It’s the vacation rental owner’s dream. Guests are clamoring to get vacations booked at your property and you are getting top dollar for bookings. The calendar is full with returners and the high demand keeps rates moving up each season. Every vacation rental owner wants to keep this cycle going, but what’s the best way to make that happen?
Think for a moment about the best vacations you’ve had. Chances are you thought of vacation memories with loved ones. Memories are experiences, so the best way to make these memories happen is to create standout vacation experiences for your guests. These experiences will create memories of what they did in and around the vacation home. They will want to come back again and again, and new guests will want in on this highly desirable home and experience as well. Happy guests are the key to top profits for owners.
Standing out from the crowd takes work, but is very much in reach for all prospective and current vacation home owners. Here are some tips to make it happen:
Showcase Great Experiences for Your Guests
You know what you love about your property and have likely spent a lot of time there, so from the moment guests begin browsing your listing, show them the fantastic things they can experience. Whether it’s your listing, website, guest emails or welcome packet, make suggestions to your guests to create memories. The more you help guests along with creating memories, the more likely they are to become loyal guests. Your place becomes “their place.”
Be Flawless, Accessible, and Attentive to Every Detail
Clear the way for great experiences by eliminating guest frustration and worry. A negative experience can overshadow all the great ones. First, execute everything you do for guests flawlessly. Mistakes on things like rate quotes and emails can undermine guest confidence. Double check communications and financial transactions to make sure you don’t create issues despite your best intentions.
Second, make yourself available for your guests whenever they want to communicate with you. Many rent by owner guests want to interact with the owner and this may give them piece of mind surrounding their reservation and that things will be done right for them. Vacation is really important and no one wants to spend time on vacation worrying.
Lastly, make sure every detail is thought through and attended to. Whether its check in, check out, making a meal, or turning on the TV, go step–by-step through those experiences to make them as simple as possible. Simple means guests spend more time creating vacation memories and less time looking for pots and pans, fumbling with the remote, or picking up keys.
Invest In a Top Notch Local Partner
Unless you live in the same location as your vacation rental, you are reliant upon someone else for the most critical aspect of the guest experience – the vacation itself. Search extensively to make sure your local partner can deliver the differentiated experience you need for guests. After all, the standout experience is what will keep guests coming back to your property. Interview your current and any prospective guest partners as part of your search. Ask them about topics such as how they view guests, what special experiences they can provide, how they keep properties exceptionally clean, and communicating with guests. Exceptional guest care won’t be the cheapest, but keep in mind the long-term return is what you are after.
Set Your Rates for Maximum Return and Guest Value
Whether you are just starting out or have a seasoned rental business, setting your rates optimally makes the difference between getting every dollar possible and leaving money on the table. Having great rates does not mean the cheapest, and hospitality pricing should reflect value. Many guests will pay more for great experiences.
An hour or two spent studying your competition and developing a pricing strategy can pay back and often in a big way. Study six or more competitive properties in your area across the seasons on rates and booking performance. Also, factor in guest reviews and similarity to your property to determine how best to strike the balance between guest value and owner return.
Never Stop Improving
Even when the guest experience is good, keep working to make it better. No opinion is more important than the guests and there is always something to learn and improve. Ask every guest for thoughts on what was great and what can be improved. Keep a list of improvement ideas and add your own. When you implement a guest provided suggestion, send them a quick note thanking them to let them know their recommendation was implemented. This might also make them return guests since they might be more likely to return knowing their specific idea was not only heard, but used. Also, other owners can be a great source of inspiration and ideas for ways to keep making it better for your guests too.
Creating and showcasing great experiences will increase the number of returners and new guests. Returning guests know the property is worth the cost as you edge the rates upward. New guests see the booked calendar and will move fast to book given the high demand.
Keep delivering great guest experiences to get every top dollar booking and build your most profitable vacation rental business.