Great word-of-mouth and raving reviews are always the best marketing a rental owner can have – and the cheapest. Even great digital marketing can’t beat a personal recommendation. How do you get guests to rave about their stay? By being the perfect host and delivering a 5-star experience to keep them coming back year after year! Here are some tips to do that:
Scope out the competition – then be better.
Learn from your competitions’ strengths and weaknesses. Research your competitors’ reviews for certain amenities people seem to enjoy and offer it for your rental, when possible. Also, take notice of common complaints, so you can avoid them.
Depending on how thoroughly you want to investigate, consider sending a “secret shopper” to stay at your competitions’ rental. You can have them take note of the décor, what they found helpful, what they didn’t enjoy, etc. When weighed against annual revenue loss, the expense may prove a valuable investment. It helps you to better serve your guests and ensure that you’re meeting their needs and expectations.
Never Underestimate the Power of Being a Great Host
No matter who you are, everybody wants to feel special. When people rent your vacation home, they want to feel pampered, and being a thoughtful host can go a long way in establishing an excellent reputation. Imagine you are renting - what would you like to see or have?
Provide a directory of the best local places to eat, drink and visit. If there is a lot to list, you can even break it down by category such as: fine dining, great burger, or grab a local beer. Place notes around the home with helpful tips on where to find items in your rental. Label closets and cabinets to help guests find extra blankets or seasonings easier.
Consider having popular magazines delivered for much appreciated reading material, a toy box with board games and children’s toys, leaving a stockpile of extra pillows, blankets, and sheets in an easy and accessible place, and even terrycloth robes and all-purpose outdoor shoes give a thoughtful and practical touch.
Take into account the local weather. Typically sunny? Have a basket with visors, koozies, aloe vera, and sunblock. Does it rain often? Keep umbrellas and/or ponchos by the door for your guests to use. Snow & ice? A bag of road salt by the door is a nice touch for when driveways, walkways or stairs ice over. Having fresh firewood and matches by the hearth, patio furniture on the deck, or a spare remote control helps guests feel relaxed at home.
The key to being a good host is consideration. People appreciate thoughtfulness no matter how small or grand the gesture.
The Heart of Every Home is the Kitchen
A well-stocked kitchen is a necessity for any good vacation rental. You’ll want to have at least a basic set of pots and pans, mixing bowls, dishes, bowls, silverware, and glasses. Also, be sure to include random kitchen gadgets like a wine opener and can opener, and consider stocking basic kitchen essentials like salt, pepper, olive oil, tin foil, garbage bags, and a fresh stick of butter in the fridge.
A well-stocked and clean kitchen let your guests BBQ and enjoy the view without the stress of forgetting the little odds and ends!
Comment cards are a huge boost to your personal property awareness. While online reviews are important to your reputation, comment cards collect guest opinions in the moment, when their impressions are fresh.
Guests appreciate the convenience – they don’t have to go online to provide feedback. Comment cards show your guests that their experience is important to you, which makes them feel valued and allows you to gather invaluable insight into your property’s strengths and weaknesses, while reducing dissatisfied online reviews.
Be Accurate in Your Vacation Rental Description and Photos
While it can be tempting to downplay the not-so-wonderful aspects of your rental, honesty is the best policy. Is parking limited? Are certain rooms off-limits? Is there major construction happening near the property? Most of the time, if you warn guests in advance of problems that might occur, they are more forgiving and your reputation stays intact.
Love is in the Details
Yes, it is definitely important to focus on the big picture, but your guests will most likely brag about the little things when it comes to your property. Chocolates on the pillow? Extra fluffy robes and slippers? A 6-pack of local beer in the fridge for them to enjoy?
By adding a little flair to your rental property, people don’t just enjoy it – they tell their friends. It’s an easy, affordable and effective way to ignite word-of-mouth and get your property noticed.
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
An unclean bathroom is a definite deal-breaker and will more than likely result in a scathing review. Make sure you hire a cleaning person you can trust and who is thorough. If you clean your property yourself, be consistent and double-check your work. Whether you have a cleaning service or you clean the property yourself, make a checklist of every area that needs to be cleaned to avoid missing something that can hurt your word-of-mouth.
No matter how thorough, sometimes in the haste certain areas get overlooked. You can leave a note for the guest letting them know that if any aspect of the rental does not meet their expectations, to send you an email or phone call. You can have your cleaning service on-call to rectify the issue to avoid any damage to your property’s reputation.