So, you've done all the right marketing, and you've made sure your advertisements are perfect with wonderful photos, detailed descriptions, well-researched rates, and an updated calendar. So how do you move your inquiries to actual bookings? After all, that's what really matters, isn't it?
While there are the occasional vacation rental “lookers,” most often when a renter inquires, they are serious about booking a vacation rental property. Realistically (and hopefully), for every 3-10 inquiries you receive, you should shoot for one booking. So if you are getting tons of inquiries but haven't booked, the following tips might help:
- Check your e-mail often. This may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people only check their e-mail once a day or once a week. At minimum, check your e-mail first thing in the morning, right as you come home from work and before bed. Try to also sneak a peek at your email during lunch, too.
- Reply immediately to inquiries. Be sure to be detailed and friendly in your reply. Include the rates, plus any taxes and fees. Confirm the exact check-in and checkout dates that you have available and tell them to feel free to call you if they have more questions.
- Include a signature line. Make sure that your renters know how to contact you. In every piece of e-mail correspondence, include a signature with your name, phone numbers, and a link to your personal website or vacation rental listings.
- Pick up the phone and call. When a renter inquires, pick up the phone and call them. Studies show that the first person to call the renter is most often the one from which the traveler will rent. Owners who call rather than e-mail have a significantly higher conversion rate than those who simply e-mail. The general rule of thumb is that if a renter puts a phone number on the inquiry form, they expect or at least invite a call back.
- Return your messages. When a renter calls and leaves you a message, call them back! Don't blow a potential rental by not calling them back in a timely manner. Make this a priority.
- Follow up. Give your inquirers a follow-up call a few days after your initial correspondence to see where they are in the planning process. If they're wavering between a handful of properties, your phone call could convince them to close the deal with you.
Many renters say when they get down to their final choices, it's more often their comfort level with the owner that tips the scale in favor of one property over the next. So that being said, always be friendly, honest and sincere when communicating with your renters.
© Copyright HomeAway, Inc. 2007
Updated: September 9, 2009
HomeAway , Owner Community , Policies & Payments, Responding to Inquiries , How to Convert Vacation Rental Inquiries to Bookings