As a holiday rental business owner, providing an outstanding guest experience should be a top priority. Not only does it help ensure happy guests, but it can also lead to positive reviews, repeat bookings, and referrals. And in today’s competitive landscape, where there are numerous options for holidaymakers to choose from, it’s more important than ever to stand out with exceptional service.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of the guest experience and provide tips for creating a memorable stay for your guests.
Understanding the guest experience
Before you begin welcoming guests to your property, it’s key that you understand the importance of the guest experience and how it impacts the overall success of your business.
Many think the term “guest experience” solely refers to the time physically spent at your property. And although this aspect is crucial, offering a flawless service encompasses more than just the holiday itself.
Pre and post-arrival communications, excellent customer interaction which includes offering extra services, and the standard of your property all play an equal part to play. You may own the most beautiful rental property in the Alps, but if you have a poor relationship with your guests, it’s highly unlikely they’ll choose to return in the future.
In the following sections, we break down the different elements of the guest experience and equip you with the tools to provide a seamless service for your guests, time and time again.
The pre-arrival communications
First impressions count. Considering your guests have already chosen to book, this means your website and photography have had a positive impact. However, these factors aren’t enough to rely on – the communication between you and your guests is crucial.
It goes without saying, any exchanges between you and your guests should be friendly, professional and helpful. In addition, you should aim to respond as promptly as possible to any queries they may have before their trip.
Plus, you’ll need to send your guests clear information before their arrival to avoid stress and confusion.
A personalised pre-arrival email is the best way to summarise all of the key information your guests will need. It should be detailed and provide clear instructions to avoid any complications which may negatively affect their stay.
You can create an email template, PDF or Word document, which you can personalise for each set of guests.
What to include in your pre-arrival communications
Include your email address and phone number at the top of the document. If you are not responsible for welcoming the guests, then provide the details of your manager or concierge service.
Chalets in the mountains are not always easy to find, so go one step further than just providing the address. Share GPS coordinates, landmarks/street names, photos/videos and any key turns or indicators to help them find their way.
Invite your guests to inform you of any extra requests they may have. For example, ask how they would like the rooms prepared and configured (which rooms, as doubles/singles, etc).
This is also a good opportunity to find out if your guests need any items for babies such as a cot or a highchair, for example. Or, perhaps if they’d like anything arranged such as transport, restaurant bookings or equipment hire.
For those opting for self-check-in, it’s essential that the instructions are crystal clear and easy to follow. Wasting time searching for keys or fiddling with the door code is a bad way to start a holiday!
Remind your guests of what is included as part of their stay, such as end-of-stay cleaning, bed linen, towels and WiFi.
You should provide a cleaning pack, toilet paper, toiletries (hand soap, shampoo and shower gel), spare light bulbs and basic condiments within the price. So, give them a heads-up to avoid them wasting their time and money buying unnecessary items.
Arrival and departure times
Remind guests of the arrival and departure times and kindly ask that they respect them. Though do bear in mind, in some cases, guests are delayed and a change of plan is inevitable.
Clearly outline the house rules that you put in place and reiterate that these are for the comfort and safety of all guests. This may be in regard to pets, smoking, noise or restrictions for your spa facilities. You can and should touch on these again when they arrive.
Detail any additional payments such as Tourist Tax or a security deposit that guests will incur. They should have been made aware of these at the time of booking, but make sure to re-state it in the email.
Check out details
Ask your guests to leave the property in the same condition in which they found it. List any tasks they need to do before they leave, such as washing up, wiping kitchen surfaces, clearing ash from the fireplace and taking out the bins.
Creating a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere
Put yourself in the shoes of your guests. Perhaps they have been on the road for hours, travelling with kids who are tired, hungry and impatient. Maybe their flight was delayed or the weather made their journey that little bit more difficult.
By the time they arrive at your chalet, all they’ll want to do is put their feet up and relax, so make every effort to ensure you create a comfortable and welcoming environment which meets – and even exceeds – their expectations.
A fundamental requirement is that the space they step into matches the images on your website. This means ensuring that the configuration is the same and that none of the elements in the photos are missing.
Cleanliness is equally as important, especially since Covid, as holidaymakers are more aware than ever of the importance of hygiene and sanitation. Therefore, your property must be absolutely spotless from top to bottom.
Well-maintained equipment and facilities are essential too. Anticipate any wear and tear, and routinely update items which get used on a regular basis.
All of the above points are non-negotiables, which could be a dealbreaker for your guests if they are ignored, so make sure you put the groundwork in!
The property should be at a comfortable temperature, with the Wi-Fi working properly and the password clearly displayed.
On top of that, pay close attention to details such as lighting, decor, and ambience to create a welcoming atmosphere. This could involve small touches like turning some lamps on for late arrivals so that they don’t walk into a dark house or lighting the fire if you’re personally welcoming them at the chalet.
Think about what will improve their overall experience throughout their stay, too. As well as top-class facilities such as spas, home cinemas or games rooms, little extras like board games, books, or arts and crafts equipment go a long way. Take a look at our minimum equipment list to see the full catalogue of what we recommend.
Providing excellent customer service
We’ve already touched on effective communication and the importance of responding efficiently to enquiries from your guests. Both of which are at the core of good customer service.
If you rely on a property manager or concierge service, then make sure to work with people who value customer service and will put your guests first. Take the time to provide training and be confident that they know your property inside out.
But remember, even with the best of intentions, sometimes issues arise which are out of our control. It’s how your team chooses to handle those problems that make or break the guests’ experience. Take a look at this guide for tips on how to handle problems in the correct way.
Going the extra mile
There’s a lot of competition on the market, and with many hosts offering truly unique experiences, it’s more challenging to stand out from the crowd. But, by going the extra mile, you can guarantee a lasting impression will be made which enhances guest satisfaction and loyalty.
Sometimes it can be as simple as providing extra services such as additional housekeeping, grocery shopping or airport transfers. You could also recommend restaurants, tours or excursions, plus help to arrange them for your guests. Some owners organise partnerships with local businesses such as ski rental shops, which offer exclusive deals for their guests.
But, one thing we always recommend owners provide is a guest welcome basket. It’s one of the best ways to get the holiday off to a good start, and from experience, the more personal the gift, the better. Ideas could include local produce such as wine, cheese and sweet treats, handmade gifts or even vouchers for activities.
All of the above makes their lives easier and helps them enjoy a hassle-free holiday. Plus, you’ll benefit from positive reviews and repeat business, so what is there to lose?
The post-departure communications
Believe it or not, communicating with your guests after they leave is also very important. Not only does this show your gratitude for their stay, but it also gives them the opportunity to provide valuable feedback which could help you improve.
Send a personalised email to your guests, thanking them for their stay and making it clear how much you appreciate it.
Within the email, kindly request honest feedback and state what you intend to do with it. These reviews help to inform future decisions, highlight the areas where you can build on your service and act as positive referrals for other guests.
You can also offer discounts if they choose to return, to encourage those all-important repeat bookings.
By communicating effectively, providing excellent customer service and offering extra services, you can significantly enhance the guest experience.
The result of implementing these strategies?
- Your guest reviews will improve, creating a better image for your business;
- Your bookings, both from existing guests and new visitors, will surge;
- You’ll increase your revenue and maximise your income.
If you want to own a profitable, low-hassle holiday rental business plus enhance the resale value of your property, contact OVO Network today. Arrange a call and find out more about our complete business solution or try our free short-term rental income calculator to see how much income your property could generate on our platform.
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