The oh-so-important holiday let guest owner relationship

It’s something that as independent owners we have the opportunity to do well in our holiday rental business.

Like all relationships it needs time and attention to build and nurture to bring results. It’s about reaching out to guests, making them feel special before, during and after their stay. And building person to person relationships right from the start.

Enhance and develop the guest owner relationship and it will lead to more bookings.

Here are 5 ways to do that:

1. Let guests get to know you

On every touch or contact you make with your guests, make it clear that guests are speaking/ emailing/ messaging you. Not your holiday let – you.

On your website’s contact page for example include a picture of you.  With a call to action to “get in touch with Karen” not “get in touch with Spring Cottage”.  It’s me who will answer the email or phone, not Spring Cottage!

Let guests know your name, keep it friendly and personal. Sign off your social media posts with your first name. You are writing them, so put your name to them!

Add your name to your social media bios.  My Twitter account is Spring Cottage and my bio reads

“I’m Karen; Spring Cottage owner, N Yorkshire lover; helping you create special holiday memories #Yorkshireholiday http://luxuryspringcottageyorkshire.co.uk/ ”

And use a picture of you as your profile pic. In your posts on social media use pictures of you to show you’re a real person. Let them get to see you and the more you post, get to know you; taking them one step closer to booking.

2. Have an easy to get-in-touch with you system

Have your contact details everywhere.  Add them in several places on your website and regularly in your social media bios and posts.

And give options. Even if you prefer to receive emails, guests may prefer to pick up the phone and call you. Give them that chance.

Be available whenever possible during the working day.  Do have work/life boundaries though – use an out of hours auto-responder on your emails or on your voicemail.  This reassures the guest that their message has been received.

3. Personalise their stay

Ensure you have guests’ first names and then use them.

Leave a hand written note for them on arrival (signed of as you, not as your holiday rental).

If you’ve gleamed any information from their online booking form, an email or phone chat use it. For example guests may have mentioned they’re booked with you to be close to family or because they want to visit a specific tourist hot-spot.  Refer to that in your note or in your arrival phone call for example. If they are keen walkers leave a walking book out on the table, instead of on the book shelf.

4. Ask their opinion

Actively asking guests’ opinion makes them feel valued.  It also of course benefits you and your business as it allows you to make any necessary tweaks, based on their feedback, to even further improve your offering.

Be prepared to take action and respond to any feedback – even the negative. You asked for it, you have to take it.

5. Keep in touch

After their holiday has ended.  Ideally get their permission to be added to your e-marketing list.  This means they’ll receive your monthly e-newsletter.

Follow up individually with those guests who have said they will return.  These guest relationships are worth putting extra time and attention to, to secure a return booking.

Send them Christmas cards, or at Easter send a chocolate. Basically stay on their radar.

You ultimately are your business and therefore focussing attention on the guest owner relationship is a natural part of that. Enhancing it means you stepping forward, to stop hiding behind your holiday let, to stand up and be seen as you.  To spend extra time reaching out to past guests and building relationships on social media with potential new guests. It’s so worth it!

Karen