For the last decade, the short-term rental industry has experienced ups and downs due to emerging lockdowns, virtual work trends, rising expenditures, and fluctuations in worker churn.
Still, the industry market size is expected to grow annually at 11.1% from 2022 to 2030. So if STR businesses can seize the opportunity to attract repeat customers, they can capitalize on growth opportunities and profit.
To help you scale your short-term or vacation rental business, we will be exploring the importance of repeat and direct bookings and tackling how to get repeat bookings for your rental properties.
Why Do You Need Direct and Repeat Bookings for Your Short-Term Rentals?
Increasing occupancy and average daily rates are the main objectives for property managers, and most of them rely on OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) to reach their target.
These online booking agencies, or vacation rental websites, might be good at getting more eyes on your property listings, but the fees they charge for these services are a high cost for your business, and more eyes don’t always translate to more bookings.
Additionally, working with OTAs can restrict you in many ways. You have less control over the way your rental properties are represented, and because the OTA is designed to own contact with the customer, you have limited opportunities to increase customer loyalty and fewer chances to provide your guests with special offers.
All these factors have two major effects on the productivity and scalability of your business: rental management operations’ lack of personal touch and reduced customer-centricity.
So clearly, if you want to expand the profit of your rental business, provide a better guest experience, and increase the occupancy rate, you should focus more on getting direct bookings and retaining those guests as repeat customers.
Before moving to tips on winning direct and repeat bookings, let’s clear up an important point in achieving this strategy.
It is not about getting online booking agencies out of the way and taking over the workload yourself. What OTAs do, they do very well. It is more about balancing your use of OTAs with making sure you have a team of professionals executing customer operations, responding rapidly to booking inquiries, and offering customer-centric attention to their hospitality needs.
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the short-term rental management professionals you need
to achieve more direct and repeat bookings!
Our team members can meet your needs that support your growth.
5 Tips to Get Repeat Bookings
Acquiring a new customer is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers in any industry. Therefore, it is essential for property rental management businesses to come up with effective strategies that will set them free from customer acquisition costs and encourage repeat bookings.
Here are some useful tips to improve your customer service operations to get more direct and repeat bookings in your short-term rental business.
1. Take a Holistic Approach to the Guest Journey
Before making any improvements to your short-term or vacation rental business strategy, you should consider the guest journey as a whole, including their lodging search, booking experience, pre-arrival, guest stay, and post-stay.
Taking a holistic approach enables you to understand the needs of your guests at each step, maintain clear communication, and provide a better customer experience. In turn, your guests feel more valued, which is one of the most significant factors in turning new guests into loyal customers.
2. Collect Information to Build Trust and Customer Loyalty
Collecting information and making informed decisions accordingly enables businesses to maintain successful brand awareness and loyalty campaigns, which in turn increases customer retention and direct bookings.
As OTAs do what they can to limit a manager’s access to guest data, it is important to capitalize on opportunities to capture a guest’s contact information, such as email address and phone number. Your team can build data in a CRM and then remarket to these guests through marketing emails and messaging that will drive rebooking.
Your guest services team should take every contact opportunity with guests to fill in as much information as possible, even noting preferences for restaurants, tours, and events.
Additionally, you can set up automated email campaigns to inform your guests about your services, special offers, and discounts.
3. Provide Exceptional Customer Service
It is essential for rental businesses to understand guest motivations and provide unique experiences to turn them into returning guests.
To provide your guests with exceptional service and improve their loyalty, you should examine guest reviews online and on social media.
This way, you can realize the strengths and weaknesses of your customer service and improve it accordingly to increase customer engagement and keep loyal guests on board.
4. Find an Ideal Partner for Your Business
It is clear that managing short-term rental operations is not an easy task, and implementing a strategy to improve the quality of operations is even more challenging.
So if you want to get repeat bookings, increase brand awareness, turn your customers into loyal repeat guests, and increase the effectiveness and profitability of your vacation rental business, you need to partner up with the right team.
As the #1 trusted outsourced staffing provider, Extenteam offers agile solutions for short-term and vacation rental property managers. We are the service partner who will lighten your HR workload and reach the ideal remote talent to help you thrive in the constantly changing property rental landscape!