Discover proven strategies to boost repeat guests to your vacation rentals. Learn how to turn first-time guests into loyal customers with these expert tips.

Do you know that feeling when you watch guests check out and see your future profits walk out the door? Let's flip the script. Successful vacation rental owners understand that the initial reservation is only the beginning of multiple bookings. That is if you play the game right.

Maintaining a thriving short-term rental business is more than acquiring new customers constantly. Nurturing relationships with existing customers is far easier (and cheaper) than attracting new ones. Naturally, you'll need more than just a nice place to stay to prolong your customer lifetime value. In this article, we break down top strategies to increase repeat guests and grow your business. Let's dive in!

How to Encourage Repeat Guests at Your Properties

1. Provide World-class Service

First impressions count. From the moment guests enquire about your property until they check out, your goal as a host is to ensure a stellar stay. Every touchpoint must be excellent. That's why you should answer requests promptly and have your team trained to perfection.

Ensure all physical amenities are impeccable and your rental is spotlessly clean. Visitors will quickly notice any signs of neglect and reflect it in reviews. In the meantime, do your best to facilitate guests' stay by providing a digital guidebook with house rules, appliance instructions, and local recommendations.

2. Go the Extra Mile

If you genuinely want to create an unforgettable stay, you must be willing to go above and beyond. This could translate to small gestures such as stocking your guests' favorite coffee, offering board games for the kids, picking your guests up from the airport, or sharing access to complimentary amenities.

For example, if your rental has a jacuzzi or a movie theatre on demand, be willing to offer it without extra charge to impress guests. Strive to create a memorable stay visitors want to relive. You can also offer personalized recommendations on local attractions or discounts for nearby activities tailored to your guests' needs. It's these small gestures that make a huge difference.

3. Foster Personalized Relationships

Did you know that 68% of guests won't return to a short-term rental if they feel unappreciated? Guest relationships are a pivotal aspect of a thriving vacation rental business and can make or break your reputation. Simply checking in and out visitors won't do the trick. If you want to stand out, you have to know who you're hosting.

A warm smile when welcoming guests will set the tone for a successful stay. Try to know each guest by their first name to build personal rapport and break the ice. Small greeting gifts like a personalized basket with local delicacies and a hand-written note can go a long way. At the same time, offering personalized suggestions for local experiences will make visitors feel seen and appreciated.

4. Develop Guest Loyalty Programs

Developing loyalty programs is one of the best strategies to encourage guests to become loyal customers. Essentially, you'll reward guests with bonus points every time they return for a certain number of stays. After they reach a guest loyalty level, they'll earn a reward.

Rewards can vary from discounts for future stays to complimentary amenities. For example, you can offer access to a private swimming pool without extra charges, secure exclusive deals for local restaurants, or provide complimentary breakfast to increase guest satisfaction. Additionally, you can offer small gifts, welcome drinks, airport pickups, or personalized itineraries to guests who turned into regulars.

10+1 Strategies to Increase Repeat Guests to Your Vacation Rentals
Boost guest retention with customer feedback

5. Offer Exclusive Deals

Who doesn't love a good deal? Your guests definitely do. During their stay, bundle additional services so that they believe they're getting a great deal. For instance, offer guided tours or an extra night to guests who've completed several stays to increase customer retention. The key here is exclusivity.

Instead of making these deals available to the general public, secure them exclusively for your loyal guests. For that, you'll need a property management system to keep track of your guests' data and inform you of their preferences. For example, send exclusive offers to past guests on their birthdays or remind them of their one-year anniversary since their last visit and entice them to book again with a discount.

6. Create a Sense of Community

It's one thing running a business and another creating a loyal community around your brand. If you want guests raving about your rentals, you've got to foster a sense of community among them. We suggest creating a physical or digital guestbook where visitors can leave notes with tips on local attractions and hidden gems.

Share their insights with a dedicated Facebook group or your brand's social media to help future guests. Additionally, repost guest photos from their stay or host a meet-and-greet on your property to thank all those who trusted you over the years. Another great idea is hosting activities with local businesses so guests can feel attached to the local community. For instance, arrange a wine tasting, a hiking, or a cruise to help them interact with locals.

7. Stay Active on Social Media

Social media is a stellar channel to engage your audience and build your reputation. Share the behind-the-scenes of what it's like running a short-term rental business. Show your face on camera and remind guests of those beautiful memories during their stay. Share glimpses of the local community and infuse users with the travel bug so that they want to revisit.

It's all about making guests feel seen and considered. Strive to answer every comment or message and be resourceful. This is a prime opportunity to warm connections from a distance without spending an extra dime. Personalization works wonders and could be the greatest reason why someone books again.

8. Invest in Remarketing Campaigns

To increase repeat business to your rentals, consider investing in advertising. Facebook and Google ads are affordable channels that help show your properties to past guests and entice them to book. Instead of passively waiting for visitors to come to you, you actively appear in front of them when they're ready to make a reservation.

For remarketing campaigns to work, we recommend collecting your guests' emails during check-in. You can later "feed" the algorithms so that they retarget those specific people. A single remarketing campaign can increase conversions by 161%, so it's definitely worth investing.

10+1 Strategies to Increase Repeat Guests to Your Vacation Rentals
Get more repeat guests and retain customers

9. Offer Early-bird Perks

Give loyal customers a chance to book your property before the general public when running exclusive offers or during peak seasons. This will make them feel special and strengthen your bonds with them. At the same time, it'll secure you a booked calendar even during the low season.

We also recommend allowing repeat guests to book new rentals added to your portfolio before anyone else. This also applies to property upgrades, renovations, or added amenities. Exclusive benefits will make guests feel valued and increase customer loyalty.

10. Encourage Referrals

Another great way to get more value from every visitor is by encouraging them to refer your properties to someone else. Word of mouth by satisfied guests is the fastest way to grow your business and generate even more quality leads. To incentivize them, consider offering referral rewards.

For example, every time you secure a booking from a referral, offer your past guest a discount for their future stay, an Amazon coupon, or even compensation. A reward program can help you keep track of new bookings and perks, creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.

11. Establish Flexible Policies

Flexible policies are reassuring for guests and can be applied as bonuses. For example, establish a flexible check-in and check-out policy for your loyal customer base or implement flexible cancellation that allows guests to cancel without significant financial consequences.

Moreover, allow guests to modify their booking dates without penalties or permit last-minute booking changes to demonstrate your trustworthiness. You can also implement flexible pet policies without additional charges. This will boost guest's confidence when booking your property and increase customer satisfaction.

10+1 Strategies to Increase Repeat Guests to Your Vacation Rentals
Building loyalty programs in the hospitality industry

Grow Your Short-term Rental Business With Repeat Customers

In sum, mere accommodation won't be enough if you want to attract repeat guests to your vacation rentals. You must create a holistic experience where your rental is the destination, not just a place to crash at night. Every stay counts, and if you play your cards right, each visitor could be returning for multiple nights.

Past guests could turn into loyal brand ambassadors, given the right motives. Your job as a property manager is to ensure a stellar stay and implement the right strategies to have guests returning for more. Hopefully, our guide will be your starting point for growing your business.

At Houfy, we're all about helping you save on service fees from large OTAs and keeping profit in your pockets. Don't have a listing yet? Create yours today and join the book direct movement!

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