According to a 2019 consumer and communication poll, 63% of consumers said they would like to work with a company that offers text messaging as a mode of contact. Millennials are one of the most important segments of US tourists and are a texting generation. Texting is a quick and easy means to communicate information and allows for easy access to information at a later time. It also enables customers and businesses to pause a discussion, ponder, discuss, and answer in ways that are difficult to do over the phone.
Communication is essential when running a successful vacation rental. Including text messaging in your communication strategies will help you appeal to a broader audience while simplifying many of the procedures and processes you already have in place.
Here are a few ways text messaging can help you improve your vacation rental customer service strategy:
If the user still needs to finish the booking, follow up.
For many people, the preparation phase of a vacation is half the enjoyment. They get so happy when they arrange dates and save vacation rentals to their favorites list, but 81% of them stop there. They expressed interest, asked questions, and then vanished. We live in a busy world where people are easily distracted, so a quick follow-up text may be what they need to remind them to complete the booking before it’s too late.
Sending a follow-up text message may be all that is required to persuade tourists to complete their reservation. It also demonstrates that you are keeping up with your listings and paying attention to who is asking. A short SMS message can mean the difference between a pending booking and a confirmed reservation.
You may send something like, “Hey [NAME], we noted that you attempted to book [RENTAL NAME], but were unable to do so.” Can we assist you? I want you to retain the house because we’ve had a couple of individuals inquire about it for the same dates.
Best wishes, [COMPANY NAME]”
Opening the conversation to address any questions they may have can start a conversation, create a relationship, and assist reluctant travelers in making a confident and educated decision. All because of a quick text message sent at the perfect time.
Before their arrival
As you go back and forth during the reservation process, ask travelers if they are comfortable with text messaging. If they say yes, send them text message updates on their bookings.
A simple text to let them know that their payment was processed, that you received their booking forms, or that you saw their online request for a welcome bundle and added it to their reservation will help guests feel engaged in the process. This is a simple approach to informing guests that you are working hard behind the scenes to ensure they get the greatest experience possible.
Send a text message on travel day to let them know you’re looking forward to seeing them and to keep them up to date on any travel, weather, or traffic difficulties they should be aware of. Remind them of the best way to contact you if they have any questions while on the road, and express your delight at having them.
You could text something along the lines of:
“Hey [NAME], just wanted to let you know that we received your payment for [RENTALNAME].” More information will be sent to you shortly.”
“Your vacation is about here!” Please get your check-in guide by clicking here [LINK] so you know exactly what to anticipate when you arrive. Please let us know if you have any further queries. We are thrilled to welcome you!”
While most vacation rental hosts give check-in information via email, sending it via text message is also acceptable. Text messaging can remind guests of their lockbox code or where to pick up their rental keys. You can send them the alarm code, gate code, WiFi password, or any other information that they will need right away when they arrive. Request that they text you when they arrive so you know they arrived safely. This allows you to check in with them and answer any initial inquiries they may have about the place.
You may text something like, “Hey [NAME], are you ready to go on vacation yet?! We simply wanted to send you this link again to be sure you had all of the information you needed for check-in. If you have any questions, please let us know!”
A cordial follow-up
Allow the visitor some time to settle in after they arrive. Then, the next day, send them a quick text message to follow up on their check-in experience and see if there’s anything else you can do to assist them. Guests appreciate knowing they can contact the host if they have questions, and a text message is informal and casual. Try not to overload them with additional text messages after this follow-up. Allow them to enjoy their holiday while assuring them that you are available for any inquiries or concerns.
“Hello [NAME], we hope you had a smooth check-in and are enjoying your new home.” We’d be pleased to answer any questions you have about how the hot tub works or make supper recommendations. Have a wonderful holiday!”
Recommendations and local knowledge
Another wonderful method to use text messaging to improve the guest experience is to provide recommendations and local knowledge. A brief text message informing guests about a nice new restaurant that has recently opened, an accident on a major highway nearby that may affect their travel plans, or cool community activities that they should attend can let them enjoy the area like a local.
“If you’re searching for something to do tonight, there are food trucks down at the park,” you may remark. We also like [ADDRESS], a wonderful eatery down the street. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.”
When it’s time to check out, a text message can help deliver reminders about your check-out procedures. You can SMS the visitors to remind them of the check-out time, how to secure the property, and to thank them for staying in your house. If you have any useful advice on the quickest way to the airport or a nice breakfast restaurant to try on the way out, you may also share this via SMS.
“We’ve liked having you, [NAME], and we’re sorry to see you go,” you could say. Before you go, please remember to [INSTRUCTIONS]. Please let us know if you have any further queries. [CHECK-OUT TIME] is the time for you to check out. Have a safe journey home!”
Reviews are essential for vacation home rentals, but visitors are sometimes so focused on returning home and back into the swing of everyday life that they forget to post a comment on their stay. Sending a text message with a link to where they can submit a review can make it quicker and more convenient for visitors to provide comments regarding their stay.
“Hey [NAME], this is [YOUR BUSINESS NAME],” you could say. I hope you arrived safely home and are settling back into your daily schedule. Could you please submit a review of your stay at [LINK] when you get a moment? It simply takes a few minutes and would be beneficial to us. I hope to see you soon!”
Send out specials and deals to entice returning visitors.
One typical goal of vacation home rental owners is to convert first-time visitors into repeat visitors. Sending an SMS can be a casual but personal method to inform prior guests about specials and deals available to return customers. This makes them feel unique and valued, and it’s a terrific way to keep it on their radar. Tell them that even if they aren’t ready for another trip, they can share these loyalty benefits with their friends and family.
“Hey [NAME], this is [YOUR BUSINESS NAME],” you could say. I wanted to let you know about some great offers we have for previous guests. If you decide to rent the house again, please let me know and I’ll email you the discount coupons! “We’ll talk shortly!”
Text-based customer service best practices
One problem with texting is that communications without context can be misread or misinterpreted. To prevent this:
1. Reading and rereading
Take your time reading and rereading the material before sending it. Check for typos and ensure that the statement makes sense. Using etiquette softens your tone, and if you need a second to gather your ideas, take it. Take your time with your decisions.
2. Maintain Your Professionalism
Even if you have a “friendly” relationship with your clients, keep your SMS messages professional. Use punctuation, avoid slang, and keep the emojis to a minimum. While you want your guests to feel at ease and trusting of you, you also want them to see you as a company. This includes keeping messages professional and ensuring that you are proud of every message presented. Keep in mind that others can screenshot communications!
3. Avoid bombarding them.
Texting is convenient for many tourists to ask inquiries and communicate with their rental hosts. They don’t, however, want to spend the entire time messaging and checking their phones. When it comes to texting exchanges, follow the guest’s lead.
If they are slow to answer, step back and give them some room. Remember, they’re here to unplug from the world and reconnect with their families, so a few text messages should suffice during their stay.
4. Say what has to be spoken
Texts are simple to misinterpret or disregard, and your guest may receive a long text and not have time to read it before setting it away, only to ignore it for days or even weeks. Get right to it if you have crucial information to give. This demonstrates that you respect your guests’ time and wish to deliver information without wasting their time.
When you send a generic, pre-written text, people can tell. While this is OK for certain components of the vacation rental experience, others of these texts should be more personal. Avoid seeming like a robot by using more conversational language and tailoring your message directly to them based on what you’ve learned about them.
5. Pose inquiries
A text message is a simple, quick, and efficient method to ask questions and get to know your guests better. You can text them and ask whether they’re coming to celebrate anything special, when they expect to check in and out and if they’re familiar with the region. You don’t want to be overbearing, but asking simple questions will help you prepare for their arrival and tailor their experience.
6. Encourage people to take action.
All text messages you send should serve a purpose, such as creating a booking, encouraging the guest to submit a review, or assisting them in booking again. Consider whether the texts you send and your correspondence encourage guests to take action.
What’s the point of texting?
Because 58% of guests use their phones to search for holiday homes, they can already send and receive text messages. Offering text messaging alternatives can help you stand out from the crowd, allow for faster response times, and satisfy the modern traveler’s expectations. Text messaging is also less complicated to establish and requires less training or education than other more complex chat capabilities and messaging systems. Text messaging is a quick, simple, and handy way to communicate with guests how they want.
Texting has become one of the most convenient methods of communication, with many individuals preferring messages to phone conversations. Last year, 8 trillion SMS were sent, with 95% being responded to within three minutes. This suggests that individuals are near their phones and ready to send and receive information in this manner.
In comparison, just 14% of phone calls were answered by a live person without being put on hold, and only 20% of consumer emails to firms were opened at all. This means that by including text messaging in your communication strategies, you boost your chances of reaching the people you want to target.
Securing a reservation requires speed and accuracy. Many guests will reserve with the first rental host who contacts them. When their mind is still on vacation, a fast SMS message allows you to stay ahead of the pack and catch their attention.
What to remember
The ability to suit the needs of modern tourists is critical to your success as a vacation rental owner. Offering text message communication options provides your guests with another quick and convenient way to contact them and ensures you offer excellent guest care.