Rinse and Repeat - How to Make Guests want to Return

There is no doubt that the best guests are the repeats – the ones that come back over and over again and tell all their friends about ‘their special vacation place’.  Of course there are a lot of people who will never come back again, not because they didn’t like it, but because they are more adventurous and will always choose a new experience over a tried and trusted vacation choice, simply because they can.  These folks may never be converted to repeaters, but you never know so treat every guest as a potential for becoming a loyal visitor.

Create a Relationship

This doesn’t mean you have to send them a dozen emails before they arrive to say how happy you are they are coming to stay, nor greet them on arrival with a big hug.  Creating a good relationship means being prompt with replies, offering help with their vacation planning while they are staying, leaving a personalized welcome note and encouraging  (and acting upon) feedback.  Get on first name terms and show you have an interest in their enjoyment of their stay.

Bottom Line:  Give great customer service

Make Guests Welcome (and that includes the four-legged kind)

A welcome gift, however small, can have a great impact if it is meaningful.  That means thinking about your guests and what they might like.  Avoid leaving wine unless it is from a local vineyard or beer unless there is a nearby micro-brewery.  Instead, support local suppliers by packaging up a few local delicacies or specialties such as honey, maple syrup, home-grown herbs, free-range eggs, freshly picked veg etc.  If you have a local farmer that produces his own sausage or bacon, leave a pack or two in the fridge for them to try out.  Don’t forget to include a note that says where they can get more.  Where guests are bringing pets, go out of your way to welcome them too.  Buy some natural treats from a local supplier; include a temporary tag, some dog bowls and a few old towels.  You’ll be amazed at the goodwill mileage this gesture can have with a pet owner.

Bottom Line:  Make their stay memorable

Think of everything and then a little more

One of the best things you can do for your guests is to ensure they lack for nothing and that everything works for them on arrival.  A simple omission such as forgetting to change a burnt-out light bulb, or failing to refill a propane tank on the BBQ, can have far-reaching consequences in terms of the overall impression a guest takes away.  Simple things can make a big difference – plenty of reading lamps; a list of satellite channels; fresh packs of cards;  a good selection of kitchen gadgets, are just a few ways of wowing your guests.

Bottom Line:  Show attention to detail

Give them a reason to come back

If your guests like what they find, have a great time and feel welcome, you are almost all the way to getting them to return.  The final thing is to offer some incentive – perhaps a discount on a future stay or a great deal on a low season break.  Create a plan similar to a Frequent Flyer program where they can collect points for each time they stay and redeem them for a percentage discount.  Since your returning guests are your best guests it really is in your best interest to make it worth their while coming back over and over again.

Bottom Line: Create customer loyalty