If you listen to enough origin tales of vacation rental managers, as we have at Properly, you’ll start to see a trend. One that applies to managers of both small and large portfolios of properties. This describes the pattern: everything began with a single, spectacular success.
Then, a whole industry was built from that one successful vacation rental.
What is the recipe for a lot of vacation rental shining-star debuts? Personalized and considerate hospitality.
By the bedside, place fresh flowers. Personalized restaurant and activity suggestions for each visitor. Welcome gifts, baskets and handwritten messages. These extras undoubtedly contributed to grateful visitors, excellent ratings, and repeat reservations.
There is, of course, a catch. These considerate additions and hospitality extras are harder to carry off as a vacation rental business expands (not so good!).
So, how can you maintain the same continuously high standards that made you successful in the first place while managing a growing portfolio of rentals? How can you maintain your uniqueness without being worn out?
Here are some suggestions for expanding wisely and maintaining the highest standards of hospitality as your one perfect rental turns into a portfolio of 50.
1. Utilize social media
You are aware of its advantages in marketing. But did you know that social networking is also ideal for growing a hotel or restaurant business?
Invite your guests to follow you on social media as soon as they sign your guest book (we like Facebook and Instagram). Fill your feed with local events, hidden treasures, restaurant and activity suggestions, and of course, fantastic photos of your homes while you’re waiting.
It serves as a quick, low-effort invitation to the neighborhood around your vacation homes as well as a sneak peek at the amazing experience that awaits your visitors.
Refrain from posting wonderful testimonials from previous visitors or other overtly promotional content to your social media accounts. The objective is to have an entertaining, motivating, and informational feed.
Posting a picture of your seaside view at twilight or the flames of your gas fireplace will be far more effective. You may also request that your visitors tag you in their preferred travel images. Their beaming expressions will be more powerful than any written evaluation ever could be.
We like this illustration by The Distinguished Guest’s Alanna Schroeder. This is her vacation home in Kauai, a beautiful island. Just one glance at the picture makes you want to relive her idyllic beach day. (And the cute child undoubtedly brings additional sweetness.)
2. Use a crowdsourced guest guide
Scaling your business requires growing both your team and your clientele of homeowners. Make use of this to produce a crowdsourced visitor guide.
You may adore yoga and have tonnes of yoga ideas for other yogis but have no clue what rock climbing sites to advise. The hivemind is on! Your guest guide will be more individualized for your visitors the more individuals contribute to it.
Advice: Download the Top 10 Guides from Properly and distribute them to your staff and homeowners to get their input.
Making profiles for your workers and homeowners and including information about their favorite brunch places, hiking trails, sunset sites, etc. in them, is one method to organize your guide.
- “The proprietor of Bluebird Cottage, Susan, performs on the trapeze and is involved in the arts community. According to her, here is a list of some of the city’s best Arts & Culture experiences.
- “Jack, our maintenance worker, is an expert coffee drinker when he’s not busy making sure your rental is flawless. His list of the top 10 local coffee shops is below.
Additionally, your visitors will feel as if they are being welcomed by your complete community of customers and staff rather than just you.
3. Rely on your group.
Before visitors check in, your staff will probably be the last to finish the area to your satisfaction. You’re already ahead of the game if you assemble a strong staff that shares your commitment to providing for the needs of your visitors.
Make sure to explain why your management company is so important to you and why customer service and attention to detail are essential to your (shared) success from the beginning.
For instance, Susanne in Kelowna has team-building down to a science. Her service provider was so concerned that when her city issued a water scarcity alert, they rushed out and purchased bottled water for all of the visitors without Susanne even having to ask them to.
4. Communicate your goals
When you just had one listing at the time, do you remember all the considerate services you could provide? You don’t have to make concessions! You just need to let your service providers know about them.
Call us skeptics, but we believe a visual checklist, like the one we provide at Properly, is the most effective method to do that.
A visual checklist will help you keep track of the particulars that are important to you, such as replenishing the supply of coffee and paper products, checking that the key is present, and adding lovely touches like fresh flowers by the bed, mood lighting, and specially chosen music for guests’ arrival.
No element of your vision is left to chance when specifics are communicated via graphics rather than spoken instructions that are easily forgotten.