers to deliver an unforgettable vacation experience to guests, visit