Okay so I might be late to this party but I have to share my newest discovery for making my vacation rental business easier.
At home I have one of those one-price, bundled packages for my telephone, cable and internet. The telephone is what they refer to as “digital phone service”, also known as VOIP (voice over IP). I recently discovered my voice mail has the capability to send me (via email) a digital version of my voice mail messages. With my phone provider there was an extra charge of $2.95/month.
When I travel, I generally have my phone forwarded to my cell phone so I don’t miss out on any bookings. When I am in-town but otherwise just out of the house (running errands, shopping, walking the dog, etc.), I don’t forward my phone calls. In the vacation rental business, timing is everything, especially with last-minute bookings. When someone is looking for a place to rent at the last-minutes, they don’t have the time to wait for you to call back. Generally speaking, if they don’t get you on the phone when they call you, they’ll just move onto the next owner. I can’t tell you how many times over the past 15 years working in the industry I have lost a booking just because I called the person back a few minutes too late.
Now when someone calls my home phone and leaves a message, I get an email sent to me with an attachment I can open and listen to on my cell phone! To remain successful in the vacation rental industry, we all have to step up our games especially as it becomes more competitive and saturated with properties (I read somewhere, I don’t remember the source, that something like 100,000 new vacation rental properties are added to the internet each year).
Call your telephone service provider and see if this service is available to you. If not, you may want to look into changing providers so you don’t miss out on any bookings!