After spending the better part of the last few months sheltering in place, many people are anxious to resume traveling. As these travelers start to book and we begin welcoming guests back, it is imperative that you take this time to make potential travelers feel comfortable they made the right choice by booking your property. Done well, this will help you build a pipeline full of repeat guests and referral reservations.
What are travelers looking for? Safety, trust and flexibility are high on potential guest’s list of priorities. Meeting these requirements will help your property rise above the others in your marketplace. These few tips will help establish your property and service apart from the rest.
Providing enhanced cleaning? Show it off!
Add a picture and/or banner to your listing along with the details of what enhancements you’re adding to your pre-arrival cleaning service.
Consider blocking off 2 or 3 days between reservations. This is an option that is quickly gaining traction and becoming more popular in the hospitality industry. While this may seem counterintuitive, it does send a message to potential guests that you are a true professional and place their wellness at the forefront of your business. If you are doing this - make sure you call this out in your listings as well.
Make the check-in process entirely contactless. Whether you provide a meet and greet service to turn keys over or provide a key code, now is the time to highlight how you do it. For properties with physical keys, disinfect the keys in front of the guest and use a tray (disinfected as well) to hand them over. When verifying ID during check in - ask to take a picture of the ID (or have them do it and send it to you) rather than handing it back and forth. Verifying their ID will also help in the event you need documentation for a chargeback, but that’s a different post.
In addition to your basic TP, soap and paper towels provided with every rental, consider including a ‘starter wellness pack’ that includes some of the following: masks - one per person on the reservation, a bottle of disinfectant wipes and/or a bottle of hand sanitizer. If you do this, guess what? It’s a great selling point that will increase a potential guest’s confidence so don’t forget to add this tidbit to your listing as well.
Nobody wants to have the football pulled away just before they kick it.
While building trust is harder to quantify than our previous topic, it is just as important. The best and fastest way to establish trust with potential guests is with great communication. Reply to their pre arrival emails and calls as soon as possible. This is a great practice that will let guests know that you are a dependable and reliable host. My VacayHome offers a 24 hour contact center that will manage all your pre arrival guest contacts for you, so you can continue to grow your business without having to worry about missing any calls or emails. Shameless plug but, hey what are blogs for?
Another way to build trust is instilling in your guests with a sense of confidence. Here again communication is key. Once booked, guests count on the ease of the arrival experience overall. Drop them a welcome email to let them know what to expect next in the process. For example let them know they are required to do X,Y,Z prior to arrival in order for the check in process to go smoothly. Reach out to them (call is best) a few days before arrival. Let them know you are looking forward to hosting them and have someone locally dedicated to solving any issues once they are onsite.
If you don’t already have one, create a binder with your contact details as well as local area info like menus for local restaurants and grocery stores that offer delivery service as well as places they can explore. We recommend that you use plastic sheet protectors that can easily be wiped down by your cleaning crew between guests.
Many people are not ready to hop on a plane, at least not yet.
If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it is that sometimes things just happen. So encourage every single one of your guests to get travel insurance so if they get sick or if there is a storm that makes travel impossible, neither you nor they will be at a loss. If someone has a reservation on the books and they cannot attend, extend them the option of rescheduling for a later date.
With air travel still in flux, many people are opting to drive to their destination. While they may be planning to arrive at 4:00, this may change if they have a flat, run into bad weather or stop to stock up on supplies. Be prepared with an after hours check in process so they don’t stress if they arrive late. Also be prepared in the event they arrive early with suggestions of somewhere they can grab a meal or a local park (pier, forest preserve) where they can stretch their legs and chill.
Whenever you can, make the decision that is in the best interest of the guest as this will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to the post stay review, potential repeat business and the holy grail or reservations: referrals.