I mentioned the ideal vacation rental guest when I told you about how to build a vacation rental brand. I feel much more can be said to explain this further, so I decided to give the topic a separate article.
As you can probably assume the ideal guest doesn’t exist. I hoped for a long time they must be out there. Some vacation rental owners still do. To tell you the truth it doesn’t matter if they exist or not.
Then you might ask, why all the hassle? What can we possibly gain by creating the profile of a person that doesn’t exist?
Well, there are a few benefits to this exercise and it does bring some other insights you’ll discover along the way. What it does is:
- Help you harmonize your customer experience
- Boost marketing results
- Help you identify possible opportunities
- And as we’ve seen in the article I mentioned, help with building your brand.
All of these put together should impact or financial results. The first KPI that you could see an increase with is the length of stay. But overall, you should also see positive results with the number of bookings, the price per night, and the number of reviews.
Look at your demographics
Look at the list of past guests. It might be from last month or the last quarter. The longer back you can go the better. See where they’re coming from. Are they foreigners? Mostly couples? Or maybe friends traveling together? What age? Do they travel with kids?
THink if there is any way to find out info about their income. And last but not least talk to them. One on one. On check-in date meet them. Try to be helpful. Ask questions but don’t be rude.
A face to face experience can help you so much. It will let you understand who your guests are, what makes them unique, and also what makes them choose you.
Another interesting thing to find out is whether they travel by plane or train or personal car for example.
At this point, you might think I’m crazy and I’m just gathering information for the sake of info. Hear me out. Think about this example. You find out 60% of your guests travel by car and 35% by train. That is valuable info. I can send out an email the day before arrival and explain to them where to park or how to reach us from the train station. And because of my profile, I know my information has a 95% chance to be relevant to them.
Collect customer feedback
Again. Talking to your guests. I know. But try to really listen. Some of them will provide direct feedback. Fix this. Add that. Others will not be as forward with you.
Feedback coming from guests is the most important thing in my opinion. They are the ones benefiting from your service. They are the ones with hands-on experience leaving on your property. Their opinion is relevant.
When you talk to them try to find out why they chose you. What made them click that book now button. After the check-out let some time pass. maybe a few days, up to a week.
Give them a call or send them an email. Ask what they liked and what they didn’t like. Ask how likely they are to recommend you to a friend. This technique is used in software dev and it’s known as NPS. We care about it because it puts the other person in a certain mindset.
Ask if they would recommend you. This will make them think for a second about the entire experience. Immediately after, ask what would they change. With the thought fresh in their minds it will be much easier for them to provide real and objective feedback.
A small side point here. From time to time, go to your property and spend a night there. Look at everything you learned about your ideal vacation rental guest and try to apply it. Act as if you are staying for a night or two and only have some spare clothes and some toiletries with you.
How do you feel spending the night there? Do you have everything you need? Is there something that bothers you?
You will be amazed by how many vacation rental hosts I know that don’t do this. At all. As in never spent one night in their properties. And you will be shocked to know for how many of them an experience likes this becomes an eye-opener.
Build your ideal vacation rental guest profile
Take everything you learned and build a profile. Talk about the guest. About what they expect versus what they find at your property. Tell the story of their stay. What they like and don’t like.
Put this all on paper and please, don’t stress about form. Just right a story the same way we did in 3rd grade. The only exercise here is looking at it.
You’ll see it’s something different. The usual reactions I get at this point are “We already knew this”. And I agree. Bits of pieces of this you already knew.
Having it on paper, structured, on the other hand, puts you in a position of strength.
After you finish take a break. 2 or 3 days and then come back to it. Does it still make sense? IS there something you will like to add?
Then take this idea profile out into the real world. Show it to your friends or family and talk about it for a few days. This is a good exercise to help you further analyze it.
In the end, you should have the full story of your guest. From the moment he leaves his house. His journey. His stay with you and his departure.
Use this profile in practice
When yo write the next article on your blog keep this profile in mind.
The next time you make adjustments to your Airbnb listing page keep this profile in mind.
Next time you send out an email or make a phone call to a guest, have this profile in mind.
I guess by now you get the idea and instead of a conclusion, I’m curious to see what you would include in a vacation rental guest profile like this.