Top 10 things you must include in your enquiry replies
We’re always told that replying as fast as possible is crucial in converting those enquiries into bookings but what else is important?
Here are 10 things you must include in your reply to a guest enquiry.
1) Make sure you actually reply!
It still staggering how many enquiries go untouched despite owners throwing good money at annual subscriptions on booking portals. (Ensure your SMS and email notifications are turned on). Even if you are fully booked make alternative suggestions. Just last month we had a guest who changed their dates so they could specifically stay at our apartment. We didn’t know they were flexible but by suggesting alternative dates it can occasionally work out.
2) Change the subject field
Don’t just hit the reply button and send a message entitled Re: Enquiry from John Smith – Prop. 12345 “Modern beach front apartment, Nice”.
Instead change the entire field and make your message stand out. For example personalise a quote including the name of your property:
*Quote for Mr John Smith at ’Le Petite Moulin’ Apartment, Nice* 24 July-31July 2014*
Looks better doesn’t it?
3) Your unique selling point(s)
Every holiday home has a unique selling point and it’s not only up to you to identify them by comparing with your local competition but make sure your potential guest knows about them in your reply. They may relate to price, toys for kids, private pool, wifi access, welcome pack upon arrival, a stunning view, the peace and quiet, etc.
You may not even provide extra facilities over your local competition but let them know how you take care of your guests in a way that your neighbours can’t rival.
Remember that you can’t assume that your enquirer has actually read your full listing description. They may well have seen your advert as a result of it being an automated alternative suggestion after they made a previous enquiry. Remind them about how great your property is.
4) Are you informative?
This leads us nicely into the information you are providing. Has your email included everything to help the guest make their decision?
Some of the many details which guests can ask about:
- Check in/check out details
- Proximity to shops, bars, restaurants and your local highlight (beach, ski gondola, etc)
- Local market days
- Distance from airport
- Suggestions for car hire
- Cooking facilities
- Cost for cot and baby chair hire
- BBQ facilities
- More photos
- Security for children
5) The Final Rate
Make your rental rate in your reply as transparent as possible. Nobody wants to have to do arithmetic to work out what they need to pay. If there is a mandatory inclusion like cleaning, do yourself a favour and include it in your rate. Of course you may have optional extras like welcome packs, internet access or airport transfers (e.g. Event Movements for large groups) but if possible make sure all essentials are included.
Everyone loves a freebie. What can you offer to influence that prospective guest? Think creatively as it may even be something that you have already paid for and have incorporated into your rates. You could for example include ‘free’ wifi if the reservation is confirmed in the next 48 hours? Or you could offer a ‘free welcome pack’ or ‘free local mobile sim card’. As a great example, one of our clients in Ireland pays for a motorway toll in Dublin for every one of their confirmed guests.
7) Use their first name
Addressing someone by their first name instantly makes your message much more friendly and personable. ‘Hi Joan’ sounds much friendlier than ‘Dear Ms Smith’. It begins your reply with an affable tone and makes it sounds less formulaic. We would even encourage you to throw another in later in your reply.
8) Include your website (*subject to booking portal restrictions)
Assuming you have received an email that allows you to reply directly to a guest (becoming more difficult with major booking portals) you should definitely include your full website url so guests can find out everything they need to know about the property. This gives you further credibility as many guests will now expect you to have a seperate website to your listings.
9) Add your contact details (*subject to booking portal restrictions)
Some people do still want to talk. In this electronic age a telephone number at the bottom of your email can still result in a guest not only having a further point of contact but makes you less anonymous.
10) The follow up
Without annoying anyone there is no problem with sending a follow-up email to simply make sure the guest received your quote and offer to answer any further questions. If you have access to the guest’s phone number, a call can also goes a long way to securing a booking.
We all know that most enquirers don’t respond to your reply unless they are going to book or have any further questions. So minimise the need for you to answer any questions and make it easier for them to book!