How much time do you spend thinking about the guest departure experience? It is very common for vacation rental managers to pay little attention to this part of the guest journey. The focus is always on pre-arrival comms, guest experience and post stay marketing as once the guest is leaving and has had a good experience there little perceived value in optimising this experience. This article explores why vacation rental managers should pay more attention to the guest departure experience and how it can positively affect future direct booking and learnings from guest stays.
The Vacation Rental Guest Journey
This part of the journey is largely dominated by the OTAs and vacation rental managers spend most time optimising the property images, descriptions and of course, the communications. Response times to future booker queries and the quality of information given will affect both the conversion rate and also the visibility of the listing on the OTA. This article offers more insight into how to effectively market your properties on OTA platforms.
A quality pre-arrival guest experience revolves around the quality of the communication with the guest before they arrive. Guests are highly engaged at this stage as they are likely to be excited about their upcoming booking and also will have questions around accessing the property and the facilities. This part of the journey also offers managers the chance to ‘upgrade’ the guest stay and make additional revenue from up-selling services like early check in. YourWelcome Advance offers a fully automated guest communication tool and more information can be found here.
This is the core of the business, the real why the guest has taken the trip and property managers in recent years have vastly improved the guest experience. It is important at this stage of the journey to be response to guest queries and to offer quality information about the local area. This stage is also optimal for upselling service and connecting guests to local businesses. There are many ways to do this, ranging from paper guides, text messages and apps. One of the most effective ways to communicate with guests is via a Point of Sale installed in property and more info can be found here about the benefits.
As discussed, an often overlooked part of the journey is the guest departure. We explore how to optimise this later in the article.
The direct booking strategy of a vacation rental manager is key to improving profitability as this will reduce the cost of bookings. Vacation rental managers need to ensure that post stay comms and marketing offer value to the guest. Things to consider is what will entice the guests to rebook the property they stayed in or another one under management. The guest CRM plays a key role here and the most successful vacation rental managers will create notes on why guests booked in the first place or any requests they made during their stay. Both of the data points can help tailor post stay marketing comms.