Creating an extra level of VIP service for the very top 1% Build a new aspect to your business by offering a new standard of service that goes above and beyond what people expect from vacation rentals. Creating a new level of enjoyment for your guests, and a new income stream. Today we’re talking about offering a luxury service that can be added to a booking and the best way to advertise it to your guests. This would be a VIP package, designed to excel anything that vacation rental guests have come to expect. It’s often said that you should aim to provide the best service to every guest and that the customer is always right. This advice is still totally relevant. Offering VIP service is not about how you treat your guests, rather the services you offer. A VIP package should aim to just add special touches on top, in addition to, your usual level of service. It should be designed to make sure that your guests have an unforgettable experience. Curating a VIP package that can be added to your accommodation, more akin to a five-star hotel than what people would usually expect from even the most well-managed vacation rentals does not have to be mean having squadrons of uniformed staff on retainer. Your VIP service doesn’t have to be intrusive or the silver service you might expect. It can just be certain extra services or products advertised on your website that your guests can personalise their trips with. So your guests can then choose exactly what they want, allowing them to pick the services they want, creating their own tailor-made VIP package. Here are some of the features you can add as part of your VIP service package. These are some suggestions to turn your property into the most extravagant and unique experience imaginable! Personal Concierge Service This is the ultimate in personal vacation service. An assistant and aid to anything you need. Local insider knowledge, deliveries, reservations and bookings. Having a personal concierge service allows your guests to have all of the services they could require, with the space and privacy of a vacation rental. VIP Access By speaking with local nightspots and clubs, you can organise VIP entrance and service for your nightlife-loving guests. This would be a unique chance to add an unmistakable sense of glamour and excitement to your property. It offers something that no other accommodation can. Breakfast and Champagne Reception This is a touch that gives your guests’ entrance a feeling of grandeur and celebration that can match a breath-taking property. Private ChefHaving a kitchen is often a big attraction for guests choosing vacation rentals over hotels. So, what could be better than a skilled professional on hand to produce delicacies in your home? This could be added for an evening or for the entire stay. Chauffeur A personal driver to navigate the city is straying towards the territory of royalty rather than just your average VIP. Speak to a local company to negotiate favourable rates in exchange for promotion to your all guests. Laundry and Dry CleaningGuests don’t want to spend their holiday pressing, folding and ironing. The option for pickup and drop off of dry cleaning is a simple touch that adds 5-star luxury to your property. Airport Pick-Up Arriving from a flight, tired haven’t we all dreamt that one of the be-suited chauffeurs was holding a sign with our name on, ready to whisk us into the city, or to the property in minutes. No cramped and hot airport train, and you go from door to door. Late Check OutNothing spoils a VIP atmosphere like having to scramble, pack and leave a property early, with luggage in tow. VIP service is about giving your guests the choices and freedom to do things on their own terms and at a leisurely pace. With Kigo’s websites, you can build these offers into your dynamic pricing or add content to advertise and promote them to your guests. This level of service is perfectly suited for special occasions and can be recommended to your guests celebrating an occasion such as a wedding or an anniversary, or people surprising loved ones on a trip. By offering services, you are opening up potential new revenue streams without the potential to lose money on unsold items. If your guests opt in then you can include these items or services, if not then you lose nothing. If you need time to prepare these touches or order certain products then make them only available in advance. Optional extras such as these have been built into the business models of airlines and hotels for years and are often more lucrative than the initial booking or purchase. These are just some of the ways you can curate an extra-special VIP package that guests can add to their trip to make it truly out of the ordinary. They will build value into your business model, increase your revenue, allow you guests to personalise their trip and create their perfect trip. Photo Credit
Extraordinary Properties Require Special Attention Vacation rental properties have always managed to offer unique and special holiday accommodation. They are generally spacious, offer outdoor space and can house many people. They have always represented great value for guests. But what about the people looking for something more luxurious? How do you let your guests know that you have certain properties which are even more remarkable than usual? Truly one-off properties that will leave your guests in awe. Today, we’re discussing the best ways to market the properties at the very highest end of the property scale. How you can set your luxury properties apart from the crowd and use them to entice guests to your website.Firstly, it is important to separate your luxury properties without making the rest of your properties seem ‘budget’ or somehow inferior. The goal is to have two separate, but still linked areas of your site that compliment each other whilst offering different products and services. So, what makes a luxury vacation rental that is going to stand out from the crowd? To have the desired impact, you will have to reserve this status for the very best of the best. The properties that truly make your guests do a double take. Infinity pools. Panoramic vistas. Home cinemas. This is what we’re talking about. In order to be truly effective, it’s better to differentiate it from your regular properties with a separate website or page. With Kigo, you can create a separate website to market these properties for no extra charge and operate them from the same account. Your branding should fit in with the main website whilst demonstrating the extra special nature of these properties. Deep blacks and purples connote luxury. A modified brand name will help separate these two parts of your business and let your guests know to expect properties that offer something a little bit extra. Your luxury properties should form a wing of your major business, demonstrating that you have properties suited for various tastes and budgets. This also means that you can create a luxury arm of your business with minor cost or effort and not harm the overall impression you are trying to create. Next, in order to convert this interest into actual bookings of your luxury properties, you will need to have a reservation and payment system that inspires trust and booking confidence from your guests. Secure and trusted payment gateways that your guests can pay with using credit cards will be key. Quick and accurate availability information will both prove to your guests that you are a legitimate business before they outlay a large amount of money booking a luxury vacation rental. As the price of properties increases, the risk for your guests increases. Working with trusted, third-party companies such as credit card companies offers a guarantee that your business is to be trusted. As well as having the means to book your properties, having a separate page for luxury properties will draw people into your network of sites for the rest of your properties. Who could resist checking out the very best you have to offer? These posts will also be effective for gathering followers and interested customers.Images of just a few of your luxury properties, distributed across social media will draw people to your website. Swaying palms, turquoise pools and glinting cityscapes are always eye-catching. No one can resist having a glimpse of how the other half live, even if they are not intending to book. It may be that these guests are then tempted to click your regular page, bringing you exposure and bookings to all of your properties. Offering something that manages to rival the luxury and decadence of boutique hotels is something that public perception would say vacation rentals cannot do. But, having extraordinary properties, coupled with high-quality service will open up a new market for property owners.Luxury vacation rentals can offer privacy as well as extravagance, often at a far more competitive price than high-end hotels or holiday resorts. But as ever, with luxury comes a weight of expectation from the service. Nobody expects a Michelin-starred restaurant to be ‘self-service’. To help you offer a truly luxury level of service to match your properties, our next blog is all about creating VIP service that goes above and beyond anything vacation rentals have offered before. Photo Credit
Saving Money Whilst Saving the Planet As the trend towards becoming sustainable becomes ever more forceful, technology is allowing any homeowner to take steps towards making their home greener and more sustainable. This means you can save money on all of your bills whilst reducing the impact that each one of your properties has on the planet. And, what’s more, you can turn this into a selling point. Climate change and the destruction of the planet is such a global issue that making steps towards sustainability is bound to draw in customers. No guest is ever going to be opposed to staying somewhere sustainable and less wasteful, so long as their trip is not affected, you only going to add to the appeal of your property. Some small additions and suggestions for your guests is all you need to make a start towards becoming more sustainable.And these don’t have to be a list of rules that you rigidly make your guests stick to, but just ways to naturally help your guests make your properties more sustainable. We’ve collected some of the best ways you can make your house more sustainable and cost efficient without disrupting your guests’ idea of a dream holiday.Solar PanelsA big initial investment, solar panels can seem like a major undertaking. However, the price has dropped 60% since 2011 and they will eventually pay for themselves. The average saving on electricity is $84 per month. As well as this, they can also help you reduce the carbon footprint of your house by 35,180 pounds of carbon dioxide, every single year. Many governments even offer subsidies and tax breaks for houses adding solar power. Roof GardensThis suggestion obviously comes with a rather big proviso that you have a roof to create a garden. If not, there are other spaces where you can add greenery. Window sills and balconies are great places to add a small selection of herbs. Filling an open space with plants and flowers offer natural shade, help regenerate the air and will make your property seem so much appealing in your photos. It also goes a long way in making the right impression when your guests enter. IrrigationStoring water and re-routing potential wastewater to plants and gardens will help you and your guests to cut down on waste. A rain storage system is the best way to get started and you can even create a system that collects the water from your roof, giving you plenty to use on your plants and garden. PermaculturePermaculture is a philosophy of working with nature, rather than against it. Caring for the Earth, caring for people and returning the surplus of the things you don’t need. One of the major tenets is that people should aim to catch and store energy. RecyclingSeparate, clearly labeled bins is all you really need here. Recycling is the norm in most places now but if your guests are faced with an unfamiliar city, instructions in a foreign language, it’s not hard to blame people for reverting to throwing things away. A clear guide to where glass and plastics are put will see that as much waste as possible is reused. Composting This is another one for all you gardeners out there. A hearty compost heap will provide nutrients for the rest of your garden whilst helping you get rid of waste from your kitchen. You can read a complete guide to getting your heap started here. These tips will allow you to make your home sustainable and reduce your operating costs in each of your properties. Going green is more than just a current trend, it is going to be a major part of making your business sustainable, too, as more and more consumers choose not to use products or services that have a large impact on the planet. However, beware of appearing to ‘Greenwash’ your property. This is the process of making just superficial concessions to your business in order to show off your green credentials. The changes have to come first, or your customers will notice. Going green is good news for you, your guests and the planet. Now is the perfect time to start. Photo Credit
Making Your Property Appeal to the Largest Generation in the WorldNot just a fad, or a sub-culture; millennials are now the biggest demographic in the world. They have overtaken baby-boomers as the largest section of the population. Defined as those aged roughly between 18 and 34, they have disposable income, time and the freedom to travel, often at a moment’s notice. They are career focused, having children later than their parents and have a desire for new, original experiences and travels. In short, millennials could almost be called the ‘vacation rental generation’. They are digital natives. This is the first generation to grow up in the Internet. Immersed in technology. They are adept and skilled at using technology to research and book holiday accommodation as well being independent bookers. Only 10% of millennials will use a travel agent, the majority researching and booking their own trips, based on media information and anecdotal evidence from friends and family.So, what do they want? What do millennials look for when booking a vacation rental property? Today we’re running through the features that will make your property as appealing as possible for millennial travellers.Mobile Responsive Websites Hyper-connected, millennials may want to book or research from anywhere and at any time. Mobile responsive sites are expected as the norm rather than the exception to the rule. Not having a responsive site is a sure fire way to limit your appeal of your site to millennial guests.Free WIFIFor millennials, having to disconnect is similar to stepping into the wilderness. Not having WIFI is the sort of rustic escape that has to be planned in advance. A willful disconnection as opposed to a major inconvenience. WIFI can be a relatively inexpensive addition to your properties that is a major sticking point for millennial travellers. Even major hotel chains are not yet universally adopting free room WIFI or even expanding out of the lobby-based communal area. Vacation rentals can take this chance to advance and have high-speed WIFI as standard. This is merely the first generation that demand this service, so in many ways it is an investment for the future. Social Media SharingFacebook and Twitter are still two of the biggest networks for millennials. The next generation are bringing with them newer networks like Snapchat and Instagram, but for millennials, Facebook and Twitter still reign supreme. Give your guests impetus to connect with you on these portals. Consider millennial guests as offering a ringing endorsement to their friends and family every time they connect with your business. They want to share their experiences with their family and friends so give your guests the opportunity to share experiences that are unique and captivating. Part of this means you can get some of your work done for you by your guests. Encouraging user generated content means your site and your social media can be filled with rich, captivating content that your millennial guests will love, and share. Photo and caption contests are a great way to start this. Last Minute Bookings and Offers60% of mobile bookings for hotels happened within 24 hours of staying. If you can apply this hotel style speed and convenience to your properties then you can see more bookings coming from millennial travellers, as well as the last minute gaps in your booking calendar being filled up. Having last minute availability is not a disaster. Using a Revenue Management system will allow you set the best prices for your last minute properties, filling these gaps. Research and ReviewsMillennial travellers have the technology and expertise to find out everything they need to know about your properties. Buy the time it comes to booking, they will know everything about your property there is to know. They will have made comparisons, checked prices and amenities and your competition in the local area. SEO optimised content will ensure that your site comes up in their research searches. Have content that answers their search questions and gives valuable information on your local area. Interesting content will also funnel these researchers towards your site and closer to booking. The more your guests can find out about your property and area, the more likely then will be to book.Numerous reviews, on various websites, will also make sure your business is seen and will give credibility to each glowing review. Ask every guest to leave one and promote your best reviews on your website.These are the basics for making sure your site and business is geared towards the largest generation of travellers and a major part of the vacation rental industry.
Making Guest Complaints Work In Your Favour. Having open ports of communication with your customers is great. It allows them to double check small things with you, check out your products and properties as well as learn a little more about your business. Social media helps to reassure your customers about your business and move them a little further along in the buying process. But, what if it goes wrong? What if you misjudge a post? What if you are bombarded by complaints and don’t know how to handle them? One disgruntled guests can create posts that all of your prospective guests will see, undoing all of your work to create your reputation.Today, we’re talking about how to handle a crisis when it when it all goes wrong on social media, and how, as a property manager, you can turn it to your advantage.Read Don’t be too quick to respond. Read each post carefully so you don’t miss the inference. Make sure you know exactly what you’re dealing with and don’t respond emotionally or rashly. Read and read again to ensure that you know the problem inside out and won’t forget to check every single detail. EnquireIs this a customer? A lead? Do they have a history with your company. Social media has a range of tools that you can use such as Twitter’s advanced search option that will let you see who you are dealing with. This can be invaluable customer research and will help you to gauge your responses carefully. ResearchIs their complaint or statement valid? Is your company in the wrong? Check their complaint with your staff and find out what happened and what has lead up to the complaint. Many social media crises get escalated because of misunderstandings and misinformation. Know your customer and know their problem before you reply. Appearing knowledgeable and helpful helps to deflect the negative attention that complaints can gather. Resolve Work with your team to fix the issue. The quicker you can do this from the time the complaint or question was posted, the better it will look. Always remember to inform them that you are aware of the issue and are working on it. Leaving a message unreplied to on social media is like a flashing beacon of poor customer service. If you want to send sensitive details or information privately, let people know this is what you’re doing in your comment or tweet. Follow Up Once the problem has been resolved, don’t just leave it there. Ask your customer if there is anything you can do, or if they have any other questions. You are showing new customers that you are prepared to go above and beyond. This is what puts a positive spin on your crisis. You listened to your customer, wanted to help and did help. And, remember to judge the conversations you enter carefully. As a company, your silence on issues outside of your industry will never be controversial. If you are unsure whether you should tweet or post about an event or topic, err on the side of caution and don’t. There are plenty of cautionary tales about companies that manage to create their own social media crisis with a misjudged or mistimed tweet or post. With the right crisis management you can make sure that even the worst social media problems can be spun into a positive light for your vacation rental business. Having your customer interaction out in the public will let your customers see how you deal with complaints. How you take them seriously and work hard to rectify any mistakes. Your response is always going to be judged alongside the initial complaint, and may even be under more scrutiny. Making sure your response is measured and correct will turn a social media crisis into a chance to shine. Photo Credit