Talking with a friend who hosts in a major urban area in the US. She said that she sometimes gets so so "location" scores because guests aren't willing to walk more than a block or two. Her space is close to some pretty major attractions but not close to the true city center which is about a mile round trip (1.6 kilometer) or 5 blocks each way. Of course this is all clearly stated in the listing. Her space is in a great area and she has high rating overall but some guests are upset at what they say is "driving distance." And parking is a bear where she's at.
Personally I love walking as long as I'm not caught in a blizzard or wearing uncomfortable shoes. Do you find that guests are reluctant to walk? How far is "walking distance" for you?
Americans (stereotypically) are legendary for not walking more than a few hundred metres. It's a gross generalisation, but compared to Europeans, it's not entirely an exaggeration. Europeans do a lot of walking.
So, that begs a few questions, such as, why are they coming without a car? And do you note the distance to the nearest supermarket, restaurants, cafe, bars are in your description?
We're located 2km from the village shops, testosterone, bats, etc., and while that's not insane for most Europeans, we still tell all guests that a car is essential. Don't book it unless you plan to hire a car. But they still do occasionally show up without a car... And then complain about it. But only occasionally.
@Elaine701yes, I think I am a very atypical American in that I don't drive at all due to an accident years ago and walk or use a taxi/ridesharing service for any daily travel where walking is not possible. My husband drives and we used to carpool together to work pre-COVID. People I know are absolutely fascinated that I don't drive and cannot for the life of them figure out how I manage to exist!
This is what happens when I don't correct the auto correct on my phone 🙄
I must have hit "t" instead of "r" when spelling "restaurants" and "bars".
But we also aren't terribly far from testosterone if that's what guests are looking for. Surely as a Berliner, you're familiar with the "Ballermann".
@Laura2592 My place is a 20 minute walk from town and the beach. None of my guests have driven here and only 2 guests ever, have rented a car, one because she had signed up for sailing lessons in a town a 30 minute drive away, the other because he was here on business.
I am really clear in my listing about the 20 minute walk and it's one of those things I use to determine whether a guest has fully read the listing info- " Hi XX, thanks for your request. Just want to make sure you're aware that it's a 20 minute walk from here to town and the beach".
I also advise that they bring comfortable walking shoes.
So all of the guests are prepared for that and almost all have said they really enjoy the walk- it's good daily exercise and pleasant. Only one woman, who was 70, found it a bit much and said her feet hurt because she wasn't used to walking that much on a daily basis. But it was just a comment, not some major complaint.
And if guests find it onerous or stay in town late, a taxi costs $5.
P.S. I would never say "walking distance", because that is subjective. I say 20 minutes, more or less, depending on how brisk a walker one is. Some walk it in 15 minutes, some 25.
IMHO it is not just the distance in km, but how interesting it is.
I used to live 20 min walk from the main square and now I live 25 min but in the other direction. To me, it seems like the distance is double just because there are not so many parks and shops on my way now so it's a bit boring. I used to go to the main square every single day... and now I go maybe 4 x in a year. Remember... it is just 5 min walk difference!
It depends on where you are.
20 min. walk :
-in a rural area, forest, near lake...
-across busy streets,
-across well maintained city park,
-near the beach
-on a quiet street, full of gift shops, coffees, bakeries and restaurants...
The same 20 min. walk. But if you are the person who walks...the feeling will be absolutely different.
There is a beautiful park on the harbor about a mile from my listing that I walk to all the time, but I'm not aware of any guest walking to it. I list that its a safe neighborhood for walking, jogging etc.
The walking tours in the city are popular. I include detailed info about all the different parking options. Also the downtown area has free bus service and I encourage them to download the Transit App and provide a map of the routes. I tested them all playing tourist one day and it was fun. If you stand at any bus stop in the world it will tell you exactly how far away your bus is in real time. Also Uber and Lift.
I would include a map in the listing with the distance from specific places of interest. Host almost always claim they are much closer to places than they actually are. One guest said she always doubles whatever is listed.
Guest also don’t always read the listing either. I included a map in the pics for the distance to the center of the city. If young guest inquire about walking distance and don’t plan to drive I suggest a place in the city as it’s a $10 Uber each way, although other young guest say it’s easy Ubering in reviews. I really try to find the right place for every guest. Always a challenge.
Hi @Laura2592 , The title of my property is "Brevard Cottage: Walk to Town-Music Center-Trails." I do think this title helps guests click onto the listing page. Immediately I specify that what I consider walkable is "just less than a mile." I have not had any complaints except from one couple who commented privately under a 3 star review for location: "Little too far to walk to Town, If weather was good , bike would be easy." All other guests have rated us 5 stars for location. Most of our guests are super fit and have hiked/biked from our cottage over impressive distances--one exceeded a marathon distance!
We are in a rural southern town here... if your friend is in an urban city, I might have her emphasize that "living like a local" means lots of walking! I lost 5lbs+ on my last visit to NYC... I loved the walking and the weight loss :). Make it a selling point! Although I hardly think a 5 block walk is a long distance...
I totally agree with @Branka-and-Silvia0 that it's not so much the distance as the terrain. The grocery store, restaurants and shops are less than 1 km from my listing, but people seldom walk, and I specifically recommend that they don't, because there are no sidewalks and it's a busy road and there is nowhere safe to walk. If it was a city or a town with infrastructure, it would be an easy amble.
For driving distances, stating mileage works, because drivers understand that. For walking distance, stating the approximate time it takes to walk is better, IMO, as those who aren't used to walking could have no concept of how long it would take them to walk a mile.
@Laura2592 On the rare occasion that someone tells me they plan to travel to Berlin by car, I'm obliged to tell them that while parking on my street is free, someone will probably set their car on fire overnight. My listing bigs up the walking, cycling, and public transport options, but this is actually the hardest part of town to get to if you're entering the city by car. And perhaps the worst if you still want that car to exist when it's time to go home.