Loyalty Programs for Vacation Rentals

It can cost any business 5 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. But you probably already know that. What you may not know is that 70% of people that stay in a Vacation Rental do not remember who they stayed with (we learned that at a Phocuswright presentation in Amsterdam recently). 70%? Wow! This is what we need to work on as industry today. We can start by learning from hotels and rejoice in the fact that unlike large hotel chains our loyalty programs can have less restrictions, more independence, and the liberty to be as creative as we want by offering unique rewards. Make your guests feel special and come back time and time again with the following tips on loyalty programs for Vacation Rentals.

GATHERING THE RIGHT DATA ABOUT YOUR GUESTS


The perfect loyalty program should be established based on your particular property, who your guests are, and what they want” (source WebrezPro) is probably the single best piece of advice written about the subject.

So the whole process starts with a good idea of what you can give to the different types of guests for your particular vacation rental. It’s easy to find ideas if have an empathetic connection with your clients – guests (and everyone else!) highly appreciate the feeling that they’re special. If you lack ideas however you could send a survey after the guests leaves, ask if they would recommend (Promoter Score!), what could be improved, what did they do during their trip, What would they recommend in terms sightseeing / tours etc. The screenshots above shows how to then gather this information in a comprehensive way (screenshot of Guestfolio a PMS for hotels).

Learn 5 Fs of loyalty

A research conducted by Deloitte, explained that there are 5 different strategies (the “5 Fs”) you can use when you’re aiming to get the loyalty of your guests:

  • Foster your fanatics – Understand and adapt the differences among your guests as this can drastically influence the result of your loyalty program.
  • Find out what they want – Build strong and lasting relationships by understanding the customers’ decision making process, and focus on bettering the customer experience before, during and after each of their stay.
  • Form a customized guest experience – Treat each of your guests uniquely, and try to interpret the value from your clients point of view. Put yourself in your clients shoes!
  • Feed the virtuous circle – “Data drives loyalty, and loyalty drives data“. Keep this cycle going, and you have the chance to grow. Understand and micro-target your customers with the data.
  • Fine-tune your offering – Keep in mind, it’s important that you have just the right balance for your brand, and it will need continuous revising and improvement.

Classic loyalty programs

Classic loyalty programs can take 3 forms:

* Discount Systems

The cash catch! No need to explain this in too much detail: guest comes back = guest gets a discount.

* Rewards

Guest comes back and to reward them you’ll give them a free pick up from the airport, a more luxurious welcome basket, a location dependent tours & activities – think amusement park, winery, water park for the kids, trip to nearby city. Be different and stay true to the theme of your property!

* Referral programs

Another great reward idea is for your guest to encourage people to talk to their friends about your property – referral programs; For example if 5 of your guests friends whom they’ve recommended your property to, in the end rent it out, your guest gets something special!

HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF YOUR LOYALTY PROGRAM


The first step is to make sure that your guests know that you have a website. How can you do this? Start by advertising your website inside your property: brand all your instructions posters with your website address, logo, name of property etc. Make sure you use a digital welcome book! Go even further, and give small branded gifts like business cards, a USB stick with your logo, a small note book with your website & logo; you can be really creative here! ๐Ÿ˜‰

HOW TO COMMUNICATE YOUR GREAT OFFERS

How are you going to communicate your offers after the guest leaves? There are tools out there you can use for this. Here are a few examples โคต

* Use your PMS or a CRM system


Think you need some help in building your brand and increase revenues? Use Bookingsync or another PMS that offers a strong communication channel post visit. BookingSync offers help in building your brand, attract and create devoted customers through marketing features & resources. You can alert your customers of events nearby, your new properties and special offers. Sounds good, doesn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Or you can use various CRM systems like Mailchimp or sales/marketing platforms like Hatchbuck.

* Get an app

You could use Hello Here, a welcome app that has push notifications functions on customers phones so you can raise awareness of your special discounts directly on their phones after they leave.

or you could create your own app (with Blackbell for example) and get customers to install it either before or during their trip.

The app method is the way to go for Millenials!

According to Deloitte, the fundamental weapon you will need to win the loyalty race (can you guess it?), are the Millennials. They value discounts and cash just as much as everyone else, but on top of that, they value benefits such as one of a kind experiences and VIP treatments, more than other generations. Deloitte states, that for the millennials, a brand must have personalized and targeted messaging, and when they find a brand that they prefer, compared to other generations they are more likely to stay loyal.

Do you have some loyalty tips of your own? Comment them below!!

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