We typically judge a destination by its tangible assets, be they natural or cultural, but a new survey out from vacation rental site HouseTrip.com serves as a good reminder of one overlooked factor that can make or break the travel experience: a warm welcome.
The London-based company, which operates on a similar model to Airbnb, wanted to find out which European city was the “most welcoming,” and asked researchers to scan more than 130,000 reviews to find out the average “enjoyment” score for stays in Europe’s top 30 most-visited locations.
In the end, it was Budapest that researchers found offered the warmest welcome in Europe. The Hungarian capital received more five-star, post-booking reviews from previous guests than anywhere else on the continent, though Lisbon and Amsterdam were not far behind.
“Budapest is a consistently good option because costs are so low,” explained HouseTrip CEO Arnaud Bertrand. “Travelers feel like they get what they pay for and more, which leads to them feeling happier and more satisfied with their stay.”
HouseTrip found that seasonality had a considerable effect on a traveler’s view of a city. Budapest, for instance, did not rank No. 1 in any season of the year, but maintained the highest score overall. Broken down by season, Amsterdam was seen as most welcoming in autumn, Berlin in winter, Paris in spring and Rome in summer.
“Knowing where to travel is incredibly dependent on seasonality. Yet, sunny climes don’t necessarily mean you’ll get a great experience,” Bertrand noted.
“While it may seem like a great idea to go to Paris in the summer, our reviewers say otherwise as the annual emigration of locals and empty streets transform the city of lights into one of darkness. Meanwhile, Berlin’s cold streets might turn people off a winter visit, yet its friendly locals and cozy bars mean that our guests love the experience.”
Across Europe, HouseTrip users found the warmest welcomes during the coldest time of the year: February. Conversely, they found the coldest welcomes during the warmest time of year: July and August.
More Findings From The HouseTrip Study:
-Budapest was also the most welcoming city for a large group of friends, followed by Amsterdam, Berlin and Istanbul.
-Barcelona was the most welcoming city for a multigenerational family, followed by Budapest, London and Amsterdam.
-Paris was the most welcoming city for couples, followed by London, Amsterdam and Berlin.
-Madrid was the most welcoming city for solo travelers, followed by London, Barcelona and Berlin.
-Istanbul was the most child-friendly city, followed by London, Lisbon and Berlin.
-Lisbon was the most pet-friendly city, followed by Rome, Madrid and Berlin.