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We've been getting quite a few email inquiries since we began using VRBO in late January, but after I answer each person's questions and send out a rate quote very few of them respond with a rental request. What could i be doing wrong? I reply in less than 12 hours of receiving the inquiry, am i replying too quickly?
If anything, you might not be replying quickly enough -- certainly not too quickly.
Realize that many of your inquiries were probably generated by a searcher using a "shotgun" approach of sending inquiries to any and all properties that might vaguely meet their criteria, which VRBO is apparently facilitating.
wow, not quickly enough? i generally reply within 2 hours if possible and certainly in less than half a day.. I thought i was doing great, considering i live in CHINA and am 12 hours ahead of everyone who inquires! :>/...so VRBO allows them to do that? the shotgun thing? that just stinks..makes more work for all of us and doesn't increase the chances for a rental result i'll wager
Yep - that's the way it works now. The inquiries you've been getting may not have originally been for your vacation home at all - just that "Hey, if you like this property, would you like to send the same inquiry to these 10 other properties?" I think two hours is pretty good time.
Twelve hours is not quickly, it's actually rather slow. Try to respond within 2-3 hours at the most.
Try to engage the writer. Ask about the makeup of the party, ages of children if noted, the sites or activities of interest to the party, features of your home that might interest the party, etc.
Are you near a child-friendly beach? A particular site? Golf? Skiing? Well known restaurants, shops, or are you simply convenient to all of the services guests might require? What would make your response stand out?
Keep in mind writers may not have not read your property description; in my experience some writers scan for basics and send an inquiry assuming you will fill them in on the details . . . . use the response as an opportunity to showcase your property.
I find that a personalized, friendly note can encourage a writer to respond - if only to confirm receipt. Please note that you can draft this type of note on a template that includes the basic info about your property. It doesn't need to take more than a few minutes once you have some language suitable for different types of parties.
12 hours is too long. The internet is the realm of immediate gratification. I work very hard to reply within minutes and I have found and it really helps in getting bookings. I set my phone to a special jingle when an inquiry comes by email. I average about 11,000 views a year on my listing which turns into 240 actual inquiries which yields about 38 weeks of reservations. The bottom line is that answering 85% of the inquiries is just practice for the 15% that actually book.
I had a prospective renter call me when I was out of the country. I just happened to have listened to my voice mail about 1 hour after receiving her phone call. I immediatley called her (I was in Europe, she was in the US). She said, "Oh sorry, I already booked with someone else!" Wow! 1 hour and she had moved on because she couldn't get me on the phone the minute she called.
I agree, people want instant gratification and if you aren't there to give it to them, they move on.
I agree with you guys...lots of prospects are looking for immediate gratification, and a stupid hour can sometimes make all the difference.
HA has a setting where your cell phone can be texted when an inquiry arrives. Our inquiry/booking ratio is less than yours, at about 1 in 10, but it may be that we're in a different market.
Question: do you respond via phone, email or both?
There are so many unknowns to accurately reply to your question... But suffice it to say that if your house is a real gem at a competitive price you should be getting bookings. If however it lags behind in quality, location and price to your "competition" is doesnt matter how fast you reply or how you reply. I suggest you spend some time comparing your website to that of your "competitors" whose calendars are RED and see what's going on... Also, send some dummy inquiries to these people to see how they respond... Trust me; the most successful owners did the same thing when they got started. Best of luck!!