As a vacation rental owner in the hospitality industry, you have one primary goal – to bring in guests! But it’s not just about getting new guests to visit your property. One key part of vacation rental ownership is getting repeat guests. How do you get repeat guests? With guest loyalty.
What is guest loyalty? Simply defined, guest loyalty is an ongoing positive relationship between you and your valued guests that keeps them coming back to stay at your vacation property time and time again. Why is guest loyalty important? Impressed with your excellent vacation rental experience, not only are repeat guests willing to book more, but they’re oftentimes willing to pay more!
Building Guest Loyalty
But how do you build guest loyalty into your marketing strategy? How do you get your guests to invest in more than just booking your cabin – but also in the experience of your vacation home? How do you take your guests from one-time customers to frequent guests who tell their friends about your property?
In order to create loyal guests and gain more direct bookings, you must offer a welcoming environment and personalized experience that appeals to guests and encourages them to keep coming back year after year. Whether your target is families, friends, teammates, or business travelers, the guest experience you create can either ensure loyal guests or ruin your chances of any guest loyalty.
As a vacation rental homeowner, it can be difficult to know where to start – but we’re here to help! At Georgia Cabins for YOU, we have decades of experience in the industry. We focus on creating memorable experiences for guests through quality properties, personal care, and honesty in all interactions. While there are many aspects of building guest loyalty in the hospitality industry, here are the 5 primary areas we focus on to maximize guest loyalty.
1. Prioritizing Customer Service
First impressions are everything, and great customer service is the start of that. From the first phone call to checkout, guests want a vacation experience that lives up to the time, money, and effort they’ve put into planning. Our customer service team covers it all, offering positive attitudes, caring voices, and support for guests – whether they’re calling, emailing, posting, or messaging.
Our dedicated Guest Relations team is devoted to handling any issues that arise during a guest’s stay with respect, honesty, and passion. We also offer an easy-to-use website with simple search functions that allows guests to book, ask questions, and plan without stress. We keep in constant communication, whether it’s directly with individual guests or by posting and responding promptly on social media platforms.
2. Sending Guest Surveys
Guests LOVE to offer their feedback, and we LOVE receiving it! When guests share their vacation experiences, we learn more about what guests want – or don’t want – during their stay. We send out a short post-stay survey online, so guests can quickly and easily share with us.
This makes guests feel valued and offers them a helpful place to provide praise – or vent their disappointment – so we can constantly improve. We listen and learn – and action that feedback. We also respond to any feedback that warrants it because we truly care about our guests. If a guest is happy, we encourage them to return. If a guest is unhappy, we listen and learn what we can do to earn back their trust and loyalty.
Our current guest satisfaction survey asks guests to tell us how their stay went, how likely they are to recommend the property they rented, and what they believe we did well – or could improve upon. We don’t just have customers. We build relationships with our guests that create strong customer loyalty. And as with any good relationship, communication is key.
3. Promoting Positive Reviews
While guests are often more than willing to share their bad experiences – whether it’s a restaurant, attraction, vacation rental, or event – it is often quite difficult to encourage guests to share their experience when it’s a great one. We promote positive reviews by reminding guests they can leave honest feedback that helps future guests make informed decisions and helps us improve their future vacations. How many times have you left a review without being asked? A friendly reminder can certainly help!
Why are reviews so important for loyal customers? When guests feel heard, they are encouraged to come back. And when you create a community of loyal guests, potential future guests read those reviews and feel more confident in their choice. Think about this: when you are looking at a company, whose opinion about their “great service” would you believe more – theirs or the customers’? Georgia Cabins for YOU responds to reviews and ensures guests see the most recent feedback of an honest customer experience.
The best way to promote positive reviews is by knowing who had a great time (our in-house post-stay surveys) and reaching out to ask them to share their positive experience! Research suggests that guest reviews are one of the best ways to promote properties to your customer base, as written reviews can impact as much as 93% of purchase decisions.
4. Reviewing Guest Feedback
While positive reviews are wonderful, and it’s easy to bask in those, the negative reviews and unhappy guests are really what need our attention. If we encourage guest reviews but don’t actually read them, they don’t do us any good. We consider honest feedback a valuable tool at Georgia Cabins for YOU, and as a professional vacation rental management company, we take it seriously.
Although we provide regular inspections and cleanings, sometimes items are missed. And even with training, studies, and expert opinions, it’s really what the guests think that matters most in the hospitality industry. We listen and respond to guest feedback, whether it’s an online review, phone call, or survey. If there is an issue, we fix it. If a company policy could be better, we adjust it. We thrive on improving through all feedback – positive or negative.
5. Offering Member Benefits
There are many vacation rental options out there, so we must find a way to stand out. One way we do that is through our CFY Rewards Program, a guest loyalty program with fun perks – including early check-in, reduced pet fees, and exclusive discounts throughout the year. Plus, each time a member stays with us, they can earn FREE nights towards future stays!
Offering incentives via a rewards program is a great way to build guest loyalty! And unlike OTAs (online travel agencies) or hotel loyalty programs, we don’t worry about keeping track of reward points or guest profiles. We offer rewards based on membership, which means once a guest becomes a member, they’ll have access to all rewards for every stay. The only perks to earn are FREE nights — aside from a bonus FREE birthday night! Best of all: no blackout dates!
Loyalty to YOU
In addition to earning the loyalty of our guests, we work to be loyal to you as an owner. You can be as much or as little involved as you’d like when it comes to your property, and when you join us, you become part of our family. As a family, we’ll work together to gain repeat guests and create fantastic experiences year after year to boost occupancy and increase your overall profit.
We are always just a phone call away, so please reach out if you have any questions!