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Any experienced host will be able to tell you that maintaining flawless guest communication is key to your success in the vacation rental industry. It is crucial when it comes to building a good relationship with your guests and enhancing their experience by making them feel special and welcomed. To help you take your guest communication to a new level, we’ve gathered three steps that you can start to implement right away.
When communicating with your short-term rental guests, there are three key aspects you should be mindful of. These are your response time, the content of your message, and tone of voice.
In most instances, you will communicate with guests who are going to stay at your property for the first time. So, it is understandable that they might have a few questions about the booking process, check-in and checkout arrangements, or amenities that you provide. By responding promptly to inquiries (preferably within an hour), you can present yourself as a responsive host and secure more bookings.
While it is important that you reply swiftly, it should not be at the cost of personalization. The host-guest interactions should be warm, welcoming, and polite. For this reason, it is important that you always include the name of your guest and details about their booking in your messages. It is also best to use active voice as this also makes for effective communication involving your guests in the messaging process.
One of the challenges is when you need to communicate information about your house rules. To ensure that you still come across as friendly, use a positive tone by avoiding the use of negative wording.
At the end of the day, your guests want to be reassured that you are a caring host who wants to create the best guest experience for them. As you will not meet them in person before their stay (and you might possibly never meet them during their stay too if you manage your rental remotely), you need to rely on the tone of your messaging to convey that you do value them and care about their experience every step of the way.
If you are wondering how you can reply faster while still using personalized messaging, the answer is with the help of automation. Automating your guest communication process, as opposed to handling everything manually, enables you to save as much as 70% of your time.
For example, vacation rental software like iGMS offers templates, triggers, and a unified inbox for all your guest messages. You can use the software to create templates for every stage of the booking process. By, for instance, sending your guests a follow-up message after their stay, you can remind them about leaving you a review. Alternatively, you can just create a simple template to thank them for their stay and encourage them to visit you again.
You can also take it one step further and make use of the automated messages feature. The vacation rental management software will send out your messages based on the triggers that you have created. This will help you to improve your overall guest experience and save tons of time on guest communication which you can use for enhancing other aspects of your business such as attracting more guests, polishing your marketing strategies or finding new partnership opportunities.
Now that you have put in place systems and adopted communication strategies to streamline your communication with guests, how do you really know if your guest communication is effective? The answer is by tracking vacation rental KPIs like your average response time to an inquiry and your inquiry-to-booking conversion rate.
It is not only guests who pay attention to your response time, but Airbnb as well. The platform places a lot of emphasis on hosts’ response rate and uses it as one of the ranking factors.
What’s more, if you take too long to reply, it can also negatively impact your inquiry-to-booking conversion rate. By staying up to date with these metrics, you will get a clearer picture of which areas you need to improve. If your average response time is above par, yet your inquiry-to-booking conversion rate is low, it could just be that your property does not offer enough value.
1) Track the work time of each guest support agent
2) Evenly distribute tickets (guest messages) within your guest support team
3) Customize which tickets each guest support agent should handle based on their area of expertise and the vacation rental platform guests messages are coming from
4) Access real-time reports to measure the most important guest communication metrics, including those mentioned above.
Communicating with guests regularly before, during and after their stay is beneficial for both hosts and guests. For hosts, it gives them the opportunity to attract more bookings, promptly fix any problems as they arise, and establish post-departure communication to help secure returning guests. For guests, it gives them the reassurance that they are being welcomed which is essential in helping them feel at home and enjoy their vacation to the fullest. Luckily, with a touch of automation, it becomes second nature to hosts to create and send personalized replies promptly.
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