While our blog has usually focussed on pricing and revenue management, many of you have asked us if we could share tips and tricks beyond just pricing. So we asked the team at Guesty for their advice on what could hosts do while communicating with guests. They obliged us with a fantastic blog post. Read more below.
Whether you’re in vacation rental management, or you’re managing serviced apartments in an urban city, there’s no doubt that your bookings have been impacted by COVID-19. Even as some regions begin to ease lockdown restrictions, it’s tough to predict exactly when the short-term rental industry in its entirety will be back to business as usual.
In the midst of this slowdown, property management companies might want to consider investing more time in upgrading their guest communication efforts to build stronger relationships and encourage repeat business. This post will cover three key guest communication strategies designed to help you navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
1) Be Proactive
Under normal circumstances, you might wait until just before check-in to begin corresponding with guests — and even then, it’s often about logistics: where to pick up the keys, how to get to your property from the airport, etc. In the new reality shaped by COVID-19, your guests will be more anxious about their travel plans and they may have more questions for you.
Instead of waiting for them to come to you, let future guests know that you understand their concerns by reaching out well ahead of their stays. Ask them if there’s anything you can do to make their stay more comfortable, and consider offering discounts or flexible cancellation terms to encourage them to keep their bookings. Not only will this help prevent cancellations in your short-term rentals, but it will also be an act of kindness and generosity when people need it most. Similarly, you may want to reach out to canceled guests to let them know you understand their predicament and offer them a discount for a future booking.
2) Show That You Care
We’re all in this together. Let your current and future guests know that you care about their safety and comfort during this difficult time. For current guests, create automated messaging flows to share how you’ve upgraded cleaning protocols to keep them safe. You may also want to check in on guests more often than usual to ensure they are feeling comfortable and have everything they need. A little extra care goes a long way when people are feeling anxious.
If you’ve introduced any new services to help guests during COVID-19 — such as grocery deliveries or translation help with local embassies and authorities — use your messaging flows to make guests aware of these changes. This way, they’ll feel welcome to reach out if they need something
3) Follow Up
If guest communication typically ends upon checkout or once you’ve received a glowing review, now is the time to extend that conversation a bit further. Stay in touch with your past guests, whether it’s to let them know about discounts and deals or to share new photos of your listings and other engaging content. Since it’s likely that most of your upcoming guests will be domestic travelers, staying in touch after a great stay is the perfect way to stay top of mind and encourage both word-of-mouth marketing and repeat bookings.
While things may seem bleak now, we are starting to see recovery in various market. Travel will bounce back. You can track market recovery using PriceLabs Covid center or recently release Market Dashboards.
Until it returns to normal, the most important thing you can do for your property management business is to be flexible, agile and optimistic. For more inspiration on how you can upgrade your business and adopt new strategies to navigate coronavirus, check out Guesty’s COVID-19 Infocenter.
Guesty is the leading end-to-end short-term rental property management platform that streamlines and automates the complex operational needs property managers face on a daily basis – from guest communication to task assignment to payment processing. With Guesty, property managers save time so they can focus on what matters most: growing their business.