The average traveler will search through multiple short-term rentals before choosing to send inquiries to a few - provided they don't skip the conversation and go straight for a listing with instant book. Optimized listings generate those requests, but how can you better convert these inquiries into actual bookings?
What happens once that potential guest submits their inquiry can make all the difference between a dead-end and a confirmed booking. Try these tips to increase your listings' conversion rates!
Always respond quickly
If you have your sights set on being recognized by a channel as an outstanding partner, you must respond to inquiries quickly.
Speedy response times aren't just good for landing in the good graces of channels, it will also help you better convert an inquiry into a paying guest.
Bookings often are rewarded to the first host who responds to questions or confirms availability. Be sure to check your email and phone messages on a regular basis and better yet, set notifications on your phone to make sure that you don’t miss any inquiries.
To best deliver on our first tip of a prompt response, make sure you have autoresponders set up. When you have an email inquiry come in, autoresponders make it easy answer to frequently asked questions or give more information about the property.
You should also provide the answers to FAQs on your website and across channels if they allow it, but email is a great way to connect with potential renters. Sending them a “personalized” greeting by using smart fields - even if it is an autoresponder - seems much more inviting than directing them to a page on your website.
If you need templates or additional tips to guide your autoresponders, MyVR has you covered.
Consider picking up the phone
If a guest inquiry leaves their phone number, giving them a call is a great way to satisfy their questions before someone else does.
According to a HomeAway study, property managers and owners who call inquiring guests rather than reply via email experience a higher conversion rate than their emailing counterparts.
People don’t always monitor their email, so a quick phone call instead of an email response may give you an edge over your competition - even if you get sent to voicemail. This also gives you the opportunity to connect with the guest personally and answer any questions they might have in a very timely way.
Go above and beyond
If you exceed expectations from the start, you’ll create a good foundation to build on.
Deliver more than people expect by pointing them to your local guide or, if you know why they’re planning their trip, link them to related information.
For example, a family planning a week-long vacation may appreciate a heads-up about a festival happening while they’re in town and that very well may sway them toward booking with you over someone else.
Give them options
If you’re already booked for the time period requested, but your rental is available around their selected dates, let them know about the availability in case their dates are flexible.
Alternatively if they decline your suggestion, include a link to your website and recommend that they come back another time, booking on your direct channel to skip the channel fees.
Tired of managing inquiries, turn on instant book
A surefire way to convert more inquiries into bookings is by turning on the instant booking option across all channels.
More and more travelers are expecting their vacation rental booking experience to be similar to hotels. Travelers would much rather book when they’ve made up their mind instead of waiting for confirmation from their host.