Ever heard the expression "Great products sell themselves" ?
Well, it's true! At least to some degree anyway...
Obviously everything needs a little push to get it out there, and standing out from the competition is a lot easier said than done.
But the idea comes from the fact that people have a much easier time saying "YES" to a sale when the value outweighs the price.*
And the same applies to your vacation rental property(s);
The more value you can offer potential guests, the easier it will be for you to attract bookings through your marketing efforts.
There are three main ways to build value for your potential guests;
1 ) comfort and interior design,
2) quality of service, and
2) a GREAT guest experience
Building Value Through Upgrading Your Interior Design
Without a good product that people actually want use, you're going to have a really hard time making sales.
And your property IS your product.
So it should go without saying, but if your decor is outdated and in obvious need of an upgrade, you're going to have a hard time attracting bookings. No matter what you do and no matter how hard you try.
You want them to WANT to stay there, not just call you because everything else in the area is booked.
Shoddy patch jobs, unmatched furniture you've got stored in your garage, cheap smelly linens, leftover rag towels, etc... All things you'd probably never want to see in your own home, and should NEVER be part of your rental's decor. And besides, that kind of half-assed attempt is what creates the 1-2 star reviews that'll crush your business even before you get started.
We’re talking updated furniture & electronics, fully stocked kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, the works. You want to offer the beautiful & comfortable environment that potential guests can really see themselves enjoying, and then actually loving the comfort during their stay.
New furniture doesn't have to be expensive. You can literally perform miracles with a combination of IKEA, Craigslist, and a little paint. - View some examples here, and here.
Not only will these sort of improvements help make you generate more bookings, but they'll add a lot more value to your property too. - It's win-win.
Building Value Through Great & Transparent Customer Service
An updated interior design might be what helps to attract more new business, but great customer service is what helps close the deal.
One of the biggest differences differences between our industry and the hotel industry, is the genuine personal nature of our business. Which as you know, has both its benefits and its downfalls.
First, travellers know they're renting from real people. And as individuals or small businesses, you do not have the luxury of the instant trust that comes with multi-billion dollar brand recognition.
You're a person. Maybe a small team of people. But chances are, travellers don't know you. And they've probably never heard of you. So unlike the Hilton, or the Ritz Carleton, you have to earn their trust.
And the best way to do so is through transparent and personalized customer service.
Publish your reservation emails, phone numbers, maybe even your rental agreement. Show travellers that you are easily available, accessible, and open to communication. And then demonstrate the personalized touch by actually making yourself available and accessible, with quick responses and returned phone calls.
Second, - and the best part - is that people generally assume the worst when it comes to customer service these days.
So it's pretty easy to make a good impression that will help you stand out and ultimately help confirm more bookings.
Building Value Through Offering A Memorable Guest Experience
The design brings people in. Customer service helps seal the deal. But it’s the quality of your guest experience that sparks referrals, repeat clients, and 5 star reviews.
But making that kind of impact is easier said than done…
For years, the best vacation rental managers have been charming their guests with consistently great guest experiences that even their most loyal clients have come to rely on.
And there’s no reason you can’t do the same.
- Starting with the basics. Quality toiletry/soap kits, dish/cleaning products, towels and linens, etc… All should be replenished, fresh, ALWAYS. And it should go without saying but rooms should be in pristine condition for guest arrival. - The amount of the poor to mediocre 2-3 star reviews based on cleanliness is embarrassingly high and can be easily avoided.
But you've got to go beyond the basics.
Even the simplest of things can go a long way. Things like complementary chocolates upon arrival, quality coffee for the fancy espresso machine, and even orientation/rule guides that help your guest find their way around the home.
- Think personalization. Hand-written thank you notes, welcome guest books to sign their names, greeting phone calls to make sure everything is to their liking, things of that nature…. maybe a welcome gift basket if you’re feeling especially generous?
- Think local. It shouldn’t be too hard to find local activity/restaurants guides with coupons and discounts. Tennis, golf, surfing lessons? etc..
If you can’t find any that come in pre-made packages, see if you can try to make your own by partnering with local businesses that are looking to attract new business. Whatever your guests might be interested in, try to see if you can put together something attractive for them. - Not only will it add value to your guest experience, but it can be an extra source of revenue as well.
- Think long term. There’s always something you can add to your guest experience. Every little bit helps.
- But the real key is striving to give your guests the absolute best experience that you can. Just OK sucks. Be unique. Be GREAT!
The Bottom Line
Understandably, building value by updating your vacation rental might always not be the most affordable thing to accomplish. And going out of your way for great customer service or upgrading your guest experience might not necessarily be the most heartened of tasks.
Just the same, all three are absolutely required if you're looking to maximize the returns from your always yield a positive ROI.
The basics of vacation rental advertising:
Every marketing strategy needs a solid base. Your vacation rental marketing plan included.
So before you start going wild and investing all your money into marketing projects you aren’t even ready for yet, it's best you cover the basics first.
Everyone knows that when it comes to marketing vacation rentals, the easiest place to start is by advertising on listings sites. The best ones already get sizeable amounts of traffic have proven track records of generating bookings.
But keep in mind; blindly filling out your listings without any sort of goal isn't really the way to go.
Most people reading this probably want to get the absolute most out of their listings. And at this point it's probably safe to assume to same from you?