It’s a rare holiday property owner who doesn’t want to increase repeat their holiday rental bookings. With the holiday market currently so volatile and unpredictable, your capacity levels can vary dramatically from one season to the next. You need to do all you can to ensure you optimise those levels year after year. Here’s your guide to increasing holiday rental bookings.
How can I increase my holiday booking rate?
Your main aim should be to increase repeat holiday rental bookings. You’ll be aware of the tried and trusted business adage that it costs five times more to find a new customer than to persuade a current one to spend again. It’s way more cost-effective to engage your current customers than to go out hunting for new ones. Here are a handful of top tips for holiday lets that will give you the best chance of attracting your customers to visit your property again and again.
1. Make sure the booking ‘journey’ is a satisfying experience
Communication is vital. A positive customer journey will make all the difference in your customer’s decision to re-book. Of course, the quality of your property and the local amenities matter. But, so do those little details of their customer experience – how easy your website is to use; how efficiently you deal with their queries; how friendly you are in those dealings, whether by phone or by email.
2. Over-deliver on the little things
If you’re to increase your holiday rental bookings, you have to think of those little details – not only with the initial customer journey but throughout your customer’s stay. That vase of flowers on the kitchen table; making sure your property is warm, cosy and welcoming when they arrive; a friendly personal welcome on arrival; a few food and drink essentials waiting for them so that they don’t have to go out to the shops the moment they arrive. Just spending time and a little money to make your guests stay memorable will work wonders! They might be small details, but they’ll all be contributing to how they feel about you, your property and the service you provide. The poet Maya Angelou famously said,
‘People may forget what you said. They may forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel.’
3. Getting customer feedback
A great way to increase your repeat holiday let bookings is to get feedback. By doing this, you’ll be opening up a conversation with your customer. Meaningful conversations are how relationships start and how they’re maintained. Just asking your customers about where you can improve will work wonders for how they feel about you. But asking is only half the battle. The trick is to respond – promptly and courteously and always … always thank your guests for their feedback – however painful that might sometimes be!
4. Set up an email campaign
One way of promoting your holiday let to your current customers is via an email campaign. Keeping in touch with non-salesy, informative newsletters is a great way to keep your customers engaged. A monthly series of newsletters, each with a few topics relating to the area local to your holiday property, is sure to keep your customers’ appetites well and truly sharpened! You can share updates, and highlight your other properties. You can also use snippets from your newsletters on social channels. Make sure you write your newsletters in a friendly, conversational style – as though you’re chatting with them over a cup of coffee.
5. Consider a loyalty scheme
There are numerous loyalty schemes available to encourage repeat holiday bookings – and they’re not only aimed at large companies. If yours is a one-property company, a loyalty scheme can still work well. You might consider a refer-a-friend incentive or perhaps special rates or rewards with repeat bookings.
6. Think about your target audience
This is a key element to any marketing campaign and is as important to attracting repeat holiday rental bookings as new ones. Think about it. There might be certain types of customers who you don’t want to attract for repeat bookings for any number of reasons.
However, consider who is your favourite kind of guest and invest your time and effort into making sure they come back. Just as an example, say you want to encourage pet owners and walkers, then promote the fact that your property is dog-friendly with plenty of walks and dog-friendly pubs nearby. And don’t forget to lay out a welcome treat, especially for your furry guests!
Maybe you want to gear your property towards couples on a romantic break. Then a bottle of fizz in your welcome pack and fresh flowers will go down a treat. What if you’re keen to attract families with children? You can include family-friendly items – highchairs, night lights, cots, stair gates and a prominently displayed list of suitable restaurants and activities in the area. Don’t forget to supply a few toys, games and puzzles. But, make sure the toys and games are in good condition, and all work well. It’s worth checking, too, that there are no pieces missing from the jigsaw!
Forethought and planning
The most cost-effective route towards achieving optimum holiday let capacity is undoubtedly through focusing on repeat bookings. But, as with any marketing strategy, this approach takes forethought and planning. Your approach needs to be systematic. It needs to be a habit. Initially, it involves a fair amount of work, but once marketing to your current guests becomes routine, you’ll find it’s a wonderfully effective way of increasing the Holy Grail of repeat holiday rental bookings.