Thursday, March 7, 2013

Be a Local Hero -- Book More Vacation Rental Weeks With Expert Advice

European Jet Ski Championship, Crikvenica, Croatia
European Jet Ski Championship, Crikvenica, Croatia
An example of a definite "must see" for a visitor
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


It's one thing to say you know your region, it's another to effectively communicate your knowledge to your prospects and guests. While you or your staff may have your favorite restaurants, beaches you enjoy, or shops you like to frequent, you'll put yourself ahead of your competition if you have reliable, updated information handy at a moment’s notice when a prospect or guests asks.

Sharing expert information about your area will be one of the first ways you build trust and rapport with vacation rental prospects and guests. You'll start off on the right foot and begin to build a relationship. And we all know how important relationships are in the vacation rental business. You're renting a place that will be home for a week or more. Make people feel at home by giving all the knowledge they need to feel comfortable and explore your region.

Visitor guides on your website are a great way to share your knowledge about your area. But don't stop with web pages. Create PDFs your prospects and guests can download and cheat sheets for you and your staff that you can grab at a moment's notice when you're on the phone.

Cover every sight and activity that's important. Don't just give a list of Jet Ski rentals--let your prospects and guests know about the best places to Jet Ski. Give them directions to secret coves and bays. It might be enough to tell a guest where to find the nearest beaches, but they'll surely appreciate it if you go further and tell them about the uncrowded hideaway only the locals--or even you--know about.

Here are some ideas on how to approach touting your knowledge of local activities:

Don't send your guests to just any beach.
Let them know about the secluded, secret hideaways
only the locals know about.
Must see, must do, must eat, must drink: What are top things every guest must experience? Include restaurants, beaches, activities, museums, attractions. Don't worry if this list repeats itself on other lists.

Best bars/happy hours: People are always looking for a good time and a deal. Is there a bar with a particularly good bartender? Who has the best bar food?

Holes in the wall: Share the best places to eat, drink and shop that don't make it on the tour guides. Maybe it's a restaurant you grew up going to. Perhaps it's a boutique with inexpensive accessories perfect for souvenirs.

Transportation:  What's the most reliable cab company? Is there an easy bus route to the beach or mall that will save guests money? What's the nearest bicycle rental company, and what are bike-friendly routes?

Don't be afraid to be bold in your recommendations. Tell people what your favorites are. Then, broker deals with the establishment owner for special offers for your guests. Once they see how much traffic you'll drive to their store, eatery or bar, chances are they'll be happy to offer special coupons.

While general information is good, specific information is better. This can also help you convert more bookings as well. Be sure to ask what activities a prospect is interested in. Then, either include activity ideas in your emails or send along PDFs or links to the visitor guides on your website.

If you have a staff fielding calls, make regional activities part of your training sessions. Encourage your staff to share their knowledge with the entire team.

Don't be shy about turning yourself into an expert. Even repeat visitors are looking for something new to do when they come back to an area for the 5th or 10th time. 

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