Building your successful villa rental or holiday home enterprise begins with your organization, professionalism, and of course, a gorgeous vacation rental. If you are the owner of a luxury vacation home, read our tips for ensuring that guests are happy and return again and again…and recommend your prestige property to all their friends.
Vacation Rental Advertising and Booking
– Be Clear. Offer detailed, honest descriptions and then over-deliver on the client’s expectations of service, amenities, and the quality of the property, the staff, and their stay.
– Be Communicative. Return potential guest inquiries immediately. Don’t leave your potential client with a chance to change their mind or find another property because you didn’t get back to them in a timely manner. Use the latest technology to never miss or delay a return to a phone call, voice message, or email.
– Be Detailed. Provide all important information and transactional documents in writing. Don’t make verbal agreements or assumptions. Both renters and hosts should communicate their needs clearly, and sign off on additions or deletions to details in contracts and policies.
– Be Organized. Keep careful records of financial transactions with clients, and keep copies of receipts/contracts, etc. if they may need them later on.
Be the Perfect Holiday Home Owner and Host
– Check in. Speak personally with guests on the afternoon or evening of their arrival to make sure they are well pleased with the home or there is anything you can do to make it better.
– Be Impeccable. Take great care to maintain the home after each arrival and departure. Each guest should feel that the home is uniquely their own for their stay, without reminders of previous guest’s escapades. In general, be proactive about maintaining the home’s exterior grounds and interior amenities to the standard to which it has previously been advertised. Tip: This may involve keeping a checklist that your manager or staff checks off before guest’s arrive, to make sure everything is functioning, in place, clean, and ready for their use.
– Go the Extra Mile to Maintain the Home’s Cleanliness. Make sure that even the most fastidious guests will find the home meets with their approval. It not only keeps guests happy but frequent maintenance will help reserve the value of your second home investment and decor.
This may include doing the following “extras” after each guest’s departure:
– Change the filters in the air conditioning system.
– Apart from usual laundering of household items, thoroughly air out, shake out or pat clean pillows, linens and throw rugs.
– In the case of self catering properties, make sure your home’s cleaning service inspects and washes kitchen equipment, plates, pots, pans, utensils and so on.
– Consider investing in and running a heavy-duty portable ozone air purifier in the pied a terre, yacht charter, or villa let after each guest’s departure, particularly if smokers were allowed in the home or even if not allowed (in case someone broke your rule).
– Villa Book. Write a thoroughly detailed Villa Book or Self-Catering Instruction Book that guests can use as a reference at any time during their stay. The book details any quirks with the home or its equipment, instructions, how-to’s, directions, details on local attractions, take-out menus, and the like.
– Emergencies. Have a system in place for any eventuality or emergency that may arise (where will you send your clients to stay if the roof starts leaking?) and have the contacts/people in place to service your guests at a moment’s notice.
– Extra Keys. Have multiple copies of extra keys made in case guests lose them, and consider placing a coded lockbox on the premises in the event your assistant can’t make it to the property to let your guests in.
– Security. If the luxury home is not already equipped with a sophisticated security system, consider installing a computerized keypad entry system that enable you, as host, to change the front door or gate code for each different set of guests. Should you ever have the misfortune of inappropriate renters, this will ensure the safety of the following renters and peace of mind that previous guests cannot access the property during their stay. Speak with a master locksmith or security consultant in your area regarding an ideal system.
Provide Smooth Exits
– Day of Departure: Call your clients the day before their departure to make sure their stay went smoothly and if they had any questions, complaints, or comments you should be made aware of. In addition, leave them a pre-addressed stamped envelope with a comment form if they are from your home country (or e-mail it to them and bypass your manager if they are international). They can either leave behind the comment form or put in the mail when they get home. Their answers may help you further refine the quality of the home and services offered.
– Official Check Out: If at all possible, make sure your guests have contact with you, a housekeeper, or your representative upon their departure, to make sure the home is left in a condition to your liking, and your equipment and supplies are all there. Check to make sure no important items are missing (like DVD libraries, tennis racquets, golf clubs, etc.). Have staff thoroughly check for any items left behind by your clients, and have both parties sign off on the condition of the home. Verify the correct address where their damage deposit should be sent in case they’re traveling on to a new destination and want it sent there.
– Return of Deposits. Return damage deposits right away and with a nice note inviting the guests to return. If not done electronically, send the deposit back in a trackable way via return receipt requested, UPS or US Mail with Tracking (if in USA) or other service which offers the ability to follow up on the location of a “lost check.”
Pleasant Memories and Repeat Business
– Feedback. There may be issues that came up which guests were too shy to discuss with you and/or which they don’t want your property manager to see because the problem was related to the manager. Always find a way to give your guests the discreet opportunity to reach you directly, in case your property manager may not be managing well. It’s easy enough for property managers to circumvent your knowledge of reported problems if you are an absentee owner. Before potential damage to your property’s reputation, and particularly before guests begin posting negative reviews of the home on the internet, consider ways of maintaining quality control with a little effort.
– Finding Your Property Again: If there would be no conflict of interest with your property manager/agent, consider leaving a business card or brochure with your contact information for your guests to keep for future stays. You never know when you may decide to discontinue your advertising, but still wish to rent to people you know were good clients. Knowing that your previous clients can still reach you will be a good thing.
– Always Say Thank You. Your guests are your vacation home’s source of livelihood and deserve to be personally thanked for their business. Make time to write handwritten Thank You notes on fine stationery with your property’s business card tucked inside. It may be smart to offer them a discount on another stay or a special bonus for referral of their friends (Use a special code so you know inquirers came from them). It is rare these days to receive personal thank you notes, so this will make your holiday luxury rental really stand out.
If you follow the advice above in the business management of your beautiful Tuscan farmhouse, that charming beach bungalow or perhaps a to-die-for Provencal villa, your home can become much more than just another transient vacation house: the home becomes a very pleasant memory for its many visitors and a successful and profitable renting enterprise for you.
Rating: 3 out of 5