5 Simple Ways To Encourage Repeat Holiday Bookings
Repeat business and returning customers are lucrative sales opportunities in any industry, not to mention in holiday lets! ‘The loyal, engaged guest is driving large amounts of revenue. If you take care of that guest, they keep coming back,’ Casey Ueberroth, senior VP of marketing at Preferred Hotel Group, told The New York Times.
Have you ever loved somewhere so much that you’ve just wanted to go back again and again? Let’s make that destination your holiday home. Here are five simple steps to encourage your guests to return year after year.
Step 1 - The Enquiry
Your opening email is the first opportunity you have to speak to your prospective guests, and as you are well aware, a good first impression is crucial. The email must be friendly, helpful and make it clear that you are always on hand to answer any questions. During any initial correspondence, be prompt and forthcoming with any answers to queries they may have. Many guests will feel more comfortable speaking over the phone so offer to speak to them at a convenient time. Direct communication will allow you to quickly build a relationship which is key to developing loyalty from your guests.
Guests haven’t booked yet? If it has been a week since your last email, it is always worth sending a friendly follow up just to remind them to book your property before it’s too late.
Step 2 - The Booking
Many of your guests will be new to the area and as soon as they have booked, they will be looking to find the best activities, restaurants, walks and places of interest that are close by. As well as sending through a list of common attractions, you are best placed to help them discover hidden gems that will make their holiday extra special. A couple of days after the booking, send an email with a simple guide to the area including your personal favourites, local wonders and family friendly activities that are accessible for large groups.
If you can provide them with an extraordinary experience, they’re sure to want to come back (or at the very least recommend you)!
Step 3 - The Welcome
It’s all about going above and beyond to give your guests unforgettable memories that they’ll want to have again. This may be a warm personal welcome or leaving a fresh bouquet of flowers on the dining room table if you can’t be there yourself. Keep your surroundings spotless and pristine and your guests will be inclined to do the same when they vacate.
Really pack in the wow-factor and sweep your guests off their feet, whether that is with gorgeous interiors or thoughtful touches that make your guests feel like you really care about their stay. Have they mentioned they’re bringing their dog? Leave some treats out for them and some chocolates or wine for their owners.
Try to highlight a prospective discount for rebooking in your welcome pack:
Offer a discount if guests book within 2 weeks of leaving
Offer a discount or add benefits on repeat bookings if they have not yet made a decision
Have another property? Offer exclusive discounts there, too.
Step 4 - During the Stay
By helping them at every turn, guests will be much more likely to recommend your property or return themselves. Problem? Fix it quickly and efficiently and you won’t taint your guests’ stay - they’ll rave about how helpful you were! In the same breath, it’s also important to give guests the space they need to enjoy the holiday: they’ll contact you if and when they need you.
Step 5 - Farewell & Follow Up
Arguably, the most important way to encourage repeat bookings is in the farewell and follow up. By now, fingers crossed they’ve had a wonderful stay and they really don’t want to leave! This is the perfect time to ask whether they’d like to book your property again for next year. Yes, it may feel very un-British to be so direct but having provided them with an unforgettable experience, you’ve earned the right. Whatever their answer, promise them that you’ll send over a follow up email and you’d really appreciate a positive review on Google (or on your website).
Always send a follow up email thanking them for staying and letting them know any availability for the same time next year or a particularly good time to visit the area. As we all know, the day after any holiday is the perfect time to motivate your guests to book the next trip away as they’re sat in work on a Monday morning with a case of the holiday blues.
Following these steps will surely improve the experience you offer your guests and (we hope) make it impossible for them not to re-book!