What Guests Really Want

Guest expectations are changing.  They are becoming more sophisticated, demanding and harder to please and as owners, we need to be consistently upgrading, improving and one step ahead of the competition to keep occupancy up and reviews positive.  From communicating in a very timely fashion to ensuring the place is always spotlessly clean, it’s a tough job being a proactive owner but there’s a few things you can do to reduce the risk of disappointing your guests.

Firstly, here’s a few comments picked out from a review site

‘There was a spider web on the bathroom ceiling’

‘I found someone’s sock under the bed which showed the place hadn’t been cleaned properly’

‘We were all looking forward to playing Monopoly the last night but the dice was missing and it ruined the night’

……seriously, that last one was a genuine review comment

Attention to detail

We all try to do our best but occasionally something gets missed – we forget to look under a bed; that pesky spider is probably spinning the moment we leave the bathroom, and keeping a constant check on the contents of games boxes is time consuming.  However, paying attention to even the tiniest detail can make the difference between a happy guest and one whose entire vacation is ‘ruined’ by something being overlooked. 

Tip – create a comprehensive checklist that whoever does the changeovers can follow. 

Be proactive and responsive

We’re in that age when everyone wants an instantaneous response to a question or complaint so it’s helpful all-round to be one step ahead of guests’ needs and wants.  Some owners will call guests on the first night of their vacation to check they arrived safely, have found the Welcome Book, to answer any immediate questions, and let guests know who to contact if they have any concerns or problems during their stay.  This simple action can be enough to smooth the way to a trouble-free vacation because a connection has been made.

Tip – make it easy for guests to find your contact details and instructions on what to do in case of problems

Make guests feel special

Guests want to feel welcome.  This is what makes a big difference between being a faceless customer in a hotel and a valued guest in a vacation rental.  The initial relationship in the inquiry/booking phase can grow to feeling of being special by some simple actions.  Finding out a little more about the family – why they chose your property and what you could do to make their vacation special – can go a long way to develop a warm relationship that will extend way beyond the simple gesture of a few questions.

Tip – Write a personalized welcome letter or hang up a chalkboard in the kitchen that you can write guests’ names on (don’t forget their pets).

It doesn’t take much.  A little time and thought on how to meet your guests’ expectations and then go the extra mile can make a big difference.