Your guests’ experience in your vacation rental will play a large part in your rental’s reputation and success. So it’s essential that you take the time to ensure that your guests have wonderful interactions with you and your vacation property every step of the way. While some vacation owners only focus on what they can do for guests during their stay, it’s important to remember that pre- and post-arrival time frames can be significant elements of the overall guest experience. When you strive to provide a smooth and enjoyable experience for your guests, you’re more likely to enjoy positive reviews and higher occupancy rates. Here’s a quick look at some of the steps you can take to enhance your guests’ experience from start to finish.
As you might expect, the quality of your vacation rental impacts guest experience. That’s not to say that your rental has to be outfitted with only the most expensive finishes and furnishings, but everything should be kept in good working order and anything that’s not in good condition should be replaced. In addition, your property should be thoroughly cleaned before each arrival so that guests walk into an immaculate home.
With regard to amenities, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for the latest and greatest appliances or gadgets. However, you should spend time thinking about what amenities will make your guests feel most at home. In the kitchen, small appliances like toasters, coffee makers, slow cookers, and microwaves are good additions (as well as all the utensils, dishes, and cookware they might need). Guests also appreciate pantry items like herbs and spices, hot chocolate, and tea. Entertainment options like TVs, DVD players, gaming consoles, and board games are crowd-pleasers. And travel size toiletries and hair dryers in the bathrooms are also thoughtful provisions.
Consider including any items that will make your vacation property stand out from the rest as well as those items that you’d like to find if you were staying in a rental like yours. Above all, focus on making your vacation rental a clean and welcoming retreat for your guests in order to provide them with a high quality experience.
Whether you have your vacation property listed on multiple sites, you have your own website, or both, take a look at how your home or condo is depicted. Are the property descriptions accurate and compelling? Are your pictures up-to-date and do they highlight the best features of your rental? Have you listed all of your property’s amenities? Do you regularly update your property’s availability calendar? If guests inquire via these sites, are you quick to respond? All of these things will impact the quality of a guest’s stay.
From the get-go, inaccurate reservation calendars and poor communication build a terrible foundation for positive guest interactions. When it comes to the quality of your listing, potential guests are going to make snap judgments about your property based on its pictures, description, and list of amenities. How well these items correspond to what your property is really like will play a part in guest satisfaction once they arrive at your property. It’s crucial that you maintain your availability calendar, respond quickly to all inquiries, and provide a reliable property listing.
Once a guest decides to book your vacation home or condo, how straightforward is the process? Regardless of which site your bookings are coming from, the process should be easy to understand and simple to complete. Don’t forget that in many instances, guests prefer to have the ability to book and pay for their reservations online with a credit card.
Guest Communication & Services
After your guests have booked your property, it’s a good idea to have several emails set up to be automatically sent to them. Many booking platforms and listing sites make it very easy for you to schedule custom emails, if you haven’t already. These emails should confirm their reservation and include information like check-in details, directions to the property, owner/manager contact information, and anything else that will help your guests start your vacation with ease.
You may also want to consider partnering with local companies who offer things like grocery delivery and other guest services. This way, you can give your guests the opportunity to have these items taken care of in advance of their stay (possibly at a discounted rate), which will ultimately help to make their vacations more enjoyable.
Guests should arrive at your vacation home or condo full of excitement and their first impression of your property should only serve to prolong this feeling. As previously mentioned, it’s critical that your rental is not only clean but also, that everything in it works as it should. Why stop there, though, when it’s easy to go above and beyond to exceed your guests’ expectations? Welcome baskets are fantastic additions that do a nice job of wowing guests. They don’t need to be huge, expensive affairs, either. A simple basket that includes a few local items that highlight nearby businesses or regional flavors is a thoughtful gesture that guests will appreciate.
It’s also a good idea to provide a printed informational packet/binder. With the informational packet or binder, address all the need-to-know items concerning your property. This may include house rules, local regulations on things like parking or trash disposal, security system how-tos, your wireless internet password, local contact information, and more. Don’t forget to cover things like nearby hospitals, doctor’s offices, grocery stores, banks/ATMs, and other places that are useful to know about. You may also want to provide information on local restaurants, activities, and events.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure that your guests will have access to a contact person 24/7 during their stay. Most likely, their contact person will either be you or a property manager. Regardless of who it is, though, they’ll need to be on-call for any customer service issues. Providing a rapid response to any problems that arise will go a long way in keeping your guests satisfied and showing them that you value their vacation time.
After your guests leave, there’s still one more step you can take to enhance their guest experience: send them a follow-up email. This email will give you a chance to express your thanks, ask for an online review, and to rectify any issues the guest experienced. Keep the email short, sweet, and heartfelt. Consider offering a discount on future bookings or other incentives to encourage their return. Make sure to ask your guests if they enjoyed their stay. If they did, ask them to leave a review on your website, Google, Facebook, or a listing site. If they didn’t, take the time to get more information from them so that you address the problems directly. Showing that you care about their experience and want to remedy the issues at hand can work to prevent negative reviews and even entice some guests to return. You can check out our article on optimizing online reviews for even more information on the steps you can take to automate the process and increase the likelihood that your vacation rental will get good reviews.
The All-Around Experience
Guests will be able to tell when you’ve taken the time to ensure that every step of the booking and rental process is easy and enjoyable. Ultimately, this consideration will result in higher guest satisfaction and more reservations. So while it will take some time to get your processes perfected, it will benefit both you and your guests.
If you have questions about marketing your vacation rental, give us a call at (720) 336-3939 or contact us online. We look forward to speaking with you!