5 Short Term Rental Ideas: Book More Guest And Ensure They Return

Muizenberg Guesthouse

5 Short Term Rental Ideas To Retain Your Guests


Getting more guests to your accommodation is not as easy as it seems. Your opposition is grabbing your guests. Hotels are doing a great job doing the same. And you have bed nights you can fill. But what can you do that’s free and effective? For some accommodation agents and owners with high occupancy it’s second nature. And they win the race. What can we learn from them?

I believe short term rental ideas based on the automation of tasks will bring you more happy returning guests. And a 5% retention can increase your profits by 95%.

Let’s have a look at these easy short term rental ideas and how they can work for you:

Are You Responding To Inquiries Promptly?

Early bird catches the worm. In other words success comes to those who prepare well and put in effort.

As you know accommodation searchers are not loyal. According to Flipkey, the average guest will inquire with 7 different properties. If you are serious about your business then you have to beat your competition in responding before they do.

Tip: In addition to prompt response we use an autoresponder from MailChimp to send an auto email with lots of relevant info. This auto-response is triggered just as people complete our enquiry form.

Get Their Phone Number And Phone Them:

According to Erin Colbert

Harvard Business Review, companies who try to follow up with potential customers within 1 hour of the inquiry are 7 times as likely to have a meaningful conversation with the key decision maker.

Tip: Our enquiry form requires an email address and phone number. Without that the form does not send the info. This helps us to phone potential guests but it also gives us a second chance if they gave us the wrong email address.

Act Like A Local Guide

Your guests are excited. And they want to keep the fire burning. Because you are the local expert you can help them in stocking this fire (regularly).

I mentioned the autoresponder; this is a great tool to send to send short-timed-interval articles on your area; safety tips, what to do, restaurants to visit and more. You can send it in one big bang but by sending very short tips every week or second week is more effective.

You may say to me it’s a lot of work; if you have to find new guests every time; that’s a lot of wasted work. But if you find (automated) ways to keep guests returning then it’s a different story.

Tip: Invest time in automated guest relationship tools. Most are free. You set them up once and they pay you back many times over and over.

Meeting your guests upon arrival:

Giving flowers, a bottle of wine and a personalised note with an info pack on area info is the least you can do. I suppose you can do less but then you are one of those working on finding new clients instead of ensuring guests return and rave to friends about you.

It costs six or seven times more to acquire a new customer than to maintain an existing one and a slight increase of 5% in customer retention can result in a profit increase of up to 95%. (See this graph for more on the value of retaining customers)

“In a perfect world, it’s both and everything in between. In the real world the general marketing rule is that retention is a lot more cost effective than acquisition…”
                                Carde Johnson – Forrester Research

Tip: Nothing is as important as the guest who gave you money and his trust to stay in your accommodation. Work on keeping him forever.

Follow-up after departure:

Your guests are gone. They have to face the bills or their boring lives. You gave them hope but it’s fading fast. Before it’s too late check-in with them again. Ask them how their stay were? Is there anything they did not like and if so how can you improve? Don’t be shy to ask the difficult questions. They will appreciated the opportunity.

And automate your tasks. We are using Right In Box to schedule future emails. As soon as we have done a booking we schedule a personalised email set for delivery one day after arrival and another 5 days after departure.

The first email welcome them and again share local info etc. In the post departure email we thank them for their stay, and ask for reviews. We include a link to where the review can be left. And then publish these reviews.

Tip: If people commit, orally or in writing [by writing a review], to an idea or goal [the happy stay in your accommodation], they are more likely to honor that commitment [tell other people about your place and return to it] because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image. Robert Cialdini

Let’s End These Short Term Rental Ideas With A Few Questions:

  • Do you think your guests will be more likely to book with you in the future or refer you to a friend if you invest in these short term rental ideas?
  • Do you think you can make mistakes and your guests will forgive you easier now that you have fuelled their happiness?
  • Do you think you can now use the follow-up emails to ask for future bookings and get them?
  • Do you think you will be more successful in getting future bookings than your opposition?

If you have said yes to one then why are you waiting?

I started this article by saying that 5% retention can increase your profits by 95%. Is that a worthwhile investment to make?

I think so! Get going and start using automated tools and other ideas to profit on returning happy guests today.

If you like these articles why don’t you tell me that?

Have Fun

Johan Horak

Suggested Tools:

Newsletter and Autoresponder from MailChimp.

Schedule and Reminder Emails from RightInBox.

November 18, 2013


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