Buying your vacation rental or investment property is half the battle, but managing your guests is another challenge you’ll need to master if you want to turn a profit on your investment. It can be tough to communicate with guests on a timely schedule, especially if they aren’t checking their emails regularly while traveling. Finding unique ways to get through to guests can not only eliminate frustrations but also impress them with the convenience and ease of staying at one of your rentals.
Here are alternatives to email that can help you stay in touch with your vacation rental guests.
4 Tips for reaching out to your vacation rental guests
You don’t always have to rely on email as your go-to method when communicating with your rental guests. Here are other ways to get their attention that might make the entire process more efficient.
1. Set up an automated text message responder
One of the drawbacks of a vacation rental for guests is not having a concierge on hand to explain how the property works. Even though you probably send emails with important information such as the WiFi password or how to turn on the thermostat, these can get lost in the shuffle. Be ready to automatically answer any quest questions by setting up an autoresponder for text message. Here’s how it works:
- When guests check in, give them the option of signing up for text updates from you throughout the course of their stay. You can do this by having them fill out a short online form that will capture their email, name, and their preference to be included in text updates.
- Once guests opt-in for text messages, set up an automatic message that will be sent to them letting them know they can text back at any time with specific questions.
- Set up auto responses for the most common questions such as questions about the WiFi, turning on the hot tub, opening the garage — anything you find guests normally get frustrated about. If your explanation is lengthy, you can send a text with a link to a webpage that gives step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish whatever task they’re inquiring about.
- Send guests an automatic text on their checkout date with information on how to check out.
2. Leave a welcome note
Don’t underestimate the simple power of a written welcome note for guests. Not only does this add a personal touch to the experience, but you can use the note as a chance to get important information about the area in front of them so they’ll have a better chance of experiencing the locale and enjoying their stay. Printing off a list of nearby recommended restaurants and tourist destinations can make your vacation rental guests feel like they have a local’s knowledge of the place. The more they enjoy everything your destination has to offer the better chance they’ll come back again — and recommend it to their friends.
If you’re looking for a way to make the experience feel sincere each time but won’t be in the same area to manage your property, write out a stack of welcome notes at once next time you visit the property and leave the handwritten notes with whoever will be cleaning the place in-between guests. Even something simple and handwritten such as “Enjoy your stay, here’s a list of nearby places we love” attached to a printed out document of recommendations can add a special touch.
3. One-on-one text messaging
Research shows a majority of people prefer texting over email these days when communicating with businesses. Since some people prefer not to check their emails while on vacation, it makes even more sense to send a message directly to the one gadget your guests probably won’t leave home without — their phone.
You don’t need to use your personal email to engage with one-on-one text messaging with your vacation rental guests. There are two simple ways you can send texts without using your own phone number. First, you can send personal messages directly to guests who have subscribed to your text list upon making a reservation or checking in.
Earlier we spoke about an automated text messaging strategy. Guests who opt-in to that same text list can also be contact one-on-one, so you don’t have to start a new list and can do both of these options at the same time.
Another strategy is to can set up text-to-landline services on your business phone number. Most people don’t realize that a landline phone number can perform two functions — calling and texting. While the phone company handles your calling, a text marketing service can take care of the texting. You’ll send and receive texts using an online platform. It’s usually very quick to set this up, and after you’re finished, you can encourage guests to text or call one number across all of your branding.
4. Hire a local point person
You probably have a local maid or groundskeeping service, but have you considered also hiring a point person to check in on your guests during their stay? Sometimes it gives guests an extra layer of comfort knowing there is someone nearby they can go to with a problem. If you prefer, you could have this point person handle the check in process so guests see them at least once. Maybe your guests will never need to be in touch with them again, but knowing a human is around in case of a problem could be a huge plus and help you score those rave reviews. Airbnb makes this option easy by allowing you to designate a co-host through the platform.
Strong communication is key to earning referrals
Having repeat visitors or people who refer their friends can help you make sure your vacation rental is booked every day of the year, and, eventually, it could cut down on your marketing costs to promote the rental to new guests. In order to build your guest experience to that point, communication is key. Finding personal and genuine ways to reach out to your guests while they’re enjoying everything your property has to offer could give you that edge over other vacation rentals in your area whose owners haven’t tried to improve their communication strategies.
This article has been contributed by our friends at SlickText.