How owners respond to an email enquiry can be the difference between

a holiday maker choosing to book with you – or not!

 Here are 5 best practices on how to convert email enquiries into bookings.

Today’s holiday makers are a picky bunch (and rightly so). They conduct a thorough online search to find their perfect holiday rental.  Then, they’ll generally make a short list of 5 and send an email enquiry (often the same one) to owners of these 5 properties.   It goes without saying, the response must be timely. Aim for within 3 hours during the working day and the next morning if an enquiry is sent late at night.  But what is said is even more crucial.

I’ve teamed up with Direct Holiday Cottages and their sister listing site Direct Villas Florida to share 5 real examples of replies sent by some of their owners, replies that don’t meet the 5 best practices to follow!

The 5 best practices to give the highest chance of converting an email enquiry into a booking are:

1.      avoid the email being seen as spam

2.      ensure the actual question asked is answered

3.     don’t give vague and impersonal replies

4.     don’t do overkill!

5.      take every opportunity to engage with the holiday maker

Let’s look at these best practices in turn.

1. Not being seen as spam

You need to ensure your email is received and read to be in with any chance of getting a booking.  Junk filters on email accounts can be unpredictable at best and severe at times, so in your response avoid using bold and too many different font sizes. This can be the trigger that sends the response into the junk folder no matter how brilliantly worded and convincing the reply is.

how to convert email enquiries into bookings

2. Answer The Question

When the original email enquiry gives specific dates and asks for a price for these dates, don’t send and a generic reply:

how to convert email enquiries into bookings

If the holiday maker had wanted to visit the owners website and look up the price himself, he could have done so quite simply.  Instead, he/she wanted the owner to make his/her life easy and provide the answer.   But the owner has missed his/her chance of this occasion by not answering the question asked. Plus there’s the incorrect website name and mis-use of capital letters (but we’ll overlook that for now!)

3. Don’t Be Vague and Impersonal

When the original enquiry asks for a price against specific dates and this reply is sent:

how to convert email enquiries into bookings

The original enquiry did not mention that the holiday dates are fixed, yet the owner responded without asking that. Who knows where asking this might have lead?   Also, such a vague, negative response isn’t particular pleasant for the guest to receive is it.   Adding “thank you for your enquiry” or  “best regards” would have softened the tone. What are the chances of this holiday maker coming back to make further enquiries?  Nil?

4.  Don’t Overkill!

The holiday maker’s enquiry gives specific dates and asks if the villa is available those dates and what the cost would be. This could be answered in a couple of sentences.  It’s unlikely the holiday maker was expecting this full on and over the top response:

how to convert email enquiries into bookingshow to convert email enquiries into bookings

This response is overkill both in terms of its visual impact and length – first impressions count.  It’s very long winded, the holiday maker will skim read at best and it also

has no real structure. By all means owners should promote their unique selling points but this must be done consisely and selectively!

5.  Take The Opportunity To Engage

This is particularly important when the original enquiry is more unusual:

how to convert email enquiries into bookings

The response this owner sent:

how to convert email enquiries into bookings

The holiday maker has taken time to write the initial enquiry; it’s detailed, personal and complementary to the owner.  The owner has made no reference to any of these points in his/her response, but merely listed the villa’s selling point and confirmed availability of dates.  The reply was a real chance to engage with this holiday maker, to make them feel special, to congratulate their friends on their anniversary, to thank them for their kind comments and for choosing their villa.  The holiday maker won’t have felt particular excited to receive this reply and it didn’t even answer her question about the discount while she was cruising!

Don’t forget!
  • Always include your properties name, so holiday makers know who the reply is from (bearing in mind they are likely to enquire to approx 5 properties).
  • Read the original email thoroughly to check specifically what is being asked of you.
  • Don’t point guests routinely to your website and ask them to find their own answer.
  • Include a link to your website so they can find out further information for themselves (if they so wish).
  • Make your replies friendly and courteous, professional yet chatty.
  • Tell guests in one sentence what you want them to do next/ how to book with you.

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Direct Villas Florida provides owners of Florida villas, condos and townhomes with a successful and highly visible platform on which to advertise their property and maximise potential bookings. We do not take a commission on any booking, we simply charge an annual fee of £120.00.

READER OFFER: Get £25.00 off the annual subscription fee of £120.00.  Use voucher code TBOHR.

Having a clear and streamlined system in place including those for handling email enquiries forms part of my 10 Step Guide To Building A Profitable Holiday Rental. Find out the other 9 steps by downloading a copy of this free guide:

Are you ready to go-get those bookings yourself?

Do you have the right systems and strategy in place?  Find out via this easy to follow flowchart.  With nine video tutorials to keep you on track.