July 8th, 2019
If you want to be a successful vacation rental manager, providing an unmatched guest experience must be a business priority. That may sound obvious, but focusing on your guest’s overall experience is often eclipsed by other important tasks: answering calls, managing housekeeping and maintenance, updating reservation information, providing lock-out keys, sending emails, updating your website, working with OTAs… The list goes on. So, how do you make time to go the extra mile for your guests?
The good news is that many of these day-to-day tasks fall within “guest experience.” By defining a guest experience and determining which tasks deserve extra attention, you’ll be on your way to exceeding your guests’ expectations—and keep them coming back again and again.
What is Guest Experience?
So, what is guest experience? It’s more than keeping tidy properties (though that is certainly important). We find that a guest’s experience starts before a reservation is even made—and only concludes when the guests are home, reflecting on their vacation. Guest experience is each small interaction that the guest has with your brand—and what your team does to make those interactions better.
At Xplorie, we work with vacation rental managers to provide better guest experiences. It can be hard to put yourself in your guests’ shoes, especially when you’re busy with other tasks. That’s why we’re going to guide you through the vacation journey and identify tactical ways to create a supreme guest experience.
Here are Xplorie’s tips to begin thinking about (and optimizing) the guest experience.
Inspire Guests to Visit Your Destination
Before your guests book a vacation rental, or even decide on a destination, they are daydreaming. Your future guests are envisioning packing their favorite clothes, setting an “Out Of Office” reply, and forgetting about their seemingly endless to-do list.
Your guests might be exploring a few destinations, but you want to be the vacation spot that catches their eye (and ultimately stops the search). Your destination is the most peaceful, the least stressful, and offers the easiest logistics. At this point in the guest experience, your investment in new drone photography, property imagery, and 3D tours pays off.
You can distribute your content (and inspire daydreamers) through:
- Social media advertising (Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest)
- Compelling organic social media (mainly Instagram and Pinterest)
- High-quality print advertising (such as a billboard in a highly congested area)
- Targeted digital display advertising
Curate the First Impressions of Your Business
When you catch the eye of the daydreaming trip-planner, you have a chance to create the first impression of your business—one strong enough to finalize the destination decision. While the first impression is often made on your website, it can also be made over the phone. The goal is for the guest to not even consider other rental agencies.
Here are some ways to go above and beyond with first impressions:
- Answer phones promptly and, if this is not always possible, set up a helpful voicemail message system.
- Publish fresh website content, whether it’s through the blog or about upcoming events, to indicate your team’s involvement in your area.
- Show photography of or tell a story about your vacation rental team to show the depth of your business.
- Offer discounts for booking directly to entice visitors to keep exploring your business.
Be Passionate about Your Destination
Your guests are likely relying on your team to offer travel tips or local recommendations (even though your business isn’t technically a travel agency). This is an opportunity to establish that your personable team members are willing to take the extra step. Follow up a conversation (either in person or on the phone) with an email linking to the places/activities you discussed.
If you want to show unrivaled passion for bringing guests to your area, offer free activities through your company. When you partner with a company like Xplorie, your guests receive a number of free activities through local companies for each paid night stay.
Set a New Standard for Vacation Rental Properties
We mentioned the importance of maintaining tidy properties, but guest experience goes beyond sweeping and dusting. Extraordinary housekeeping and maintenance come with additional cost, but the opportunity for ROI is great, especially when word-of-mouth referrals and repeat guests are at stake.
Make time to walk through your properties and take notes on what catches your eye. Is the door hard to unlock? Have the windows been cleaned recently? Are the sheets soft? Are the paintings hung straight?
Adding personal touches enhances the guest experience as well. Some property managers leave a snack basket with treats from local vendors. Others write a note to their guests wishing them a wonderful vacation. There are low-cost options to upgrade toiletries and make your guests feel like they are getting something in addition to what they paid for.
The guest experience doesn’t end upon departure. Once a guest leaves, you’ll want to follow up promptly and ask for feedback on their experience. This gives you one last chance to leave a positive impression and rectify any complaints.
It’s also a best practice to respond to all public guest reviews, whether they are positive or negative. This helps indicate to future guests that your vacation rental company is genuine and honest.
Now you’re on your way to curating a fantastic guest experience, from initial daydreams to reflections on the vacation. These guest experience tips are just the beginning. Follow Xplorie’s blog for more expert tips on how to elevate the vacation rental experience and keep your guests (and their family and friends) coming back time and time again.
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