Ever Regret Renting Your Vacation Rental To A Guest?
I’m asking this question because an owner shared a piece of advice that made me think, is there ever times when we should turn down a booking?
I asked the vacation rental community this question – “What’s The Most Valuable Thing You’ve Learned In The Vacation Rental Business?”
Jan Ferry-Axman, a cottage owner with vacation rentals near the Finger Lakes, contributed a piece of advice about guests that inspired me to write this blog post.
“Set Professional Standards high and….Always always be super hospitable, patient and helpful. NO MATTER WHAT! They may complain that they want a full refund because the toilet was out of service for a day, although you proved it was because their kids stuffed a stuffed animal and a pair of glasses down it (actual event). Make it through the very few who pain you…Your other numerous guests will sing songs of good reviews, numerous referrals and frequent returns to your property!”
What I’m getting from Jan is that she has experienced people that she’s loved to serve as her guests, and others that she just didn’t. But in the end she does say the good does outweigh the bad and I agree with her 100%.
So, how can you get more “good” clients and avoid bad experiences?
How Do We Avoid Bad Guest Experiences?
Firstly, I have to say that when you’re in business and accept money from people for services, I truly believe that you have the moral responsibility to make that client satisfied to the absolute best of your ability. But what if that was a mission impossible?
I mean, what if you just couldn’t make that client happy?
Has anyone ever had a traveler or customer that they couldn’t please, no matter what you did?
If you haven’t, you haven’t been in business long enough!
The problem with unreasonable clients is that they don’t know they are unreasonable and you won’t either until it’s too late and you’re in the bushes trying to get out of the woods with them.
You want to avoid doing business with certain customers because it will be a huge time sink and can be an expensive mistake. It will be nothing but added stress for you and your customer and that isn’t how you want your business to run, is it?
The advice Jan shared with us shows that business doesn’t come without it’s problems…but knowing the problems and how to avoid them is key to avoiding the pitfalls.
So how can you avoid a situation like this from happening to you like it did to Jan and I? In my next post, I’ll share with you what I had to physically create to prevent this from happening, but today, I’ll talk about the first thing you need to do…BUILD THE WALL!
When you’re communicating with your potential guests and customers, interview them. Yeah, I said that!
You should first see if you want to do business with them, and then you can work on convincing them to do business with you, not the other way around.
Now I say this with hopes that you understand you needn’t be arrogant or make it difficult for people to do business with you. You just need to set some standards of the type of person you want to work with.
You want to make sure your product is a right fit for guest or customer. Make sure your rental is going to fit their needs because if not, you’re asking for a problem.
Have they ever stayed in a rental before? Ask them if they understand what the rental would be like. Ask the right questions and have a conversational interview.
Look for red flags
- Have they changed their mind a lot, and at last minute?
- Are they wishy-washy?
- Did they give you a hard time about the security deposit?
- Are they demanding?
- Are they constantly changing the information they provide? Such as the number of guests and the dates of travel?
- If they try to beat you down on the price, it could be a cause for concern.
- If they are unresponsive to emails or don’t communicate properly, you may have a trouble case on your hands.
- ***Ask them what they are in town for*** If they say they are in town to party…CAUSE FOR CONCERN!
- Lastly, check out their social networks. Don’t prejudge, but at the end of the day, you have to protect your assets.
If you hear a dog in the background, you could ask “are you travelling with your pet?” If you have a pet-friendly home, this could be a way to sell them. If you don’t have a pet-friendly home, you may have just found a red flag.
Do Online Bookings Increase Chances Of A Problem Happening?
Everyone is moving to online bookings, but is there a problem with instant booking? While online bookings are convenient, you waive the right to talk with potential bookers and you give away the opportunity to vet them. Do you agree? Is the trade off worth it?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from people and relationships is that if it doesn’t start off well, it is not likely to get better. Trust me!
You can’t have the mentality of just getting the money. Often times larger businesses just want to get as many people they can to buy from them. They understand that there will be happy customers and some not so happy and they’re okay with that. They consider it nothing but a numbers game, but you can’t afford to have this mindset.
In the hospitality business, you have to work harder at things like customer service.
And interviewing your customers is one way you can help avoid having an unsatisfied guest.
Make sure you pay attention to the signs, ask questions and get useful information from them.
While building a rapport is super important, finding out if they are the right customer for you is the first order of priority!
And remember Jan’s advice…always be hospitable, patient and helpful. No matter what!