Between the years of use and sheer volume we deal with on a regular basis, it’s easy to get complacent when it comes to email correspondence for your vacation rental.
Don’t make this mistake!
Big businesses are looking for more ways to customize and personalize their websites and email marketing, but in the travel sector, vacation rentals have an edge: a more individual and uncommon experience is inherent in the industry.
For most rental owners, email is the first point of contact. It’s up to you to capture a traveler’s interest and, ultimately, their business.
Do your email messages meet the same high standards as your rental property, or do they fall short?
In the era of the “book it now” button, timing matters — and, as the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. According to HomeAway, response time is the “number one thing that travelers would like to see improved in the vacation rental experience”.
Improving your response time is an easy and effective way to increase your bookings — but that’s not the only reason. Whether or not you’re quick to hit the “reply” button could become one more factor for travelers to judge before they ever send you an inquiry.
If you’ve used popular rental site Airbnb, you’ll know that this is already in play: Every listing includes the host’s response rate as well as their response time (ie “within a few hours”, or “within a day”).
Rethink your email signature
An email signature is such a regular part of email correspondence that it’s easy to set it and forget it.
When was the last time you turned a critical eye to those last few lines of your messages?
An email signature has two main roles: to identify who you are, and to tell people the best way to get in touch with you.
How you do that is entirely up to you, but here are a few tips:
- Include your name as well as the name of your vacation rental.
- List the most efficient way for people to contact you; this is likely your phone number, but could include another channel like Skype. If it’s not a quick and easy way to reach you, however, don’t list it.
- Avoid using an image or logo as part of your signature; it may look good on your computer screen, but you can’t control how it will show up on other people’s computers.
- Stick to one or two links that best represent your rental property, like your custom website. It can be tempting to include every link to your property, but this can be confusing for guests who won’t know which link to choose.
You may choose to include your vacation rental’s street address, or to promote upcoming deals or other announcements. Whatever information you decide to include, the key is to keep your signature short, simple and relevant.
Write person to person
It’s true that it can come across as disingenuous — and maybe even a bit creepy — when a big company uses your name and information to make their email more personal, as if they have a long-standing relationship with you.
However, your guests aren’t dealing with one of the big conglomerates, they’ve contacted you!
Keep your emails friendly and professional, with all the niceties you would use in person:
- personalize your messages to your guests, addressing them by name
- use salutations to open and end your messages, and
- include “please” or “thank you” when making requests.
After years of writing correspondence, this reminder may seem pretty elementary. However, thoughtful communication is something we often take for granted as we increasingly use shorter and more casual messages with our friends and family.