As a vacation rental owner or manager, you know that guest satisfaction is a top priority.
If you’re new to the vacation rental game, however, you may not yet know that the guest experience doesn’t begin at check-in. It begins online – long before they arrive at their destination.
Travel technology is constantly evolving, and so are the options guests have when it comes to making their reservations.
The internet now influences every stage of travel planning – from inspiration and research right through to decision-making and booking. To remain competitive, not only do you need to target guests before they’ve even thought about your destination, you also need to make sure booking with you is an easy and smooth operation.
Here are our top five recommendations to ensure a painless booking process for your guests.
1. Have a bookable website
The first step to making guests happy (and keeping them that way) is having a website where they can find more detailed information about your vacation rental. What’s even better, however, is having a bookable website where guests can reserve their stay directly.
Whether you use vacation rental software to control your website and reservations, or you use a few different tools together, it’s now more important than ever to have online booking functionality on your website.
The main reason why? If guests can’t book with you when they want to, they’ll look elsewhere and probably end up staying at one of your competitors’ properties.
Additionally, studies show that travelers prefer the convenience and security of paying for their trips with credit cards. So, make sure the booking engine on your website can accept payments, too!
2. Take mobile friendliness seriously
According to Booking.com, half of all traveler journeys now start on mobile devices.
This shift from desktop to mobile browsing and booking is only predicted to continue as new, more powerful phones are released.
As a result, having a mobile-friendly website (and booking system!) will drive more conversions because – you guessed it – it’s what guests want.
Guests book travel on their handheld device because it’s easy, quick and convenient – plus, they can do it from anywhere.
By ensuring that travelers can effortlessly research and book your vacation rental via mobile, not only will you be able to guarantee that the technology you use to run your business is from this century, you’ll also be able to compete with the slick booking processes usually seen from the larger distribution channels and booking apps.
3. Keep availability calendars up-to-date
Is there anything more frustrating for a traveler than seeing availability for their dream rental, only to find the calendar hasn’t been updated in weeks and is, in fact, sold out?
Calendar inaccuracies are not just an annoyance, but can actually be detrimental to your business if they lead to double bookings or worse – cancelations.
Avoid these kinds of mishaps with any of your potential guests by synchronizing your calendars into one central place, or using a vacation rental channel manager to do it for you.
Keeping calendars refreshed and current will make it all the more easier for your guests to sail through the booking process without complaints.
4. Set up automated emails
Anticipating any guest queries, doubts or needs before they arise is always a great idea for keeping guest satisfaction levels on top.
Setting up automated emails is a fantastic way to keep your customer service at the forefront. Autoresponder emails are generated and sent automatically once a guest completes a certain action on your website. For example, this could be inquiring about certain features of your property or even requesting to book.
As well as saving you hours of admin time, predefined messages also speed up response time to guests. That means they’ll be waiting less time for the answers they need in order to successfully complete their booking.
5. Have clear rates and policies
When guests are confused about a property, its pricing or any other aspect of it – they are unlikely to proceed further with the booking.
Guests appreciate a transparent approach to booking totals – especially when they By clearly defining your vacation rental rates and policies, and displaying them in a very visible place on your website, you leave little room for misunderstandings or issues down the line, and a better chance at ensuring a seamless booking process for your guests.know they’re getting a better deal by booking directly.
Making it as easy as possible for your guests to book will help them to place more trust in your business and the service you provide – and it will help them enjoy their vacation in full! Following the five steps outlined above will help you on your way to establishing a painless booking process for your guests.
About the Author
Lodgify is an innovative all-in-one vacation rental solution which empowers owners and managers to build a professional website, accept online bookings and payments, and manage all reservations from one place.