Not long after you start playing the vacation rental game you’ll realize that driving five star reviews is going to make or break it for you. After nailing the basics of renting your home, a big part of getting those amazing reviews is to anticipate your guests needs and deliver not only on the obvious ones but the ones they didn’t know they had.
Steve Jobs said “Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do… People don't know what they want until you show it to them.” and you can bet that philosophy works here too.
It starts with how much you prioritize communication. Unfortunately, many people don’t do a good job of this so the bar is low.
At the bare minimum, from the time of reservation, you should be thanking you guest for booking and asking them questions to learn more. Why are they coming? What do they plan to do when in town? Have they been to the city before? What time do they plan to arrive? As you collect these answers you’ll be able to start crafting a more personalized experience for them.
Start thinking about the types of amenities you’re offering with your rental. Bathroom items are ranked high on the list of priorities for guests, so is there something local that you can use that tells a better story about the location instead of the inexpensive stuff you found on Amazon? Partnering with local producers and providing high quality items that your guests haven’t seen before enhances their experience.
Adding a welcome bowl of fruit, fresh juice and a loaf bread or a bottle of wine that your guests can enjoy when they arrive is just that little something extra that will enhance their experience.
The same goes for coffee and tea. Most cities have great, local producers these days. Leverage that for your guests.
Most people do the bare minimum here but a well thought out amenity program throughout your property is just one more way to let guest know that you take their experience seriously. That is how you can out above others.
Will these items be more expensive? Probably. But you can build the few extra dollars in to your room rate to cover your cost. You may even be able to work with those local producers to do a subtle collateral card with those goods and get a price break. You can also add any local producers that you use to your welcome book so guests can visit the stores while their in town. Regardless of how you showcase the items, make sure it’s subtle… no overt or annoying advertising.
This is where it gets fun and you can drive some additional revenue. In your initial communication, you can offer different add-on items that your guests can experience during their stay. Is there a great bakery on the corner that can deliver a basket of croissants in the morning? How about using an on-demand, in-house massage app like Zeel or Soothe to book your guest a massage? Perhaps they would like a fully stocked fridge through Amazon Fresh? The options are only limited by your imagination and you can up-charge for these additional services, bringing in more revenue while at the same time engaging with your guests on a deeper, more meaningful level.
In many cases there are hundreds, even thousands of vacation rental properties in any city so you’ve got to find a way to stand out. Since you’re already reading our blog and using the tools we’ve developed, you’re ahead of the game. But you’ve got to be thinking deeper about this competitive environment. You can dramatically increase your bookings and guest rating by putting in a little extra thought and effort in to providing a truly full service experience. Do that and you’ll be a Superhost in no time!