How many times do you look at customer reviews before buying a product or visiting a place for the first time? The answer is probably, “often,” and you’re not alone. According to a survey from BrightLocal, more than 90% of consumers age 18 to 34 seek out online reviews--and trust them when making purchasing decisions,
The short term rental (STR) industry is no exception. Customer reviews can either make or break a deal so, of course, this is an area that can’t go without talking about.
There was a time when customer service was simply by word of mouth and a priority for many service providers. As you can imagine, with the popularity of the internet and changes in how service providers interact with consumers, this all shifted….and rather quickly.
In an industry where almost all interaction is done virtually, how do you ensure your customers are enjoying what they are paying for, and how do you get people to keep coming to you?
Communication is Key
For most STR transactions these days, a property owner or landlord will never see their client face-to-face, not even to hand over keys. In the past, communication was difficult to manage without having a platform to communicate in volume and to scale. It was hard to keep up if a property owner was managing multiple properties and needed multiple people to assist.
Now there are so many options and opportunities, thanks to technology. If you want to make sure you have a happy customer, communication is key! This goes back to the fundamentals of hosting guests and simply being friendly. With so many unknowns about what an STR experience can turn into and having only pictures and a brief description of the property to go off of, customers want to make sure they are making the right investment and getting what they are paying for.
For starters, first impressions are still important. Sending a welcome message, being attentive to any possible need, and simply being available will go a long way. Although we live in a world that relies on electronics to communicate, a human touch can make a big difference. Guests appreciate detailed instructions and helpful information about the area, like a favorite nearby restaurant, or if there is a person that can stop by in case an emergency occurs.
Attention to Detail
When a customer invests their time, money, and energy in an STR, they want it to be memorable. Like any hotel or restaurant you have been to for the first time, especially in a place that may be far from home, a customer will notice the small stuff. Cleanliness, accessibility, amenities...make sure to take these into account as they are determining factors for a positive or negative experience for customers.
There are some helpful practices that some property owners utilize such as leaving a welcome note, providing a complimentary snack or bottle of wine for the customer. Again, it is the human touch that is appreciated.
The goal is to make your guest feel as welcomed and comfortable as possible.
Follow Up with Your Customer
Customers want a full experience. Knowing that they are a guest and you are the host, there is much to get out of both experiences. Guests appreciate when a host follows up with them to understand the experience that they had and ways in which they could improve the experience next time--or for the next guest.
Feedback and an openness to it is refreshing and helps with quality control. Reviews that are left behind by customers, either on the premises through a guest book or online, will be what future customers turn to in order to inform them about your unit or area.
STRs are the New Hotels
The lodging industry will continue to do well as long as people continue to travel and events of all sizes continue to happen. But when it comes to more personal experiences, STRs will thrive. Find out why more than 50% of people turn to STRs when traveling by tuning in below.