The internet has changed the way the vacation rental industry operates. It’s become an extremely competitive business with homeowners taking control and responsibility for their rentals. With websites like VRBO and Home Away, vacation home rentals are beating out hotel bookings by offering more privacy, larger accommodations, full-sized kitchens, and a more personalized feel for vacationing families. Lodgers are seeking the biggest bang for their buck. This is great news for vacation homeowners!
However, with the added boost to your financial pockets, additional responsibility has been added. The obligation of advertising, home maintenance, and outreach is now in your court as well. According to Community, seventy percent of homes sit unused a staggering forty-seven weeks! Think of all that lost revenue! An effectively marketed property should attract out-of-season lodgers as well as stay booked during the peak season. How is that accomplished? OUTREACH!
By staying in touch with your past and present guests, you’re ensuring not only repeat business, but word-of-mouth to do the advertising for you! By establishing a relationship with your renters, you’re setting a foundation for exponential growth in your vacation rental business.
I’ve put together a few things for you to consider as you prepare to offer your vacation rental to your lodgers.
- Ratings/Word-of-mouth: Handle your complaints immediately! Follow up with your lodgers after their stay and ask if they have any concerns or recommendations. Not only will they appreciate your follow-up, they’ll appreciate that you care about their experience. Social media can make or break you. It’s amazing to use for free advertising, however, you MUST handle all feedback with immediate responses. By expressing gratitude for approving patrons, you show how communicative you are with your guests. By handling the complaints swiftly, you’re safeguarding your future guests that any issues which may arrive during their stay will be handled and not disrupt their vacation.
- Pricing: Stay competitive: Lower those prices once the peak season is over! It’s better to have a discounted booking than an empty house! Offer specials or complimentary services! Consider having housekeeping come mid-week to clean and freshen up the house for your guests. Not only does this ensure your home stays tidy, it sends a message of caring to your customers.
- Meet those needs:
- Security: Having a security system installed on your vacation rentals not only provides you with peace of mind but your guests as well.
- Cleanliness: Make sure your housekeeping service does an impeccable job! Have them fully stock all paper supplies and soaps (yes, it matters!).
- Stock that kitchen and bathroom: Make sure anything that could be needed is provided. Make sure your kitchen is fully stocked with pots and pans, dishes, silverware. Think of the details: wine opener, can opener, toaster. You want your lodger to feel like they’re at home. That’s the best way to keep them returning!
- Personalize: Stay trendy! Nobody wants to stay in an outdated vacation rental! Keep your furniture up-to-date. Nobody wants to stay in a vacation rental that looks like it was decorated in 1986!
- Final Touches:
- Leave a small welcome gift and a personalized note, thanking your lodger for booking with you.
- Provide local information for food delivery, entertainment, and personalized recommendations.
- Leave a guestbook for signatures and feedback.
Remember, these tips are not all-inclusive. Your goal is to increase bookings by providing what vacationers want! Going that extra mile will pay off! Before you know it, you’ll be booked year-round! Happy Booking!