VRM 101: Getting to Know Your Vacation Rental Guests
This is the second of two articles we’ve written especially for vacation rental management professionals who are new to the industry. But seasoned professionals will find a treasure trove of valuable tips here, too. This one is about guest profiling—the fine art of learning all about your vacation rental guests well before their stay—and putting that information to work so you can drive repeat bookings, get great reviews, and upsell your unique offerings.
Know the “why” and the “what”
Different vacation rental guests stay at your properties for different reasons. The better you understand the “why,” the more you can give them the “what,” the things they need and want most. You’ll help make their stay an outstanding experience, which means they’re more likely to book with you again.
Suppose you’re renting a property to a family with teenagers. Teens get bored fast, and their parents know it! They’re always looking for ways to keep their kids occupied and happy. If you know your guests, you can be ready to make their experience a great one. Do you have a video game console loaded with games? Let their parents know that, and that your games are age appropriate. What about their favorite foods? Pizza is a worldwide favorite. Send their parents a list of the best pizza spots in town—especially the ones that deliver straight to your property.
Do the parents have toddlers, instead? Accommodate the different needs. Give them a list of kid-friendly restaurants in the area—the ones where “kids eat free” are always appreciated.
Families often book their stays for big events. Maybe it’s a graduation ball, or a local festival. Events create special needs for families. Ready transportation is one. Your vacation rental guests need to know they can get from point A to point B, and back again, without a hitch. If you know the most reliable taxi services and individual drivers in the area, give your guests the contact information. Take it a step further and work with transportation providers to offer pick up service to and from the airport or local festivals. You’ll go a long way toward making your guests feel more comfortable, which means they’ll be more likely to give you a positive review.
You’ll notice that each one of these solutions is about communicating upfront. Your mobile guest app is a great way to keep the information flowing. It’s versatile, too. If you know of new family activities or venues with family discounts, pass on the good news to your guests.
Their business is your business
Understanding your business guests is a business builder. Make it your business to know their needs and deliver on them.
For example, businesspeople need to know about reliable transportation and restaurants—just like families. But the similarity ends there. They want to look good in front of their peers and clients. That means connecting them with high-quality transportation and recommending superior restaurants. But they might be on a budget, too. So, tell them where to find the more casual hang-outs that locals love.
You’ll also need to meet their individual day-to-day needs, so they can perform at their best. For example, while you might give a family of eight one room key, you’ll need separate keys for eight business people. Don’t forget that each guest will need an ironing board, an iron, and a hair dryer, too. It’s all about giving them everything that makes them look good and feel ready to face their business day.
As with families, the more your business guests’ unique needs are met, the more likely they are to give you repeat business and great reviews. You can help satisfy their requirements by letting them know the what, where and how of every resource you can provide. Once again, your kigo mobile guest app will be an invaluable tool for clear, two-way communication. More than that, it’s the perfect way to upsell your amenities. Your competitors probably know the best taxi service, and offer ironing boards and hair dryers, too. But you’ll be a step ahead when you let your guests know exactly what makes your property an excellent place to stay.
Business people are a potentially rich resource for repeat bookings, but their actual businesses present even bigger opportunities. Many send their employees on business trips regularly. But how do you connect with businesses in the first place? Be proactive and get to know them. Look into local businesses, hospitals, universities, etc. within, say, 50 kilometers of your properties. Understand their business needs as vacation rental guests, and then approach them directly to become their business accommodation provider. Getting to know them ahead of your visit will make it easier for you to get their business and set up an ongoing contract, because you’ll be well prepared to answer any questions they might have about meeting their employees’ travel requirements.
One thing businesses love is a great deal. Consider an incentive to get the relationship started, such as “Book your next stay and get X% off.”
Another important thing to know about businesses is that they prefer to work with highly professional partners. Even little details count here, like having professionally printed business cards. Be sure to include your vacation rental website on your cards. You’ll be sending a signal that you’re a professional organization, and easy to contact.
Keep track and keep them coming back
It’s one thing to acquire guests. It’s another to keep them. For that, you’ll need to do some post-visit tracking. Who are your guests? Is it families with young children? Or is it certain kinds of businesses? When did they stay? Is there a special season for these particular travelers, and why did they come to your location? Was it a festival or event? Take some time every season to answer these questions. You’ll understand more about your market and be able to target your business more effectively.
One last tracking tip: be sure to keep a log of every repeat requests for vacation rental guests, like particular requirements, so you can ensure their needs are met every time.
This wraps up our VRM 101 two-part best practices series. Check out our first article for more tip-top tips to help you drive bookings, get reviews and upsell. Try them out, and enjoy all the benefits to your business!