One of the easiest and most advantageous ways owners and operators can increase profit and gain market share lies within a tool they already have: their guests. Repeat bookings are a powerful influence within our industry, and an opportunity vacation rental professionals can capitalize on with minimal lift. Personalized and memorable experiences are the key contributors to turning guests into repeat customers while ultimately growing your business. Breezeway has teamed up with industry experts to gather the Top Tips to attract repeat guests.
1) Make every guest feel like a VIP
It's important to truly WOW your guests from the first time they check in all the way through check out. First impressions can make or break the potential of a repeat guest, so it’s important to make them feel at home with a welcoming, clean, and well-organized home.
Get creative and leave guests a special welcome gift to truly show your appreciation for choosing to stay at your home. Whether the guest's stay is intended for a birthday, family reunion, wedding, bachelor/ bachelorette party, the opportunities are endless to put the extra effort into making your guest feel like a VIP. Keegan Cotton, Director of Customer Success, Americas and APAC, Guesty, weighs in on how welcoming gifts (like a charcuterie board) can be automated but still feel personal.
“There are a lot of tools that you can use to automate steps in your processes that give you not only extra bandwidth to handle these higher expectations, but also allow for you to accommodate these expectations by naturally taking care of conversations that you would be having yourself, but just getting it started in a more automated fashion."“In relation to launching your vacation rental, pain points can include how you’re going to take bookings — Are you planning to exclusively list them on OTAs like Airbnb, VRBO, etc.; Or are you going to also accept direct bookings? Other pain points can be about the logistics when hiring your team. How will you proceed with turnovers and cleaning arrangements? Who is going to be your go-to maintenance person? And on that note, do you have contacts for the crucial roles like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and your general handy person? These are all important factors to assess when launching a successful vacation rental property!”
2) Build relationships through purposeful communication
Utilize your tech stack to provide clear communications during all phases of the guest stay. It's no surprise that more managers than ever are proactively and frequently communicating with their guests, jumping from 40% to 75% of managers in the past two years. Operators who effectively navigate the balance between automated & personalized communications have seen an increase in 5-star reviews alongside a boost in repeat stays.
Upon check in, provide your guests with a list of recommendations tailored to their stay and when they’re in town. Continuing communication with guests during the stay by letting them know you're available if needed, can help ensure their stay is living up to their expectations. A simple check in asking if you can provide them with a mid-stay clean or any additional supplies can make all the difference. Kalie Clark, Account Executive, sojo, shares how impactful guest communications can be when it comes to setting expectations.
"This new wave of travelers are historically used to hotels where they can pick up the phone and call the front desk for extra shampoo in 5 minutes. Managers are constantly having to reset expectations to ensure they are meeting every touch point. Guests overall want to know their investment was worth it."
After check out, make an effort to periodically reach out to guests through purposeful communication to show they aren't just a name in the reservation book.
3) Offer exclusive incentives
Everyone loves to be surprised with an exclusive offer. Operators are finding creative ways through modern technology to provide discounted extended stays as well as loyalty programs. Kelsey Adams, Guest Relations Manager, of Benchmark Management utilizes Breezeways gap night messaging feature to help automate these limited time offers.
“Breezeway connects with our PMS, Escapia, and notices there is an open night on the front or back end, we then create a real personalized message that gets the guest excited and lets them know we have a night on the front or back end to stay at the beach longer for a discounted rate. We have had such positive feedback from guests on this extra touch because they see we took the time out to go into our system see the gap night then personally reach out to them and they are so appreciative we even offered them this opportunity.”
Alongside periodically reaching out to expand guest relationships, offer previous guests a loyalty program offer they can't pass up. This initiative gives guests the opportunity to continuously stay at your property.
Check out Breezeways July ELEVATE Webinar for more actionable takeaways to attract repeat guests.