As a short-term property manager whose business heavily depends on repeat bookings as well as positive reviews and recommendations, providing excellent guest service is a top priority for our team.
Together, advancements in technology and the rise of the vacation rental have vastly transformed the travel industry, and with those changes came new standards and expectations, standards – expectations every serious property manager needs to meet.
What Guests Want
Technological evolution has made so many areas of our lives simpler and smoother, and guests expect the same when it comes to their holidays. They want a 24/7 line of communication with their hosts. They want their needs predicted and any difficulties avoided.
But more than that, guests want something unique. They no longer seek out generic, package-style holidays. People who visit Cyprus and stay at Airbnb want exclusive and personalized vacations. As their host, it’s your job to deliver.
Here are some of our insights on how to give guests the kind of stay that will ensure they leave your Airbnb rentals with nothing but praise for you and your property.
The Three Keys to Successful Guest Service
There are many facets to guest service, but these can be narrowed down to:
- service excellence and personalization.
The first two are relatively straightforward.
Where speed is concerned, guests expect prompt replies to their questions and swift action when requests are made or problems arise. Responsiveness is mentioned quite a lot in guest reviews, indicating just how important this is to them.
If a potential guest has a question she wants answered before booking, it is most critical to answer it promptly to help secure the reservation. Take a look at our post where Exelair Guest Communications Team Reveals the 9 Most Common Guest Inquiries to find out what these can be. Furthermore, responsiveness is a crucial factor in getting the coveted Superhost status, so if you want to wear that VIP badge, you have to reply to any messages within one hour.
Accuracy concerns giving guests a clear picture of what to expect throughout their trip. This means posting authentic photographs that truly reflect the condition of the property and refraining from embellishing in your listing descriptions. If one of your facilities, like a pool or dishwasher, is not in working order, make sure to bring that to your guests’ attention in advance. Disappointment will lead to negativity and less than favourable reviews.
Accuracy also involves being very thorough in any instructions or information you give to your guests. The less they have to turn to you for clarification, the smoother the experience will be for everyone.
Service excellence and personalization is an aspect of management that is a bit more complex as it is made up of many different components. Here’s the breakdown.
How to Offer Guests Service Excellence and Personalization
Deliver the right experience to the right guest
Getting to know your guests before they arrive is vital. What is the purpose of their trip? Who will they be traveling with? A few simple facts are all you need to guarantee the rental and recommendations will be right to the specific kind of guests you are expecting, be they honeymooners, families, solo backpackers, or business travelers
Note internally and remember special occasions
In our experience, guests commonly share a lot of information with their hosts, including the purposes of their visits. If you can take that into account and provide them with anything that ensures the best experience for them, they will reward you with 5 start reviews. For example, there are a lot of young couples coming to Cyprus to get married. If you know this, make a small gesture to commemorate the special occasion. Also, tailor your recommendations to their plans and be sure to follow up after their stay, asking if they enjoyed whatever it is they came for.
Identify return guests and greet accordingly
Treating return guests as if they are total strangers is a big faux-pas. You may not remember every single traveller who walked stayed with you, but your guests don’t have to know that. All of your previous booking information should be stored and used for reference, so that when you connect with returning guests, you can speak to them like old friends. The more information you gather, the better. You can use it to show guests they have found areal home in your vacation rental.
Provide recommendations that are specific to the guest and based on personal experience
The rising demand for personalized experiences means that Googling Cyprus’ top attractions will no longer cut it when guests are putting together their trip schedules. More than 56% of Airbnb guests rely most on recommendations from friends or acquaintances and hosts.
As a local who should have a decent understanding of your guests and the kind of trip they’re hoping for, your suggestions will carry a lot of weight. Make sure you do your due diligence and invest time and care into the places and activities you recommend. Show them you’ve taken their unique needs and wishes into account.
Be personable and match the guest tone
All guests are different. Some prefer short, professional communication, while others tend to get a bit more friendly and casual. Your job is to follow their lead and respond accordingly.
Obviously, you’re going to want to put your best foot forward and do everything you can to give your guests an enjoyable experience. If a guest has asked you for late checkout, don’t simply reject or approve the request. Think about if you can be more flexible and then let the guest know that you are willing to accommodate them and make the necessary arrangements. Guests will be all the more grateful if they see the efforts you’ve gone to meet their requests.
Respond to guest reviews
Reviews possess a great deal of power. 72% of consumers will only make a purchase if they’ve read a positive review of the product and 88% see online reviews as just as reliable as personal recommendations.
People definitely read the reviews on your Airbnb listings, and so it is worth your while to respond to them, expressing appreciation for positive feedback and regret when faced with criticism. Knowing how to appropriately handle negative comments can make or break your property’s success on Airbnb.
Add a personal touch
With so many guests coming through your properties, it can be easy to fall into a polite, robotic kind of communication. This is something you want to avoid. Visitors coming to Cyprus are choosing Airbnb rentals over hotels because they don’t want to be anonymous guests. A third of bookers are opting for the rental over the hotel because they are seeking “authentic experiences.” They are looking for genuine connections to the people and culture of the island, both of which you represent.
Utilizing automation tools for some guest interactions is a recommended time-saving tactic, but you should still take actions to prevent your mesages from getting dry and repetitive, especially when leaving guest reviews, as these are viewable to the public. Change it up by using multiple review templates and try to make each one friendly, personal and engaging.
Be effective and efficient, but don’t forget to be human.
Bring It All Together
With Airbnb featuring over two and a half thousand vacation homes for travellers to Cyprus to choose from, the competition is fierce and guests are holding their hosts to increasingly high standards. They want the luxuries of a hotel combined with the freedom and intimacy of a home. It may seem like an impossible task, but there are very specific measures you can take to achieve this perfect balance of the two.
Get in touch with our experts at Exelair to see how we can help you achieve guest satisfaction.