4 Ways to Create Marketing Ambassadors
What do you do once a reservation is complete? You have a deposit and have maybe sent an information package, but what then. Your guests are excited to have booked, they are in a mood to talk about their plans with their family and friends – in fact they want to share as much as they can. Of course your listing should look amazing to make them want to share, but your task now is to keep that excitement and anticipation going. What does this do?
It creates your own marketing ambassadors. These are the people out in the workplace and in social situations, and on social media, who are going to spread the word for you. If you leave them in limbo after they have booked you’ll lose a great opportunity to have the marketing continued for you.
People are usually far more excited and eager to share before their vacation rather than afterwards when memories fade quickly and back-to-everyday-life activities take over.
Just imagine. You have booked your vacation and have months to go before you get to your chosen paradise. Every so often someone in the family pulls up the listing and you go through every photo and talk about all the things you are going to see and do. Then, out of the blue, a package arrives. When you open it you see a beautiful book packed with images showing the property, the stunning location, local attractions, and happy people enjoying their vacation. This gets displayed on the coffee table and everyone who visits is encouraged to take a look at where you are going on holiday, and is still there as a memory when you get back.
Companies like Shutterfly make it easy to create your own unique photobook. This option is more costly than others but extremely effective to extend your marketing reach. It’s a useful tool for sending to guests who have booked a long time in advance.
You probably have a long list of all the questions you’ve been asked over time. Questions like ‘where is the nearest general store?’ or ‘what is there to do if it rains?’ Getting the answers to all these questions to your guests before they are asked is a neat thing to do, particularly if you cover everything they could think of. Remember too, that no question is a stupid one. If someone asks, it means they have a particular concern that needs a response, and may have difficulty in articulating it. So if you get an email that says ‘how deep is the water before it goes over your head’, this may raise a laugh or two, but what they are wanting to know is how far can they wade out into the water before it’s too deep to stand. (We got that question!)
Create your Frequently Asked Questions list and send it along with a friendly email that lets guests know you are sure they have lots of questions, and hopefully the list will answer most of them, but if not they can contact you again. Then, of course, you add their new questions and the answer to your list.
10 ‘Best of’ emails
If you are in a tourist area where there is lots of activity, places to go, things to do and restaurants to try out, it’s a great idea to give your guests plenty of pre-vacation information. This way they can plan well in advance rather than arriving for their week and spending time finding out for themselves. This is the sort of thing that can go into a blog if you have one, but if not, consider writing a series of emails that highlights the best in each category. For example, you could focus on restaurants in one, places to shop in another, and hiking trails in another. In some areas you will probably have material for numerous information-packed messages.
Use an autoresponder service such as Mailchimp for automatically sending these out on specific dates. You can set it up so each email + document goes out at a specific time after you registered them on your email list.
Calendar of events
Giving your guests advance notice of events in your area will allow them to plan, buy tickets, and not miss out on something going on they would like to attend. If you have a website, have a page that lists all the things happening; otherwise send them a complete calendar once they have booked. Make sure you include the URL to the event sites so guests can easily find how to reserve tickets or get more information on the event itself. It’s no fun arriving at your destination to find your favorite star is performing locally and there are no tickets left. Don’t forget to include local runs/triathlons/bike races etc. Your more active guests may be very appreciative to know there is a fun run, or even a competitive race going on, so they can register early.
Your guests will be eagerly anticipating their vacation with you, but if you can keep the momentum going by drip-feeding information over the course of a few months, they will keep talking about it. These marketing ambassadors are your underground workforce, creating buzz all for you – all you need do if fuel the fire.