Whether you’re a seasoned host or just starting out, one thing remains constant: the importance of making your guests feel genuinely welcome. After all, it is this warmth and hospitality that sets the stage for a truly unforgettable chalet stay.
In the realm of hospitality, the guest experience holds paramount significance. It goes beyond providing a mere accommodation and extends into crafting a delightful journey for those who choose your chalet as their temporary home. By going the extra mile to ensure comfort, convenience, and a touch of personalisation, you can transform an ordinary stay into an extraordinary one.
At the heart of this blog post, we aim to equip you with detailed, data-driven tips on how to create a welcoming and memorable experience for your guests. Drawing upon industry insights and best practices, we will dive into the art of rental chalet hospitality, exploring the myriad ways you can leave a lasting impact on your guests.
The pre-arrival experience
Understanding your audience
Understanding your target audience is paramount to providing a remarkable stay at your rental chalet. By understanding your guests’ preferences and needs, you can tailor your offering to exceed their expectations.
Ask yourself: does your target audience consist of adventure-seeking families, romantic couples or business travellers? Or perhaps a mix of all of them? Either way, comprehending their demographics, interests, and motivations will enable you to create a personalised experience that resonates with them on a profound level.
This understanding forms the foundation for strong guest connections, positive reviews, and guest loyalty, ultimately leading to a thriving rental business.
Personalise the booking process
Personalised communication during the booking process and pre-arrival stage plays a crucial role in creating a memorable and tailored experience. At OVO Network, we understand the significance of establishing a strong connection with our guests even before they arrive at our partner properties.
During the booking process, we actively engage with our guests to learn more about their specific needs. We collect essential details such as the size of their group and any specific amenities or services they desire. This information empowers us to create a truly personalised experience, ensuring that every aspect of their stay aligns with their preferences.
Our dedicated management partners also maintain open lines of communication with guests in the pre-arrival phase. They reach out to confirm booking details and provide a warm welcome, assuring guests that their stay is a top priority. This means any questions or concerns can be addressed, and a rapport can be built to facilitate a smooth holiday.
Sticking to a set timeline when it comes to pre-arrival communications allows guests to highlight their needs well in advance. At OVO Network, we contact guests at the following points:
- After the booking has been made, to acknowledge the reservation and share the property manager’s contact details;
- Eight weeks before the arrival, with details about the property, location, configuration etc;
- Two weeks before arrival, reminding the guests of the property details and promoting any specific requests;
- One week before arrival, encouraging guests to visit our website/blog for activities, events and local area guides.
During the week before arrival, managers contact the guests directly to introduce themselves over the phone. At that time, they’ll also determine the following:
- The number and age of guests;
- If the group needs specific child and baby-friendly equipment;
- Which bedrooms should be set up;
- Precise arrival times;
- Any special requirements.
At this point, managers may also share information regarding road works, snow conditions, as well as the location of the key safe or door codes, for example.
Prioritise communication and responsiveness
Prompt and clear communication with guests is of utmost importance. It not only encourages a positive guest experience but also helps build trust and confidence in your services. Timely and responsive communication means that guests feel heard, valued, and well-informed throughout their stay.
To establish efficient channels, you should offer a variety of options that cater to different guest preferences. Consider providing multiple avenues such as email, phone, and messaging apps.
Email is a reliable and professional option for formal enquiries and important information sharing. Phone calls allow for more personal and immediate interactions, especially for urgent matters. Messaging apps like WhatsApp offer convenience and quick response times for less pressing matters.
And when it comes to responding to enquiries and requests, prioritise timely replies. Aim to respond to messages at the very least on the same day, within the hour if possible. When dealing with pre-arrival communications, set aside dedicated time each day to check and respond to messages to ensure no enquiries slip through the cracks.
Additionally, consider creating standardised templates or responses for frequently asked questions. This can help streamline your communication process and ensure consistent and efficient replies. However, always personalise your messages to make guests feel valued and attended to as individuals.
Remember, communication is a two-way street. Actively listen to your guests, pay attention to their concerns, and respond with empathy and understanding. By maintaining open lines of communication, you not only address immediate needs but also have an opportunity to gather feedback and continuously improve.
Create a warm and inviting environment
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.
There are a few things to consider to help create a pleasant atmosphere when they arrive:
Cleanliness is non-negotiable when running a property rental business of any kind.
Fundamentally, guests should feel safe and comfortable in your property before anything else. And with the threat of Covid still present, hygiene and sanitisation are all the more paramount.
Regular cleaning and upkeep of your rental chalet is essential. Your weekly changeover will involve tasks such as changing beds, dusting surfaces, polishing glass and cleaning appliances. These jobs guarantee a standard level of cleanliness and target the most commonly used areas.
The likelihood is, if guests recognise that a basic job hasn’t been completed, they’ll be on the lookout for more problems, which could lead to negative feedback and a poor overall experience.
So, make sure that your guests step into a spotless chalet which sets a high standard from the very first moment.
Equipment and maintenance
Preserve the longevity of your furniture and equipment by purchasing quality items and checking their condition regularly.
If a piece of equipment is on its last legs, replace it before it breaks throughout someone’s stay. This is especially important for key features such as hot tubs, home cinemas or pools. These are the types of features that guests will specifically book your property for – so the last thing you want is to have to admit it’s not working when they get there!
When aiming for a high-end experience, linen, towels and toiletries (including toilet paper and shower gel) are considered basic necessities which should be included in the rental price. Doing so will avoid minor inconveniences for guests or the risk of them having to drive out to the shop after a day of travelling to pick up supplies.
The same also applies to kitchen essentials such as cooking oil, salt and pepper, as well as cleaning products like bin bags, dish soap and sponges. Providing all of these commodities will put guests at ease when they arrive.
Chalet rental hospitality and exceptional customer service
It goes without saying that exceptional customer service is integral to any role within the hospitality sector. You can own the most impressive property, but if your service doesn’t match, guests won’t return.
Work with a professional and friendly team
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.
At OVO Network, we can recommend trusted managers who will prioritise your guests and provide outstanding service. Our management partners share and respect our core values for service, which include:
1. Being hospitable
Remember you are working in the hospitality industry, so be hospitable!
Guests are more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your property to others if they feel that their needs were met and that they were treated with respect and kindness.
2. Being available
You must be available to your guests before, during and after their stay.
Keep communication open and respond to their needs as soon as possible. Even if you can’t immediately provide an answer to a question, always let the guest know you’ll get back to them soon, acknowledge their correspondence and let them know you aren’t ignoring them.
Remember, if a guest reaches out to you for information, then they’re looking for guidance from you. And part of the service you offer is to provide that guidance.
3. Being adaptable
Things don’t always go according to plan. And this applies to both guests and owners!
Changeovers can be stressful for owners and managers – but do bear in mind that things can go wrong for guests on their journey too. Flights might be delayed or guests may get caught in traffic, so try to be empathetic and accommodate early arrivals and late checkouts. These gestures can go a long way.
Local recommendations and tips
You know the local area better than your guests, so don’t forget to share your insider knowledge with them!
Not only will this help them to get the most out of their stay, but it will also enhance their overall experience and make them feel more connected to the community.
By sharing tips and ideas of things to do and see, your guests can discover hidden gems and local attractions they might not have otherwise known about. This adds an authentic, personal touch that guests will remember when writing their reviews.
Add thoughtful touches
Your way of going the extra mile may not be with one grand gesture. However, think of all the small actions you can take to improve the overall experience for your guests.
Perhaps it’s offering to help book them a restaurant or it could even be as small as arranging the towels in an interesting way to show your efforts. All these minor details add up, so if you always put in the effort, you will see that it pays off not only in the reviews but for your reputation on the whole.
Welcome baskets and personalised notes
Providing a welcome basket of gifts for your guests on arrival is always a good idea. Including a personalised note alongside is a wonderful way to make them feel special and valued.
Not only does this gesture add a personal touch to their stay, but it also gives them a taste of the local culture and cuisine. Guests will appreciate the thought and effort that goes into creating a welcoming atmosphere, and the basket of goodies will help them feel right at home from the start.
Also, it can serve as a great marketing tool, as satisfied guests are more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your rental to others.
Acknowledging special occasions
Celebrating special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or proposals goes well beyond a standard stay.
Ask your guests in advance if there will be any significant events to celebrate during their holiday and consider providing one of the following:
- Complimentary Champagne or Prosecco;
- Thoughtful gifts or a cake from the local bakery;
- A voucher for an activity, a spa or a special restaurant.
These small gestures can leave a lasting impact, fostering guest loyalty, and potentially turning guests into advocates for the chalet.
To summarise, the essential aspects to consider when ensuring a welcoming experience for guests at your rental chalet are:
- Understanding your audience and adapting your communication;
- Creating a warm and inviting environment through cleaning, maintenance and furnishings;
- Providing items such as linen, toiletries and cupboard essentials;
- Prioritising customer service and hospitality;
- Offering local recommendations and tips;
- Adding thoughtful touches.
By focusing on these key areas, you can create a warm and inviting environment that leaves a positive impression on your guests, encouraging them to return in the future and recommend your chalet to others.
Looking to take your chalet rental business to the next level?
Partnering with the experts at OVO Network could be the game-changer you need. Our unrivalled knowledge and experience in the industry, coupled with a comprehensive range of services, can elevate your venture to new heights.
Whether you need assistance with dynamic pricing strategies, digital marketing, or guest communication, our team of professionals is here to guide you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our advisors for a personalised consultation or try our short-term rental income calculator today.
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