The summer season is the one time of year that our booking calendar is full. Let’s face it we don’t have to work half as hard for these bookings as we do for those out of season.
But you mustn’t sit back and rest on your laurels, you must take action now. You must maximise these summer bookings for the future good of your business.
Here’s what you should be doing right now with the bookings you have:
1. If their holiday hasn’t begun yet – get in touch
Email them and offer your help. Is there anything they’d like to know about the area, any recommendations they’d like you to make. Don’t expect guests to come to you, you go to them. They’ll appreciate your willingness to help.
Be proactive and if there’s a particular event, fair, market or concert taking place on the dates they’ve booked with you then tell them about it.
This pre-holiday time is the right time to start nurturing your guests and building important relationships with them.
2. Get testimonials from them after their holiday
This can be as simple as asking them to write a comment in your visitors’ book. This captures guest’s mood there and then in the holiday zone and they’re more likely to comply. You could email for comments once they get home but they’ll be back to their busy lives then, so you’re unlikely to get as much information from them as you would if you captured them on holiday.
Once you’ve got these comments, use them in your marketing – in your social media and add them to you Guest Reviews page on your website. When adding them to social media, bring guest comments alive by adding an image to the text. Here’s a short tutorial how to do this in Canva:
3. Ask for feedback
This is different to gathering testimonials. This is asking their candid opinion and encourage them to be honest. Leave an evaluation form or email one. Ask about all aspects such as your website, the standard of cleaning, the booking procedure, not just about their holiday. This is your chance to gleam valuable business-building data.
4. Capture email addresses
You will have their email address as part of the booking process; if you haven’t then ask for it now. Then ask guests if you can add them to your mailing list. Explain you’ll send monthly newsletters (with exclusive special offers ideally) and would they be OK to be added to that and to be kept up to date with your news and that of your local area. You must of course, offer them the option to unsubscribe at anytime. I have further information on the importance of newsletters and what to write about here:
5. Follow up
Once guests arrive home follow up with a welcome home email. Ask them about their journey home or have they got the washing on yet. In this email thank them for booking with you and for any comments they left (refer specifically to these in your email). If you don’t live locally to see the visitors book, then ask your housekeeper to take photo and email it to you. You must act timely on these. Take this chance to mention a discount for return guests, if you offer one and remind them or ask them about being on your mailing list (point 4).
And that’s how you profit from the busy holiday season.
Of course, these 5 steps should be implemented throughout the year to nurture and build relationships with your past and future guests. But it’s even more important over the summer months as you’ll be busier and gather more data to use in your business going forward.