Already renting out holiday properties, or considering doing so? Whether you’re a prospective holiday property owner or an existing agency, when posting your holiday rental on a platform like Airbnb or independently, it’s vital to consider the positive impact you can have your guests’ stay. Caring about what your visitors feel and experience will mark you out as an excellent holiday rental host, and guarantee great reviews.
But meeting the expectations of your clients and the industry whilst drawing on your hosting skills and local expertise – to provide an authentic stay – can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve drawn up this list of tips for holiday rental owners, covering every stage of the booking. Are you already doing all of these?
Before the Trip: Research and Booking
Think about your potential clients as they search for their ideal holiday rental property. What do they need to see, and how can you help make their choice an easy one?
If a client gets in touch by email, social media or messenger with a query, get back to them as soon as possible with a clear, friendly, helpful answer. If you anticipate a further question or a connected issue, add an afterthought or a tip. Offering a little extra goes a long way to build goodwill.
Similarly, if they call, be calm and helpful. If you miss their call, call them back as soon as possible – but listen carefully to any messages first, so you can be ready with answers.
Make sure accommodation is as advertised. Talk openly about the location, all the particulars, necessary details about amenities and appliances, room sizes and specifications, what’s included everywhere and the times for check-in and departure. This way, clients will know exactly what to expect.
As well as giving all the property details, mention any house rules – for example, policies on parties, smoking or ‘quiet hours’ – or things to look out for, such as steep steps, local parking laws, nearest shops, distance to the beach, etc. Always offer a quick fix to any inconvenience.
If you are getting asked the same questions again and again, make sure you add all relevant information to in the property listing text, or alternatively include an ‘FAQs’ section showing the questions and their answers.
Photos, Photos, Photos
In addition to wide-angle shots of each room and views from the windows, develop a sense of intimacy by showing ornaments, fixtures, appliances and furniture. The more you show, the more trustworthy you will look, and the more clients will be able to imagine themselves already there.
Make sure your host profile is complete, up-to-date and contains a friendly headshot photo of you smiling back at the viewer. Talk about yourself and the property as if you were talking to a good friend. And, of course, display the I-PRAC logo to show you are a legitimate, professional agency or holiday property owner.
Inspire clients’ respect by asking things of them, too. In addition to the usual names and card details, validate your guests by requesting their email address, street address and phone number(s). Responsible visitors will recognise that you value your property and are careful about who stays there.
During the stay: What’s Mine is Yours
Paying attention to the details and making sure your guests feel welcome and at home can turn an ‘OK’ stay into a special holiday they will remember forever – and tell their friends about.
Leave No Trace
Make sure the property is clean and tidy. You don’t want guests to be put off by other people’s dust, mess or clutter, nor put off leaving any personal items that might get broken. Either hire a professional cleaner or work out the most efficient way to do a thorough job yourself on a tight turn-around.
Kitchen and Bathroom Essentials
Guests won’t have brought much more than their clothes and personal belongings. Make sure you provide towels, soap, hand cream and plenty of toilet paper in the bathrooms. In the kitchen, it’s a good idea to leave tea, coffee, sugar, bottled water, milk, salt, pepper, olive oil and unopened condiments like ketchup and mayonnaise ready for when your visitors arrive. All these things cost very little, but can go a long way to making your guests feel relaxed and welcome.
A ‘how-to’ guide to the property, this will really help your guests to feel at home and quickly find their way around. Include information or instructions for the Wi-fi, bin collections, lights, heating, air-conditioning, boiler, any peculiarities for doors and windows, and manuals for all kitchen and living room appliances. And don’t forget to include a sheet for plans in case of emergencies.
Local Maps and Recommendations
Visitors will appreciate maps, guides and leaflets to help them get to know and navigate the local area and all its attractions. You should also share your local knowledge and give insider tips on the best local shops, bars, restaurants, off-the-beaten-track places to visit and ways to save money. And remember: they will love to know what to avoid as well!
That Bit Extra…
A quick, easy way to welcome your guests and show you’re thinking of them is to leave a hand-written card and one or two small local gifts – maybe bakery items from nearby, a jar of preserves, or a bottle of the local wine. It makes visitors feel that they, and their holiday destination, are something special.
After the Stay: Going Above and Beyond
As well as helping your guests feel well looked-after, you can future-proof your business by asking clients about their stay.
Ask for Feedback
After their holiday, ask your guests for any feedback about the property. Don’t feel nervous about this – people enjoy sharing advice and opinions, and everything they say will help you create a better place to stay for future visitors.
Take Action on Feedback
Don’t just sit on valuable information. Take note of ways to further improve, do more of what went right, and eliminate what was less than perfect. This way, online reviews will keep getting better and better.
Keep in Touch
Re-marketing to past clients is an important part of modern business. With their permission, add them to your mailing list, or even connect with them online, and consider what they would like to hear about or what offers you could make to them in future.
Put Yourself in Your Guests’ Shoes
What would you like to find in a holiday rental property when you arrive and throughout your stay? Think back to what’s made you feel welcome, happy and in love with a place. Chances are, your ideal guests will appreciate the same things.
For more insights on the short-term holiday rental industry, why not visit our Media Page for a full list of articles – including the latest news, advice and case studies.