Running a successful vacation rental business requires a unique set of skills. As well as providing top-notch accommodation, professional rental managers have the challenge of also offering exceptional personal service. The key to this is superb guest communication. Effective communication before your guest arrives can not only resolve most potential issues before they happen, but is also key to delighting your guests with exceptional customer service and receiving positive reviews.
But how do you manage to offer personalised services that make your guests feel looked after and valued when you’re juggling multiple properties and bookings from different channels? The answer is to use a universal messenger for your guest communication. This article will explain what a universal messenger is, why it’s useful and how to use it to simplify your guest communication.
What is a universal messenger?
Unfortunately, we’re not talking about some fancy interplanetary satellite system or other space age nonsense. When it comes to vacation rentals, a universal messenger is one that combines messages from various different sources into one inbox, and allows you to manage and respond to them from one place.
Regular readers of this blog will know just how important a Channel Manager is for a successful vacation rental business. A Channel Manager is a way of distributing your rental properties to multiple different rental channels or OTAs, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and more. But each of those channels has their own messaging system, making it difficult to keep track of all your messages and conversations with your guests.
A universal messenger like the one offered by Your.Rentals combines conversations from different supported channels into one inbox. That means you can view and respond to messages from each channel without having to switch between different platforms, and you can easily manage conversations according to booking reference or status. A handful of channels are currently not available on universal messenger systems, but using one can still significantly reduce your day-to-day workload.
Why is a universal messenger useful for guest communication?
In short, a universal messenger simplifies everything. Rather than having to juggle accounts on multiple channels and keep track of several different messaging systems, you can do everything from one place. Having to remember which bookings were received through which channels, and which guests need to receive certain information can be hugely taxing in terms of time and effort for busy property managers. A system that combines it all together can therefore be indispensable!
Some property managers try to manage their guest communication all through their email address. Whilst this can be done, it presents its own challenges. First of all, many sales channels don’t provide hosts with guest email addresses, so they can’t use this approach even if they want to. However, even if you do have access to guest email addresses, keeping track of conversations alongside booking information, property details and payment statuses means balancing multiple different systems at the same time. With Your.Rentals’ universal messenger, your conversations are all linked to your Property Management System, so information about your guest, booking and property is all right there when you need it.
How to use a universal messenger to simplify guest communication
Of course, the main point of using a universal messenger isn’t just to make your life as a property manager easier. It’s to help you provide more effective communication to your guest, and ultimately, offer a better service. Better communication means more satisfied guests, which means better reviews, which means more bookings!
The art of customer communication is a detailed subject beyond the scope of this article, but there are a few things to keep in mind to help you develop the knack for it. Firstly, it’s not just what you communicate, but how and perhaps more importantly when.
Some guests may be comfortable doing everything at the last minute, but many feel much more relaxed when they know well in advance what they need to do. Once a booking is confirmed, you might want to send a thank you message alongside key details – how will your guests find your property? Will there be someone to greet them on arrival or do you offer contactless check-in? What other information might your guests need to know to ensure they have a great stay?
Timely communication can prevent many issues before they arise. And if you find yourself constantly sending the same message to your guests (such as house rules, inventory lists or welcome books), it’s great to use a messenger which offers templates to save time. This means you can save common messages and use them again and again to make your communication more efficient.
You can also simplify guest communication after check-in, by using a universal messenger to communicate with your guest about issues with the booking, disputes or complaints. If there are issues whilst your guest is staying with you, it’s best to address these as soon as possible to prevent them escalating and risking bad reviews or even damage to your property. When you have a messenger integrated into your property management system, you can easily manage conversations alongside important booking info, which can reduce the hassle during potentially stressful situations.
Being an expert communicator is a skill that needs to be practiced and nurtured. Offering an outstanding guest experience entails many things, and great communication is just one part of that. However, by using a universal messenger, you can reduce your time and effort spent trying to run many different systems and instead focus solely on providing an awesome experience to your guests.