There is no greater showcase for a rental property than your own website. Get it done professionally if you can. A professional first impression can secure you hundreds of bookings over the years so don't baulk at initial upfront costs. What's more it's a great way to bring potential customers to you property free of charge. Get a Search Engine Optimisation(SEO) expert to optimise the website for Google and Bing. Its also a great way for previous customers to direct others to your rental offering by bouncing a link to your site to a friend by email, posting it on a social networking site or reviewing it on a blog or discussion forum. And if you do set up a professional website make sure you upload a wide selection of high quality pictures, ideally covering every room as well as good coverage of the property front exterior and the pool lanai area (if it's a pool home).
Offer a personal service. Owners who pick up the phone to potential guests are far more likely to secure bookings. Thats what customers of Emerald Island Private Rentals tell us. Auto-emails that generate a “we'll reply to you shortly” followed by large swathes of information chase holidaymakers away. A brief email with a quote is better including a link to a professionally designed website with high quality pictures is far better.
A great way to connect with your customer base is to get active on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Our best advice here is to think hard about what you intend to use them for and how often. Nothing looks worse than a social network presence fallen into disrepair. But likewise it can be a pain feeling the need to keep the sites up to date. Facebook is great if you use it anyway. Set yourself up a facebook “page” and get people to 'like' it. When you post comments on the page such as offers or late deals you instantly communicate out to your facebook community. Twitter works for brief updates such as late deals, special offers and general observations. If you can build a “follower” community, post links to interesting articles or content on your own website. Google+ is more like facebook. Build a community and interest group that you can communicate deals and special offers to and generally draw traffic to your vacation rental offering.
Every contact is a potential customer. If you get enquiries you can't accommodate that's still a potential future customer. Why not create a newsletter you can send out to people. They may book in future. Be careful not to spam people. Always ask people if they are ok to be contacted again. A good way to do this is email them detailing what you propose and asking them to reply with the word “REMOVE” if they do not want to be contacted in future. Websites like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp offer excellent newsletter services. Think about any way in which you might promote your property. Be open-minded. Expect to work. This is a business and its competitive so bookings won't simply fall in your lap.
Why not consider advertising locally. Create posters or leaflets. Why not put an advert in the back window of your car or ask friends to do so? As you drive around you are probably passing potential customers all the time. Everyone loves Orlando. This is where a website becomes vital. Nowadays with such wide access to the internet on smart devices, all someone needs is a website address. When they get home or reach the coffee shop they can quickly check the site.
Always aim to deliver great service before, during and after a booking. Return business is king. Holidaymakers like to take the risk and uncertainty out of their vacation trip and sticking with what they already know is the best way to do this. This is where social network presence (Get Social) or newsletters (Get Tactical) come into their own. Keeping in touch with previous customers is a great way to generate return business. One email or facebook post can trigger contact which may lead to a booking.
At Emerald Island Private Rentals we're doing this all the time and we're happy to help you. If you want advice on any of the above and are simply looking for some pointers to how you might improve you offering get in touch. We'll be only too happy to help.