Urban vs Leisure Destinations: How long do Guests stay?

Understanding the average length of stay for your vacation rental is an essential part of your revenue management strategy. The ultimate goal for any short-term rental revenue strategy is to maximise revenue and when it comes to revenue management, guests’ length of stay has a direct impact on the organisation of the property and its occupancy.

What is length of stay? Length of stay refers to the time-frame your short-term rental is rented for by a guest.

Urban and leisure destinations are particularly distinctive in relation to their length of stay. We have selected 5 leisure destinations and 5 urban destinations at random to see how the length of stay compares. Our findings suggest that urban destinations generally consist of short stay trips, whereas guests tend to spend more time in leisure destinations.

The graph shows the average length of stay from 2016 to 2018 in urban destinations.
The graph shows the average length of stay from 2016 to 2018 in leisure destinations.

Factors to consider

The impact of a guest’s length of stay varies depending on the market. There are necessary preparations that must be done between each booking that are affected by the length of stay; guest communication, check-in operations and cleaning. Short-term rental companies that operate in leisure and urban destinations often operate in very different manners and must take certain factors into consideration.

Guest communication

A shorter length of stay, which often leads to a higher rotation of bookings, means that there are a greater number of initial communications to have with the guests.

In leisure-type destinations, guests tend to have longer communications pre-arrival  since they stay for longer periods. If your guests are coming for a week on a family trip, they will most likely want to check on a number of amenities and confirm several queries before arrival. On the other side, urban guests tend to be more autonomous and will mostly focus on check-in instructions.

Check-in operations

A shorter length of stay and a quick turnaround between guests often requires having to be more on the ball with check-in operations. There are, however, certain steps you can take to facilitate quick turnovers and short-term rental services that work alongside property managers. For example, automatic locks allow guests to let themselves in. Properties tend to be small, such as apartments in cities, and so although check-in operations are more frequent, they are usually quick.

Longer lengths of stay cuts the cost of the initial meeting with guests and ensuring they are welcomed, the exchanging of keys and showing them around the property. Nevertheless, in leisure destinations, where the length of stay tends to be longer, check-ins can be more time-consuming due to the type of property. For example, properties are often larger and have more amenities, such as swimming pools, which must be explained.


In urban areas, where the demand for cleaning is often higher due to a faster changeover, there are certain barriers that property managers must overcome; lack of parking, constant supply of sheets, all cleaning equipment must be readily available, etc.

Due to a longer average length of stay in leisure destinations, cleaning is required less often. Nevertheless, properties must ensure that they are meticulously cleaned to meet guest standards.

Cleanliness is one of the major standards that short-term rentals must meet, yet cleaning logistics after each booking can be complicated. Short-term rental cleaning services, such as Properly, are available on short notice and help property owners organize their cleaning and changeover service.

Opportunities for property managers

Both Leisure and Urban destinations offer different opportunities linked to their typology of stays:


Business travellers are more common in urban destinations and even though they often stay for short periods of time, there might be a great opportunity to target those business travellers staying for long periods, too. There are some special channels for this, such as Spotahome, and you can also ensure you setup discounted prices for extended stays.

Another advantage of business travellers is that they often visit the same destination frequently and are more likely to want consistency with where they stay. If they enjoy the time spent at the property, they will be more inclined to stay again, which will lead to a potential opportunity to build up your direct booking channel.

Additionally, rapid turnover leads to a buildup of reviews in short stays: positive reviews reap higher occupancy rates. Competition is often high in urban destinations and so hosts must ensure they have excellent reviews to stay in the game.


When guests stay for longer periods of time, they may be more inclined to book activities. Cross-selling is about convincing customers to buy something else together with their stay. Do you offer additional services such as transport, meals, tours or classes? Can you hire bicycles, or do you have a tennis court nearby? Advertise these extras to guests when they book their stay. If you don’t have these facilities, you could do a partnership with a local company. We see a lot of creativity in cross selling businesses so take advantage of this and let guests know what you can do for them!