Holiday rental website HouseTrip has announced a new partnership with EasyVoyage.com that accompanies new features like the Local Food Guides as their product offering develops.
The partnership with Easyvoyage.com, a travel information and comparison website, will list HouseTrip's private accommodation options within the website's search engines and websites. This partnership came about after Easyvoyage found that 30% of all travelers across their markets preferred to rent a house or apartment while on holiday.
Beyond this inventory supply partnership, HouseTrip has been focusing on improving their products for users.
Unlike Airbnb, who has created a broader Neighborhood Guide product, HouseTrip has decided to focus exclusively on food. This is a smart differentiator, as food is one of the most exciting parts of travel for many who use P2P accommodations services, oftentimes using money saved by not staying in a hotel on food around town.
The Local Food Guide is also a full-featured product, impressive in its own right as a tasty take on the food scenes in several European cities. The guides feature local experts that provide their insider tips, including local markets and recipes.
These are a perfect addition that highlights one of the most-prized reasons to rent a home or apartment: access to a full kitchen allows for self-catered meals.
By delivering true local recipes, and tips on places to buy the right ingredients, HouseTrip is encouraging an immersive local experience that will enhance the guest experience - and thus hopefully lead to customer loyalty as the vacations meet and/or exceed expectations.
HouseTrip's Ryan Levitt answered the following questions about the new product.
What inspired you to launch the Local Food Guide? Why is it important?
At HouseTrip we passionately believe that a holiday rental is a better experience than a hotel.
This theme goes deeper than simply recommending unique apartments and villas across Europe; we also place huge emphasis on the importance of experiencing a destination like a local.
We encourage guests to immerse themselves in local neighbourhoods and to do more than merely scratch the surface of a city. Food is a fundamental part of this experience, offering travellers exciting new sensory experiences.
We wanted to create a food guide, which empowered our customers to discover some of the very best food spots across major European destinations, covering beautiful food markets, unmissable local delicacies, and vibrant local restaurants. We also wished to guide visitors to the blogs and websites of some of Europe's best food writers and experts.
The food guide is a celebration of local food and local food experts, as well as a resource to allow holidaymakers to truly immerse themselves in local cuisine.
How does the Local Food Guide fit into your customer's travel life? Will it be available to them on their smartphones during a trip? How do you anticipate they will use it - or, even better, how are your current customers already using these guides?
The Local Food Guide was initially designed to assist in the pre-planning and consideration stage of the travel research / buying cycle, but we found, almost immediately, that it would have utility in our booking confirmation emails, as a move to 'lengthen' the experience on what is a very intangible product, booked many months in advance. We have already seen our Customer Service team start to reference it in communication with customers who have booked a stay in one of the featured cities.
In short, while we're still early in the journey, we've been having excellent feedback from customers, which has galvanised our belief in creating remarkable and useful content for travellers.
Currently, users can enjoy the food guide on their desktop and tablets, however there are also helpful downloadable PDFs, which our customers can download and take with them on holiday.
Please describe in more detail what the product is, how it came to be, what you hope to accomplish with it, and the process you undertake to get a comprehensive overview of a local food scene.
Undertaking research for the Local Food Guide is a time-consuming and yet extremely rewarding process. For each destination, it begins with a comprehensive survey of the local food scene with the intention of tracking down the most respected and credible local experts. After carefully considering their varied strengths and specialist areas, we outreach to our chosen experts with an invitation to contribute.
Our contributors are the stars of the piece – they are what make the Local Food Guide such a genuinely useful and exciting resource for travellers. Every single one was extremely helpful and forthcoming with their advice and expertise, and we simply couldn't have made it without them.
We hope that guests to these cities will step outside of their comfort zone to try the myriad of delicious local dishes and delicacies, and visit the fantastic selection of local markets. Our ultimate goal for the guide – which is an ongoing, evolving piece of content – is to empower all our guests to experience authentic and vibrant local cuisine, whatever their destination.
Why has local become so interesting in the travel space over the past few years?
That's a great question, and I think we have to look at a trend that is much larger than travel. Across multiple sectors, most visible in print and television advertising, we've seen a big shift, with authenticity and experience at the front of many customers’ minds. We can only make assumptions as to how technology has influenced this trend and educated customers, but it's a very interesting shift.
One size doesn't fit all, and it hasn't for a long time. We're seeing customers grow more confident in booking individual components of their holiday, sometimes with a great degree of complexity, including tours, which bypass the obvious tourist attractions.
The major attractions will always be popular, but we're certainly seeing a movement, right across travel, where customers want the opportunity to experience what a destination is really like. This attitude can be seen throughout all facets of the holiday experience – it can be as simple as taking a photo of Broadway Market in Hackney to illustrate London rather than a photo of a red telephone box.
“Local” offers the opportunity to get past the sanitised view of a city, and, for many, create genuinely memorable (and enriching) experiences.
These guides focus completely on food in specific cities. What is it about food that ties a traveler's experience to place?
Food, like the local population of a destination, is one of the key (and often underestimated) components that differentiate destinations. From the spice piles in the souks of Marrakech, the curried tomato sauce and currywurst of Berlin to the vibrant food stalls that make up an entire map of food markets in London, to experience local food is to really experience a destination.
Food is, therefore, essential, and we see a clear alignment between local food and HouseTrip, as the vast majority of our holiday rentals feature private kitchens, allowing customers to prepare meals using all manner of local produce at their leisure.
This feature was recently released. What is your process for growing this product moving forward?
Our immediate priority is the expansion of the guide. We aim to cover a much broader range of European cities, and are currently undertaking the necessary research. We are also looking to expand upon our current guides with even more remarkable food related tips.
An example of the Local Food Guides can be found here, for Amsterdam.
In other HouseTrip news, the company has new executive appointments: ex-P&G Director and Movember marketing advisor, Zaid Al-Qassab , is the new Chief Marketing Officer, and former Google, Twitter and Guardian Media Group Product Manager Sharath Bulusu, is the Chief Product Officer.
The company's releases states, "Both roles are new to the executive team and were made to build HouseTrip’s brand presence in the competitive holiday rentals market. The appointments come just ten days after HouseTrip launched its first-ever television ad campaign in the French market."