SEOUL, Mar. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Guesthouses continue to gain popularity in South Korea amid a growing number of solo travelers, but some are choosing to forgo these small lodgings establishments following a number of crimes targeting vulnerable guests.
According to data from big data analysis firm Daumsoft, the number of online posts mentioning ‘guesthouses’ jumped nearly 3.6 times over the last five years, from 86,076 in 2012 to 313,586 last year.
With rooms typically going for 20,000 won to 30,000 won, and often located close to tourist spots, guesthouses have become some of the most popular holiday accommodations among young travelers, leaving behind more pricy options including hotels, resorts, and rental cottages.
At the same time, negative perceptions are also on the rise following a series of crimes at guesthouses.
The data showed nearly 6 in 10 posts portray guesthouses in a positive light, while nearly 4 in 10 viewed the communal accommodations in a negative light between the second half of last year and last Monday.
The figures for positive and negative posts about guesthouses stood at 86 percent and 14 percent between the latter half of 2014 and the first half of 2017.
“Since the latter half of last year, the three most used keywords with guesthouses were Jeju Island, murder, and women. The shift reflects the growing negative perception of guesthouses in the wake of a recent murder case at a guesthouse,” Daumsoft said.
While hotels, resorts and rental cottages were mentioned online in relation to ‘family’, guesthouses were mentioned among young people travelling with friends or alone, with the two most associated keywords being ‘friends’ and ‘alone’.
“When travelling alone, guesthouses were the lodging of choice, while hotels, resorts, and rental cottages received little to no mention (among solo travelers),” Daumsoft said.
When it comes to holiday destinations, Jeju was by far the most mentioned place in close relation to ‘guesthouses’, while Seoul followed next. Among foreign cities, Japanese cities dominated including Osaka, Fukuoka and Kyoto.
Some of the most popular tourist spots on Jeju Island include Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, Udo Maritime Park, and Mt. Halla among solo travelers who prefer to stay at guesthouses.
The big data study was conducted based on online posts that were uploaded on blogs, Twitter and news websites since 2014.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)