The short-term rental business is booming and consumers are increasingly spoiled for choice when they come to book their vacation accommodation. But with more choice comes greater competition. If you’ve decided to rent out your property, how do you make sure it stands out from the rest and gets the sought-after 5-star reviews? Check out these tips for providing an exceptional experience, every time:
Make your guests feel special
Some of the most popular short-term rentals give added perks. These aren’t usually mentioned in the property description but are a welcome surprise and provide that "value-added" extra that customers love. Examples could include a chilled bottle of wine in the fridge, or a box of local baked goods and pastries. A handwritten note welcoming your visitors to the area is always a nice touch. If you want to take it a step further, consider providing luxury spa products in the bathroom, or a hamper of local produce. You could also offer gym passes, vouchers for local attractions, or discount coupons. These little extras might be an extra cost up-front but are likely to improve and enhance your overall reviews and ratings. If you're having any face-to-face interactions, it's also important to remember names, and if applicable, the reason for the stay. These seemingly small things all add up to 5-star customer service.
Be clear and prompt with your communication
One way to distinguish yourself from the competition and amp up your customer experience is to make communication your top priority. This means reading and responding to messages as quickly as possible, so a reliable internet connection is a must. A prompt reply with clear instructions and a welcoming tone ensures customers feel listened to and appreciated. It also means you can answer questions and iron out any potential issues quickly, so they can get on with planning the rest of their trip. Use the initial communication to get to know who will be visiting. If you can, find out the purpose of the visit and a general sense of their plans. Once you know this information, you may be able to personalize the aforementioned perks; if you know someone is celebrating a special birthday, consider buying a card, balloon or cake, to make them feel really special! If you know you're going to be in a place with poor signal, or on your own vacation, employ someone reliable who can check and respond to messages on your behalf.
Invest in your amenities
Guarantee your rental stands out from the crowd with 5-star amenities. Your guests are likely going to expect an experience that is comparable to what they are used to at home, so equip your rental with all the mod cons. In today's short-term rental market, a smart TV with Netflix, a coffee maker, and water filter or bottled water are an expectation, not a special feature. A good night's sleep is essential when on vacation so think carefully about your bedding; invest in a high-quality mattress and pillows, and add a foam topper. Create a feeling of luxury with sheets that have a high thread count, a quality selection of towels, and always have extra blankets in case it's a chilly night. Getting oriented and traveling from A to B is important when on vacation, so an allocated parking spot is a big selling point. If you don't have your own parking space, find out what the parking situation is on your street and consider rolling the costs in your rental fee. Of course, everything should be spotlessly clean.
Create a Guidebook
You don't have to give an actual book, but it's always helpful to have useful information in a central, easy to find, place. If you don't want to put together a book or a binder, you can create a digital document that is emailed in advance. Your guide should include all the important information about the rental such as the Wi-Fi code, who to contact in an emergency, and anything specific about entering and exiting the building. Your guide should also include local recommendations. Many people are choosing short-term rentals over hotels, so they can have a more authentic experience and increasingly, there is an expectation that the host will provide personal insights about the area. Using your local knowledge, list your favorite restaurants, shops, and places of interest that your visitors can check out. Get creative with your thinking and provide a range of options to suit all budgets and interests. In doing so, you'll enhance their experience, along with your ratings.
Manage their Expectations
The accommodation booking will likely be one of the most important decisions your guests will make. A quick way to fall out of their favor is if they encounter something they weren't expecting. Be upfront from the start. This means providing a comprehensive description of your property so there are no surprises. If you live next door to a nightclub, say so. It might put people off in the first instance, but better that than being kept awake all night. These sorts of experiences have the potential to ruins vacations and you'll likely get a poor review in the process. It's also important to be specific. Guests may have access to a shared hot tub, but they need to climb a steep flight of stairs to access it, so this information should be included in the description so there are no surprises when they arrive. If you don't live in the building where the rental is located, make sure you keep abreast of any road works or construction projects. Let guests know in advance if these are scheduled to coincide with a rental booking.
Short-term rentals have the potential to be a lucrative source of income, but it's important to treat the enterprise like you would any other business or income stream. Invest extra time and effort upfront to create an unforgettable experience for your guests, and you'll reap the benefits for years to come.