Customer satisfaction… a large and much debated topic by pretty much everyone in the hospitality industry. Our success as vacation rental professionals largely depends on getting good reviews from customers, so to surprise and delight them is absolutely paramount. Today we got James C. Sells (who also writes for Tripping.com) with his years of experience in the vacation rental industry to shed some light on the subject. So read on for 4 easy tips to improve the guest satisfaction in your vacation rentals.
A version of this article originally appeared on Tripping.com, the world’s largest vacation rental search engine.
A strong pricing strategy is very important for vacation rental success, but if you can’t provide a truly delightful experience for your guests, they’ll have no problem looking elsewhere for their next vacation.
But don’t be discouraged, pleasing your guests is easier than you think, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time or money. Considering a lot of rental companies and owners are more focused on the bottom line than ever, it doesn’t even take much effort to make a meaningful gesture to your guests.
Here are some tips for how you can find the quickest and easiest way to make your guest’s stay both memorable and worth telling friends about.
Start with this simple question: If I was a guest staying here for the first time, what would I want to know? Would you be wondering where to buy groceries, or go out to dinner? Would you want a map with biking trails or fishing docks clearly marked? Is there anything you’d be annoyed with, either with the property itself or the area around it? Giving guests a heads-up about great things to do (or things to watch out for) in a guest guide or email will start their stay on the right foot, and make them far more forgiving if annoyances crop up.
Be careful not to assume that all of your guests know exactly what they want to do, or even the best ways to get in touch with you. Some guests will arrive with itinerary in hand, but plenty will show up hoping you can give them some activity advice (and boredom can really kill good vacation experiences). It’s definitely important to have these resources on your website, but putting together a binder to leave in the rental is even better. This should include a small card with emergency contact information, ideally for more than one person in case you are unreachable.
Coupons for businesses or restaurants, local attraction brochures, and bus schedules
Some owners have had success devising a referral scheme or revenue share with local businesses for things your guests are interested in. And since referring works both ways, it may also bring new guests in your direction!
This is one of the simplest ways to set your rental experience apart. Here are two suggestions:
You don’t have to write them an essay, but a note greeting guests with something like “Thank you for staying with us. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to make your time here even better” can go a long way. Writing it out by hand is even better.
Another easy move is to leave a small treat for your guests. This treat could be a bottle of wine, some candy, or even just a couple bottles of water. There’s a small upfront cost, but the goodwill you will get from providing some small freebies is worth it. The possibility of referrals and repeat business alone justifies the trip to the drug store. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything big. We all like getting a little something extra!
Once your guests have gone home, give them a reminder of how great their trip was by keeping in touch. This can be in the form of a monthly or bimonthly email that lets them know what events are coming up, what new features your property or area may have, and so on. This allows you to show your personality while staying top-of-mind when former guests think about booking their next trip. You can even reward their loyalty with extras offers or special savings. In today’s age of constant deals, aggressive social marketing, and discounts galore, owners can’t depend on guests returning just because they have a good first experience.
It’s pretty likely that you’re doing a few of these things already. The most important element of running a successful business is to put customers first, and in the crowded vacation rental industry, customer satisfaction is paramount. You can’t go wrong with making your guest feel important, and if you do it well, you will win their business again and again.