Repeat bookings can play a large part in the success of your vacation rental. But the matter of how to get repeat bookings is one that often comes up. While a number of factors will affect how many repeat customers you get, an effective email marketing strategy can help to ensure that you keep your previous guests coming back again and again. If you’ve been struggling to re-engage your previous guests, it’s probably time to take a look at your current email marketing efforts. By adjusting and fine-tuning your email strategy, you’ll have an easier time with securing repeat booking for your vacation home or condo.
What’s the Value of Repeat Bookings?
With vacation properties, as with any business, it costs far less to retain customers than to acquire new ones. In addition, when you’re providing such quality service and accommodations that your guests keep coming back for more, it’s quite likely that they’re telling their friends and family about their experience at your property. The repeat guests that you have do a wonderful job of providing you with revenue that’s been attained through cost-effective methods. You’ve already done the initial work to attract them to your property and those efforts will continue to pay off every time they visit.
How Does Email Marketing Fit in the Process?
When you’ve got a great email marketing strategy in place, it will work to engage and inspire your guests. Email marketing makes it easy to ensure that your past guests are neither forgotten nor overlooked.
Develop Guest Relationships
Sending out a series of emails from the get-go will be the first building block in establishing a good relationship with your future guests. Emails that detail check-in/check-out procedures, area information, and upcoming events will go a long way in letting your guests know that you care about their time in your home or condo. But the end of their reservation shouldn’t mean that that’s the last they hear from you. After they leave, take the time to see how they enjoyed their stay and get any suggestions for improvement. Continued correspondence lets them know that you care and that you’re willing to put in the work to improve the guest experience.
Sending out regular emails to your previous guests keeps them in the loop and ensures that your vacation home or condo stays fresh in their mind. Are there some new developments in your destination or some amazing upcoming events? Maybe you’ve just completed a huge property upgrade or remodel. Either way, giving this information to your guests makes them feel like they’re a part of a group. These emails are not only informative but inclusive, which can make the idea of your vacation property seem that much more special. Invite your former guests to participate on your social media accounts, which will give them even more of an opportunity to build a relationship with your brand.
Elevate the Guest Experience
Your guests’ experiences in your vacation home or condo will be a main factor in whether they return again. This is a pretty obvious statement. Guests who have a great time are more likely to return that those who didn’t (even if their terrible experience had nothing to do with you or your property). So, you’ll want your continuing email marketing efforts to focus on making your rental property something grander than just a vacation spot. That’s not to say that you should start sending out emails that exaggerate your property’s amenities or paint it in an unrealistic light. But what you should do is focus on the bigger vacation picture.
Your email marketing strategy should work to inspire your guests and encourage their continued travel. Especially for those guests who had a wonderful time in your vacation home or condo, emails that highlight exciting activities and events in your destination can be particularly effective. It’s also a great idea to include aesthetically appealing photos of your home or the area. These types of emails do a great job of convincing people to take another trip as they build on the feelings of sentimentality that they developed during their first stay in your vacation home or condo.
Show Your Appreciation & Cultivate Guest Loyalty
All customers want to feel appreciated. If they don’t, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll provide repeat business. With your emails, make sure you take the time to let your previous guests know how much you appreciate them and their business. You’ll have a variety of opportunities for easily showing customer appreciation. You can offer your former guests discounted rates on future stays or even let the know when rates will be increasing so that they can book using the previous rates. Many previous guests are also very tempted when presented with the opportunity to take advantage of last minute deals. If it’s possible, you may even want to consider starting a loyalty or rewards program and letting your guests know about it through your emails.
The steps you take to show that you care about your previous guests will usually be directly proportional to how loyal your guests are. And when you’ve got loyal guests, you’ve also got a sustainable and reliable income source moving forward.
Additional Benefits of Using Email Marketing for Guest Retention
Not only can emails work wonders in establishing great guest relationships, but they’re cost-effective and their impacts are measurable. Depending on how many email contacts you’re working with, there are several email platforms out there that offer free and low-cost options. If your email list is small, you may be able to find a free plan that suits your needs. Otherwise, many monthly plans start at just $10 to $15 a month. Considering this price and the time it will take you to put a great email together, even just one reservation that comes as a result will more than pay for the cost of your email platform.
Just about every email marketing platform out there makes it incredibly easy to see how many clicks your emails get, what links they’re clicking on, and much more. With a few extra steps thrown in, like adding campaign parameters to your URLs, you can use Google Analytics to see how users interact with your site after they get there. These platforms also make it simple to test different variations of message to see which ones perform the best. Testing and retesting emails will help you to create emails and email messages that best resonate with your previous guests.
You can also segment your email lists to target different types of guests so you can tailor your messages to best match their needs and preferences. The more targeted your emails are, the higher your open and click-through-rates (CTR) will be. When you have higher engagement with your emails, this makes it more likely that you’ll see some bookings come from those emails.
Getting it Right
It will take some time to put together an effective email marketing strategy that you can count on for repeat bookings. But the effort you put into it will be well worth it. You’ll be working to create a larger audience of previous guests while also increasing your property’s exposure and maximizing your rental revenue.