11 10 / 2011
Having a clean and presentable holiday home in a good location is all very well, but how can you keep your guests coming back to you again and again, and not trying out the villa or hotel down the road? Here are 7 ideas that might just give you the edge over the competition…
Get the basics right, like clean linen – its essential that bed linens and towels are fresh on change-over day, but what about for the rest of your guests’ stay? In some villas, the first day is the only day they are clean. Make sure your guests know when their linen will be changed so they don’t use all their towels in the first 10 mins of arriving. And consider doing at least one mid-week freshen up. Don’t forget, some guests will be used to hotel service and changing linen every day, but you will also need to weigh this up against the cost. If you can negotiate a good price without it affecting the cost of your villa, the more often the better.
Offer extra facilities to keep the luggage light – Clothes are heavy enough, so if your guests are using their luggage allowance on extras like hair dryers, irons, etc - its a few less clothes and suncreams that they can take. Make sure you offer as many of the extra essentials as you can, and make sure your guests know before they travel exactly what you are offering – then they can use their luggage allowance for the fun things it was meant for.
Baby items – If you are in an area for families, its good to offer as many baby and toddler facilities as you can. Bedding is usually not provided for hygiene reasons, but cots, high chairs, bottle warmers, etc are essentials that your guests might not be able to bring with them. Make sure you are known for being family friendly, and this will make sure as many people as possible will be able to enjoy your home
Welcome hamper – Do your guests spend all day on buses, trains and planes, and arrive at their destination to be faced with an empty fridge? Do they get to have a cup of tea on arrival, or do they have to hunt down the nearest shop before they can relax? Think about offering a welcome hamper for your new arrivals with the essentials for their first day – tea and coffee, bread, jam, cheese, etc. Try to negotiate a price with the local store or supplier, and see if this is something they could drop in on change-over day. You can make the hamper as basic or luxurious as you like, either will ensure your guests start their holiday on a relaxed note.
Have a file on the local area – How many times have you been to a new resort, spend all holiday hunting things out, only to find the best bits on the last day? Put together a pack, just like many hotels offer, telling your guests all the things they need to know. Include things like a map of the area, where the nearest shops, bars and restaurants are, dates of any special events, what attractions there are, and also more practical advice like emergency numbers, local taxi companies and bus times. Its all information your guests will appreciate not having to find out for themselves.
Include things to do in the price – Why not offer some extras in the price? If there are local attractions, offer tickets in with the price. You can probably negotiate a better price for the repeat business, and your guests will appreciate the thought. However make sure you tailor your extras to suit your guests – an elderly couple wanting a quiet holiday might not appreciate Waterpark tickets, whereas a young family would.
Don’t forget your guests when they get home – Contact your guests once they get home, it will make them feel appreciated. Ask for feedback on their stay and ask for a testimonial, or address their concerns. Schedule to contact them again when they are ready to book their next holiday (probably 12 months from when they first contacted you). Think about offering discounts if they stay with you again, or for anyone they refer – it doesn’t have to be a big discount, just something to make them feel appreciated. Just make sure that you don’t spam them or make them feel pressured. The aim is just to show that you care, and to keep you in their minds for when they are booking again.