And why it’s important!
To run a successful holiday rental you, as an owner, have to:
- be guest focussed
- see your guests as people as not as pound signs
- appreciate that their holiday time with you is precious
- want to make your guests feel special
This focus on looking after and nurturing your guests and building relationships with them, begins from their first contact with you and continues until they head home (and beyond).
What you say (or write) impacts hugely on this guest focussed approach and can have a negative or hugely positive influence on guest relationship building.
As a holiday home owner here are 7 things your holiday home guests need to hear you say (or write):
Number 1: Do you have any questions about the cottage/flat/villa/house?
This shows you have confidence in your property and the product you’re offering. It shows you’re not just pushing the guest to make a booking, if the cottage isn’t right for them. You’re there for them and happy to answer any questions. It shows you’re not desperate for their booking as it’s not a book now, please book now, I hope you book now approach; even though inwardly you may be thinking that. As an aside – you mustn’t let guests feel any desperation. As soon as they sniff this, they’ll come at you for a discount!
Number 2: Do you need any recommendations on what to see and where to go?
Ask them this question, even if they haven’t asked it of you. It’s a great follow up question, to keep the lines of communication open and works well a month or so before their holiday starts.
It shows that you care about them and are willing to help them. It’s about going the extra mile and realising that they are staying with you as part of their holiday in your area. A stay with you isn’t their reason for the holiday, only part of it.
Number 3: X, Y & Z is included in the rental price (insert your own word here such as wifi, bedding, fuel, cot)
Charging extra or a surcharge on top of the rental price for such things gets the guest relationship building off on the wrong foot. You don’t want guests begrudging this extra cost or questioning is it worth it.
Work out the cost to you of such provision, then ensure that for example the £10 a week average wifi usage is included in the prices you charge. Charge one inclusive price.
I recently went to see a show and the ticket price was £35 but I had to pay £42 as I booked over the phone ie a £7 booking fee. (I’m still pained by this!) Yet if I’d have been told the ticket price was £42 from the start, upfront; I’d have paid it without questioning it.
Number 4: Just to let you know XYZ is happening during your holiday
Let them know about any special events, annual festivals, local fetes ahead of their arrival. It shows that you’re thinking of your guests and their holiday experience and that you want them to get the most out of their stay with you. It’s going the extra step.
In your email include links so they can check out the event and buy tickets in advance if necessary.
Number 5: I’m planning your welcome hamper, do you have any dietary requirements?
How special does this make guests feel? Imagine if you were asked that question. Firstly you may not even be expecting a welcome hamper, so you feel excited about this prospect. This then goes one step further, because it shows guests the thought you are putting in ahead of their arrival.
For you it’s simply a question of including fruit juice in the hamper instead of wine (if they tell you they are tee-total? or vegetarian cakes or vegan biscuits. All items that are readily available to you to provide.
Number 6: Hello have you arrived safely, is everything OK?
This is particularly important if you’re not there to greet your guests in person. A phone call on the evening of their arrival is the ultimate relationship builder. The purpose is three fold – to check they’ve arrived, to pre-empt any questions they may have and to check that they are happy with everything. A win-win for you and your guests.
Number 7: Thank your guests for chosing you and for their comments
[bctt tweet=”A simple thank you to your guests is so important in building relationships #guestfocus” username=”holrentalbiz”]
A follow-up phone call or email to thank them for any comments left in the visitors book or on an evaluation form continues to build the relationship when the holiday has ended. Not only is it polite to thank them, it’s also a good opportunity for you to ask them for permission to keep their email address so they can receive your e-newsletters
Take this guest-focussed approach in all communication with your guests. It’s so important to build positive relationships right from the start, throughout the booking cycle and beyond. This can set you apart from many owners who merely see their guests as a means to make money. Positive relationship building works, will keep guests coming back for more and get them telling their friends about how marvellous you are to holiday with!