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How Long Does a Hot Lead Really Last?

How long can you leave an enquiry for before you’ve lost the booking?

Imagine a phone call or email to your business as the starting gun being fired on a countdown. How long do you really have before the time runs out and the interest that made this guest contact your business has fizzled out? How long does it take without a response for this lead to find another business to book with? The answer may surprise you. There is such a sharp decline in the ability to convert leads after time. It drops away like a coastal shelf.

Guest expect almost instant information and 24-hour coverage. Instant booking has changed the way we consume online and it has put pressure on businesses and websites that don’t want to add instant booking capabilities to their sites. So, we wanted to understand just how long is too long when responding to a booking lead? How much time do vacation rental managers really have before their guests will look elsewhere?


A study by the Harvard Business Review looked into this across various businesses and industries in an attempt to get a definitive answer. They looked at over 1.25 million leads and found that in all cases, online and offline, that the speed of a business's response directly correlates with their ability to convert or qualify a lead. The study went a long way towards proving that reacting quickly to customer interest is crucial in converting these signs of interest into customers- in every industry.

Answers that are received within an hour of the initial enquiry are seven times more likely to end up converting a potential lead into a customer. If you wait 24 hours before contacting your leads, your chances of converting them into a customer dwindle to just a 60th of your initial opportunity.

In a ... study, which involved 1.25 million sales leads received by 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in the U.S. Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.

As soon as an enquiry is sent, your customers will return to their research. It can be seen as a race to respond to the enquiry before the customer finds something equally as appealing on another site.

The Kigo Contact Center has been created to have qualified booking agents on hand to answer these enquiries as and when they come in. These agents are on hand out of office hours and are trained in converting enquiries into bookings. We manage all after-hours calls and emails, 7 days a week from 5 PM to 1:30 AM. You can even schedule calls in Kigo for our agents to make!  This service is available in both Spanish and English but currently, just for our US customers. We will be adding more locations very soon!

And it’s important to remember that speed only qualifies as an important factor if the information is relevant to your guest. You can easily set up an auto-reply to any email, but if this is just to inform that you have received their mail and will answer their question sometime in the future, what information have you really given your guests? They know nothing more than they did before they contacted you, except perhaps that your email address is correct. Having responses that really allow your guests to make a decision is just as important as how quickly you reply. With Kigo, you can also automate emails that auto-populate with accurate, up to minute booking information. A guest emails you with a booking request and they receive accurate and relevant booking information

Using the tools of Kigo you can be sure that every enquiry is being answered with utmost speed and with the most relevant information for every guest. This way you can be sure that you have the best chance of turning an interest into a booking, no matter how this guest reaches you.

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