One surefire way of measuring success as a vacation rental owner is through the amount of guests that return for another stay at your little slice of paradise. Repeat renters provide an easy way to boost bookings and offer a financial opportunity that cannot be overlooked. As long as you do your part in delivering a pleasant experience for all guests, it should require minimal effort to obtain another reservation if they were to visit the area again. Previous guests already know what to expect, but for someone who is completely unfamiliar with the property it will take a bit more encouragement to convince them to book. So seize the opportunity and push yourself into providing an exceptional experience for every visitor, impressing them initially will give you a greater chance of booking them again and spreading positive word of mouth. Here are a few simple tips that will help guide you in the right direction:
Take a critical eye to your current listing. First and foremost, make sure that absolutely everything is up to date. Have you refurnished your home or added any new amenities over the year? Maybe your phone number has changed? Give yourself every advantage possible by keeping your listing current and making it easy for interested travelers to contact you.
While giving your listing the once over, try revamping your photo gallery by adding new images of your rental. The changing of seasons provides the perfect occasion for updating your profile. Especially if your home is located in an area that typically attracts travelers during the winter or summer months, featuring your home’s exterior in all its glory during a specific season will certainly increase your listing’s curb appeal. Not only does it tell potential guests that you are tending to your profile on a regular basis, but it also allows them to immediately start imagining themselves vacationing in your home. Also, the more pictures you provide, the greater your chances are of attracting travelers. Having a sizable collection of photos that showcase your home provides potential guests with a thorough preview of your relaxing rental, making them more comfortable with committing to a reservation.
Along with featuring your home through photos, be sure to highlight every amenity in your written description no matter how trivial it may seem. If you don’t include even the most minor of appliances people may assume that you just don’t own it. They could then mistakenly use it as a greater reflection on what the rest of your home offers, so don’t sell yourself short! Details play an important role in your listing’s description, so instead of saying “fully equipped kitchen” make a list of the appliances and cookware you offer. Being able to make home-cooked meals is one of the many benefits in renting a vacation home over a hotel room, and having a state of the art kitchen provides you with a competitive edge over other rentals so be sure to highlight every amenity it has to offer. Providing details over just saying “fully equipped kitchen” will allow your written description to come to life for the reader.
Another way to set you apart from the competition is by offering guests the opportunity to upgrade their experience. An easy way to do this is through providing them with a list of luxury services from trusted local businesses. This can range from a housekeeper or personal chef to a tour guide or nanny that will help facilitate a truly stress-free vacation. This also provides a great opportunity to build relationships with these local organizations that can then lead to discounts and promotional offers that can be passed along to your guests. Reaching out to local eateries is a great place to start. With restaurants eternally competing with one another, guaranteeing them customers in exchange for a special discount that you can treat your guests to is a win-win for everyone.
Be a customer service extraordinaire! Being a responsive property owner indicates to your guests that they are a priority and will allow them to feel more comfortable with placing their full confidence into you and your rental. A quick and easy way to accomplish this is just by being prompt when responding to travelers’ emails and phone calls. Taking even as much as a day to reply could result in a lost booking as your rental is most likely not the only one they will be contacting, so it’s important to respond to all inquiries within a few hours.
Once a reservation is booked, if you want to really be seen as exceptional try to anticipate the potential concerns of your guests. For instance, when you send the contract that will finalize each traveler’s booking include a list of items that they may want to bring. This will help to minimize any confusion on what is to be expected when staying at your home.
Another way you can stay ahead of the curve is by calling your guests a couple of days into their vacation. This will give you the opportunity to address any immediate issues they may have, and by doing this you’ll be making it clear that you are the type of owner who truly cares about every detail of your guests’ experience. If a visitor were to run into an issue, you need to decide ahead of time whether you will be Mr. Fix It or if hiring someone will be a better option. Keep in mind that taking on the responsibility of maintenance man is a 24/7 job, so why not leave it to the professionals? This resource will make it easier to address concerns immediately since the role of a rental owner already requires you to wear many other hats.
Following up with guests after they leave your home gives you another opportunity to impress them with your customer service expertise. A simple way you can do this is by sending them a thank-you note expressing your gratitude. This will help strengthen the relationship that you’ve put the effort in to create as it allows you to keep in contact with past visitors. Another way to keep in correspondence, depending on the extent of your record keeping, is through offering them special discounts during times of the year that hold significance for them like a birthday or anniversary. Offering a free night’s stay if they book your home for a three day visit during that particular period gives them a sense of being catered to, and who doesn’t enjoy feeling like they’re being given individualized attention? Reaching out to guests during dates important to them will make you stand out as a vacation rental owner.
The rental experience begins with the booking. Securing a reservation is just the first part of the rental process, so if you want to reach superstar status as an owner providing personal touches becomes critical to your role. Assembling a package of local treats and items that showcase your destination’s unique character will immediately welcome your guests and provide them with a snapshot of your region’s culture. Along with the local goodies enclose a guide for enjoying the area’s nightlife. Include a list of restaurants, comedy clubs, and any events that may be happening during their stay like festivals and fairs.
Go a step further and include in your welcome package themed itineraries that will help to guide them through the area’s attractions. Design one for families looking for a little fun and adventure and include a list of nearby amusement and waterparks, zoos and aquariums, or maps of local hiking trails. You can also take the stress off of your visitors by stocking the kitchen ahead of time with a few essentials that will allow them to delay their trip to the grocery store. Guests traveling long distances will certainly appreciate this gesture, and it will allow them to kick their vacation into high gear the moment they step through the front door.
If your home is in a vacation destination that typically attracts families, especially ones with small children, providing baby and toddler paraphernalia will not only convey your knowledge of the area’s tourism but will be greatly appreciated by parents. Items like high chairs, cribs, and strollers can be a real hassle when traveling, so take some of the stress off of the parents by providing them with the bigger, bulkier items. Small investments like this will make a world of difference for your guests, and will provide a smoother travel experience for them since they’ll already be trying to keep track of their mountain of luggage, high-energy kids, and the entire toy collection essential for keeping the little ones entertained.
So raise the bar for yourself as an owner, and take a stab at a few of these tips. Little touches like those listed are what set you apart from other rentals. But don’t let yourself get too overwhelmed with trying to execute these ideas all at once, rather ease them into future transactions and watch as the positive feedback from guests starts to roll in.