When your guests become your greatest fans!
Social sharing is the norm and your goal is to get your guests to share their experiences with their friends from the moment they book to long after their vacation is over. Your job is to wow them with the best customer service at every step along the way so your guests become your ambassadors; promoting and marketing the property on every social platform.
Every time you exceed their expectations there are moments to be shared, so here’s a few ways you can create your posse of raving fans.
Make the booking process easy
Nobody wants to spend precious time on filling in lengthy forms, faxing documents, writing cheques, and waiting for responses. They want the booking process to take minimal time and to be able to use a credit card, and to say at the end, “That was easy!”
Remind them their vacation is coming up
Contact your guests a month before their stay then a week before, and send them additional information to help them plan. Create a packing list of things they may need to bring; send a link to your Pinterest board that has a collection of easy to create vacation meals, and include a list of events in the area during their stay.
Make them feel special when they arrive
Buy a chalk-board and hang it in a prominent place so they see it as they walk in the door. Provide your changeover person with the names of the family so he/she can write a welcome message on it. Children love to see their names on a board like this.
Contact them on the day of their arrival
Connect with your guests on the day they arrive. You could send a simple welcoming text message, or call them personally if there is a land-line. Ask them if everything is as they were expecting, and if they have any questions. Always include another piece of information, such as what’s best at the local bakery, or what’s on at the drive-in.
Leave a guest gift that is share-worthy
The goal is to get your guests sharing on Instagram from the moment they set foot in the property, so make sure your guest gift is worthy of the photo. A home- made cake or plateful of yummy squares is going to get more attention than a bottle of store-bought wine. Edibles always make good images!
Create great rainy-day moments
There are likely to be days when you guests just want to stay indoors if the weather doesn’t play nice. So, if your place attracts family groups, provide a dressing up box, so kids can have fun dressing up on rainy days. Put in a couple of pairs of shoes, scarves, tutus (find them in a charity store), purses, and a box of bead jewelry. On the same rainy day theme, provide ingredients and materials for baking cookies or cupcakes.
Plant a ‘pick your own’ patch
Plant a herb bed or create a big pot of assorted herbs for guests to pick. Basil, rosemary, mint and chives are most popular. If you can add a couple of pots of tomatoes – even better. Guest will love harvesting their own salad vegetables. This works best if you can install a drip-feed watering system as it’s unlikely guests will remember to water the plants. This is worth it, because they will share the photos of the kids picking the veggies.
Love their pets
Your pet-owning guests probably post more photos of their dogs than they do their kids, and love to take videos of them having fun. So, create a pet corner with a basket of dog toys – a ball or Frisbee; a few old towels; a dog blanket or bed and a temporary dog tag, they are likely to share that online.
Go gourmet in your kitchen….
….With upgraded small appliances. A Keurig or Nespresso machine is a nice touch, as is an ice cream maker or bread making machine. Make sure you include a good recipe book and any key ingredients such as packets of yeast. Pictures of food and baking are popular online so it’s likely your guests will post images of their creations.
Keep in mind that the sharing culture can backfire. If you don’t pay attention to detail, meet and exceed your guests’ expectations, and create a great experience for them, your guests will also post their negative images, and this can be potentially damaging for you. This is the downside of what can be a great opportunity for collaborative promotion but if you provide a wonderful place to stay, and show your hospitality, it’s unlikely to happen.