Your guests’ overall experience, from their very first inquiry to the day they check out, is based on how you make them feel. Do it right, and you may earn yourself a return booking—or a great online review. Do it wrong, and you may face How to Handle Guest Complaints and Bad Reviews for Your Vacation Rental, on Bookfull or worse. Positive communication is critical in connecting with your guests throughout the rental process and ensuring they enjoy their stay. Check out these vacation rental guest communication tips to help you take your guest experience to the next level.
Before The Vacation
Vacationers send out hundreds of rental inquiries when searching for a rental. When they leave a phone number, it is because they want to be called. Reaching out via phone is paramount in securing a booking. In fact, guests comment that out of the 50+ inquiries they send out, they only get 1-2 return calls. And guess what: guests will usually book with the company/owner that takes the time to call them back!
Pre-Vacation Guest Communication Checklist
Once you receive an initial inquiry about your property, here are some basic communication tips to follow:
- Make The Phone Call. When following up on an initial inquiry via phone, it’s important to ask questions to gain a clear understanding of what the guests are looking for.
- After The Initial Phone Call, remember to follow up right away with an email that includes the details you discussed over the phone and a polite request to make the booking. Inquiries can pile up fast, and it can seem like calling everyone will take all day. Bookfull’s first responders offer email inquiry management services that can help make it more manageable!
- Once The Booking Is Made, make sure you send info about the property when you say you’re going to send info. Establish trust, and make sure you provide all the information the guest requested during your initial discussions.
- Follow Up Quickly to questions or comments. Be friendly, polite, patient and honest throughout the process.
Remember, your guests don’t know you, yet they are trusting you with their priceless vacation memories. Give them the confidence from the beginning that they will be well taken care of while visiting your property.
Offer To Help
Where the guest is staying is just one part of their vacation. When possible, offer recommendations (if they ask) for things to do and places to go when visiting. It doesn’t take much time to offer your opinions and personal experiences about things to do in the area, and it could make a huge difference in their experience. Send guests a quick email such as:
Hey Joe! I remember you said your wife really likes Mexican food. There is this great place down the road you should try when you’re here! I love the guacamole there! I’ve put all of the information below.
This kind of guest communication can make your visitors feel like you’re listening to them, that you’re thinking about them, and that you’re invested in making sure they have a great time.
Make It Personal
Throughout the booking process, there will be a few customary emails sent to the guest to get all of their necessary information. Generic confirmation emails are okay, but do what you can to personalize communications by using their name, or referencing their reason for a visit. Establish a relationship of some sort so that guests feel like a person, not just a reservation number.
During The Vacation
Establishing an open line of communication while the guests are in-house is key to ensuring they are satisfied with their stay. Here are a few ways to check in on them without overdoing it:
- Before they arrive, leave a little note or gift in the home for them when they arrive at the home. Even if they aren’t celebrating anything, a welcome note communicates that you’re excited to have them.
- Once guests arrive, give them some time to settle in and then call in to check on them. This allows you to get a feel for their first impression of the home. It also gives you a chance to address any issues at the beginning of their stay, instead of hearing about it at the end.
- Part way through their stay, if you haven’t heard from your guests, you may assume that no news is good news. But it’s important to check in. A quick email or text checking in to see if there is anything you can do to improve their stay will allow you to gauge their feelings about their experience up until this point.
- Don’t overdo it: One or two phone calls to check in should suffice. If you get the impression that your guests are happy, it’s OK to step back and let them enjoy their vacation. If they’re the kind of guests to call 5 times a day with questions, or better yet, suggestions, be sure to handle each one with respect and patience.
- Keep guests in the loop. If, for some reason, someone needs to enter the home during their stay, make every effort to let the guest know and plan it for a time that is convenient for them. Workaround their schedule as much as possible and do whatever you can to keep the inconvenience to a minimum.
After The Vacation
The guests have left, but there’s still work for you to do. The difference between a typical vacation home owner and an exceptional one is how they treat their guests after they’ve left the property:
- Give guests a call a half hour or so before checkout. Politely check in to see if they have any questions about the check out procedures.
- Once they’ve left, send them a personalized thank you email. Many owners don’t thank guests for their business, yet this small gesture can make them feel appreciated.
- Always ask for guest feedback. Whether you have a comment card in the house or send guests an electronic survey, encourage them to leave honest feedback about their stay to help you improve.
- When guests leave feedback, acknowledge it and thank them for taking the time. Just because they’re gone doesn’t mean your business relationship is over. Communication with guests after their stay is just as important as before and during their visit.
Bookfull Keeps You Connected
Getting overwhelmed with emails and inquiries? It doesn’t have to be difficult. Bookfull’ free vacation rental software has plenty of tools to help you streamline productivity and improve your vacation rental guest communication. Sign up for Bookfull demo today!