Follow-up emails – the smartest marketing you can do

In this fast-moving technology-driven culture it’s easy to forget about the importance of following up with your customers.  In the buying process we research a product, make a selection and then a purchase.  If it works as it should and delivers satisfactory service then all well and good, but we may forget about where we purchased it from or the experience of doing so.  However, if the company follows up on the purchase and reminds you about that experience, there is a good likelihood you’ll buy from them again.  Sears does this when they send a personalized thank you card after you buy an appliance.  It’s a simple gesture that really works.

Do you follow-up with your rental guests after each stay?  If the answer is ‘No’, you may be interested in these reasons why you should.

It’s an opportunity to ask for feedback
Many guests either forget, or don’t bother to write anything in the guestbook, so you may not know if they have any issues, were missing anything, or something didn’t work, unless you ask them.  In fact, if they have a gripe of some sort, they may just head towards a review site to post their negative comment, whereas a follow up email from you asking for their feedback can head that off quite effectively.

A great question is to ask what you could have done to make the experience even better.  This often pulls some great suggestions that you may not have thought of.  Of course, the suggestions may not be practical but the engagement you have made can be very valuable.

Ask for their best experience
If you want your guests to write an online review, a nice way of doing it is by using a two-step email process.  Ask them to tell you what they loved most about their stay and when they have responded with their experience, you can email back with their text in quotes and suggest they post this as a review.  For example:
“We really appreciated your comment about how much you enjoyed the hot tub and the evenings you spent under the stars.  We’d love it if you would consider posting this as a review on our listing so other travellers can share your experience.  I’ve highlighted your feedback if you just want to post this….”

This makes it an easier process for your guests.

Offer a loyalty reward for rebooking
While your guests are still basking in their memories of the great time they had, offer them the chance to book another stay at a discount.  Make it a time sensitive offer – “Book another stay by Saturday and we’ll reduce the price by xx%” or something similar.”

Ask for a Facebook like
If you have a Facebook page, this is the opportunity to ask them to ‘Like’ the page, make a comment and share it with their friends.  Create an album for guest photos and suggest they post their best holiday pictures on there.  

Automate or not?
Some property management systems allow for automatic follow-ups , but the nature of these is they look automated and lack the personal touch.  If you use these, make sure you customize each one with something that is very personal to those guests.  Refer to something you know about them such as:

“We hope you had a safe journey home to Portland”
“Did Chuck enjoy his birthday party on the beach?”
“How did you like the walking trails and the maps we left for you”

That brief personal engagement can continue the rapport you may have created in the booking process and seals the relationship.

The worst thing you can do after your guests leave is not to follow up with them.  It’s a big missed opportunity and it’s such a simple thing to do.  Is there anything you do differently?