Many owners tell us that guests who return year after year are incredibly valuable to them. They tend to book early, are more likely to rave to family and friends about how great your place is and, sometimes, become friends for life.
So what can you do to encourage your guests to return? Here are five ways to keep them coming back for more:
#1 A warm welcome
If you can be there to greet your guests in person and show them around, that’s brilliant. Don’t linger too long, however, as they’ll want to get on with their holiday as soon as possible. They probably won’t be in the mood for a detailed presentation about how the cooker works; that’s what your welcome pack is for. A friendly exchange and a short tour is enough to make them feel at home.
If you can’t be there, that’s fine as long as you’ve already given your guests detailed instructions about how to gain access and how to contact you should they have any problems. It’s also a good idea to give your guests a call shortly after checking in to ask if everything is ok.
#2 The VIP treatment
First impressions are important so, if you want your guests to return, each one needs to feel like they’re getting the VIP treatment. A welcome hamper full of goodies and little extras, such as a vase of fresh flowers or some homemade treats, will keep guests coming back to your place rather than trying somewhere else in the area next year.
Get to know your guests: if you know that they’re bringing a dog, get a couple of squeaky toys and some dog treats. If they’re travelling with young children, a few activity books and some crayons will be appreciated.
#3 Keep in touch
It’s a good idea to set up a mailing list so you can email all of your previous guests if you’ve got some news about your holiday home. For example, if you make some improvements to the property, such as the addition of a hot tub or extra bed, you could send an email to let them know and even include a picture. Don’t forget to include a link to your Holiday Lettings advert so they can make a booking online.
You might want to catch previous guests at a point when they’re likely to be planning their next holiday. Log in to your account to check when they made last year’s booking and send them a quote around the same time the following year. Add a personal message to encourage them to book again. Or go the extra mile and send previous guests a Christmas card featuring a picture of your home to act as a reminder.
#4 Extra incentives
Consider offering returning guests exclusive discounts and offers. For example, you could send an email shortly after their stay to say that returning guests get a percentage off their next booking if they book within one month. Or maybe you could let all of your guests know that if they make a repeat booking, they can stay an extra night for free.
#5 Saying goodbye (for now)
A successful check-in is just as important as a successful check-out. It’s great if you can meet your guests on their last day to collect the keys from them and wish them a safe journey home. But if you can’t be there, make sure they know well in advance what the check-out process is.
Send them an email shortly after they leave to welcome them back next year and to ask them to write a review of their stay. If they do leave a review, don’t forget to respond to it, reinforcing that you’ll be pleased to see them again soon. And for a final touch, consider leaving them a few little souvenirs from the local area, such as notebooks and keyrings, to remind them to come back again.
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