Kigo Blog

5 Types of VR Guests Every Property Manager Knows

Whilst you can never fit all of your guests into categories, as a property manager there will be certain types of guest that you will see over and over again. Once you’ve been in the business for long enough, you will able to spot them from their telltale signs before they even arrive.

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We’ve compiled a short guide to knowing the type of guest that is going to be staying in your property, and how best to deal with them. This won’t cover every single guest that you will experience as a property manager, but we bet that you can recognise many of your guests from this list!

 The Party Animal
This is the guest that many property managers dread before getting started in the business. The sort of guest with no regard for your property or the peace and quiet of your neighbours. TVs out of the windows and a Rolls Royce driven into the swimming pool. Thankfully, these cases are rare and most people just want to enjoy their time on holiday. Clinking bags of duty-free and a piqued interest in the local nightlife are generally a good way to spot these guests.

 How to Manage them:

A signed rental agreement with clear and easy rules is all you really need here. You want your guests to have the best time possible so being clear and upfront is the best way to avoid damage and disgruntled neighbours. Just let them know any restrictions you have on noise or security and you’ll likely see the wild image of the party animal guest that you have was exaggerated.

 The Complainer
Whilst testing at times, the sort of guest that can be demanding is a good way to improve your business. They will be sure to let you know any areas that could use even modest improvements and will expect you to rectify anything they notice. These guests are usually foreshadowed by a lengthy email exchange with various questions and requests. Certainly hard work, a guest that has lots of suggestions and needs should be treated as a chance to demonstrate your service, attention detail and an opportunity to convert an exacting guest into a repeat customer.

  How to Manage them:

 Be available for their requests and tell them if there are times that you will be unavailable. If the problem is truly serious you will need to attend to it as soon as possible. Often, the response to the complaint is more important than the initial problem. These guests want to see that you are available and on hand to deal with any issue and that their questions are being listened to. These guests will often be the ones that are concerned about using vacation rental services as opposed to other forms of accommodation. One good experience can be enough to convert them.

 The Business Traveller
Generally equipped with briefcase, laptop and suit, business travellers will mostly want a trip that is as simple and stress-free as possible. They will be under pressure and have limited time to get around so will need everything to be as easy and accurate as possible.The first thing to ensure will be a powerful WIFI connection, and an alternative in case of a connection emergency.

How to Manage them:

Be accurate with your times and descriptions. Business travellers are often only staying for short periods of time and have one specific meeting, conference or event to attend. If they are late, or delayed by inaccurate timing from you then it is a good way to ensure that you will not receive another booking from them. Keep a list of important information such as local taxi numbers, airport transfers and local services to hand. Business travellers have less time and luxury of choice when it comes to these things so well run local contacts will be invaluable.

  The Reviewer This can often be the most dangerous guest of them all. Instead of coming to you with any problems as and when they arise, they will save them up and post them in a scathing review. They can be spotted as the guests that are frequently checking their phone and having reviewed plenty of other properties in a less than favourable light. They mention things you never even knew about, let alone had chance to amend.

 How to Manage them:

Treat fair requests as you would any other and do what you can to accommodate their needs. Proactively ask them if there is anything you can do to help or improve their stay. A lot of people feel uncomfortable mentioning problems face to face so if you can find out any issues for yourself, you can fix them before being criticised in a review.

 But finally, don’t be held hostage by the review – manage your property as you see fit and if there are any complaints in the review you can respond to them in a professional and measured way.

 The Unicorn
The Rarest Guest of them all. This is the guest that loves your property, asks nothing of you and posts a very positive review. You only see them at the handover and they leave the apartment in perfect condition. The only downside is that it can breed complacency as you assume your business model has become perfect.

 How to Manage them:

Never assume just because there were no complaints or requests that things could not have been even better. A quick call or email mid way through the stay will show you are available and attentive without disrupting their privacy.

Let us know your experiences with any of these types of guests and if there are any others that you often see.

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How Discounts Can Convert ‘Maybe’ Customers

In the development of our new revenue management tool, we have been talking a lot about the differences between yield management and discounting your properties. Which is more effective, and when is the best times to try something out of the ordinary? We came to the conclusion that adapting your prices for different periods of demand is very different to offering special discounts and that both can be used to get guests booking with your business. They compliment each other and should be used together.

  Revenue management is a way to get the maximum price when demand changes. In periods of high demand, your property is worth more. We see revenue management as the science of offering the right price when the value of your property changes, not a discounted price. A Saturday night in mid-summer, three months in advance is a more valuable commodity than a lone Tuesday night next week. Your guests know this and they will already expect that this price is lower because the property is worth less to them at this time. It almost doesn’t seem like a discount in the traditional sense of the word for your guests.

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You can see how Kigo revenue management sets the optimum prices for your properties based on demand here. We understand property managers adapt their price to changing demand, but how can you use special discounts to convert even more guests and also to increase loyalty? Today we’re going to talk about how you can use more personal and limited discounts to convert customers that are in two minds about booking and reward repeat bookers.

 A discount should be an incentive to convert a booking. What successful discount campaigns do is offer something out of the ordinary, something special that is different to your regular pricing structure. Effective discounting is designed to convert customers that may be wavering in their decision or have not tried your company before.

 Here is a great example of how you can use a discount to convert a customer that may be looking at multiple vacation rental companies:You send them the required booking information and offer a 5% discount if they confirm their booking that day or the following. Using a special coupon code means that you can send individual offers to new guests or have a widespread offer that you can advertise on social media or via an email campaign. Kigo websites come with the option to add these codes to any property and even the ability to offer a free night if a guest books a certain number with you.

This does a number of things

Firstly, it gives them all the information they need as well as an incentive to book. Secondly, it shows that you are serious, professional and can deal with enquiries quickly. When faced with the prospect of having to trawl and contact various other websites and companies, a small discount and efficient service can be enough to sway ‘maybe’ customers into booking right then and there.

It is a small gesture that will not have too much of an impact on your final revenue but will present your business in a positive light before your guests have even arrived. It marks your business out as one that is committed to providing more than the basic standard for their customers.

It is also limited by time, which makes your guests think that this offer is scarce and they should take advantage of it right away. The less time and fewer emails you have to send means that your expenditure per booking will reduce which will help to offset the discount to your initial price. If you were really concerned about your margins you could experiment with a higher initial price as this discount is designed to convert already interested prospects. They would not email you if the initial price wasn’t appealing enough, so taking 5 or even 10 percent off that could be the perfect impetus to book.

Having discounts such as this alongside the regular pricing you make to accommodate the changes in demand can keep your off-season booked and help to convert new customers to your business.

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9 Clichéd Property Descriptions That Need to Be Avoided!

The image of the shameless estate agent using language that is creative at best, and dishonest at worst, is a familiar one for many people. Property descriptions that are filled with these cliches, jargon and doublespeak may make a middling property seem more appealing but, we’ve worked out their code. We can read between the lines and spot the subtext in these property descriptions. Many of the more common phrases now cause the opposite effect of their intention as we know what the words are trying to disguise.

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With pictures and video being standard on every website, guests now expect to know everything about your property before booking, so having a cliched description can put guests off more than attract them. Guests want specific information rather than meaningless buzzwords and phrases.

Today we’re listing some of the most common phrases that your guests will see right through. And, what they really see when they read them. You property may well be everything your description promises, but these phrases have been abused so freely over the years that savvy guests can’t help but read them with a touch of cynicism.

Bijou:  Small. It may sound urban and refined, but a bijou property is just a code word for a limited space. This is the classic example of trying to turn a negative into a positive and has been used so frequently it now sends warning signs to potential guests. Why not try intimate, snug or comfortable instead?

 Cosy: Cosy is now so synonymous with small that the words are pretty much interchangeable in property descriptions. Let your pictures convey this sense.

 Vibrant Area:  Noisy. This could be exactly what you are looking for, but disguising noise as a charming feature of the area is not going to please guests looking to rest.

 Good Transport links: Miles out of the city centre but within reach of a bus stop or train station. Having good transport links generally signifies to guests that a property is a good distance away from anywhere of note. London has a good transport link to Paris but, but they are by no means close. Maps and exact times on foot, by car and on public transport will be of far more use to your guests.

 Rustic: Dilapidated and run down. A rustic property could well suggest an opportunistic property manager  taking advantage of the recent trend in design and furnishing to avoid updating an older property. This is another word best left to your pictures to convey.

 A Stone’s throw from…: This could be a five minute walk or it could be a 20 minute drive. This tells your guest nothing that they can use and makes it seem like you’re keeping the real distance hidden because the property is perhaps not as close to the attractions as you would like to admit. Accurate measurements will always be more appreciated than vague approximations.

 Luxury: The power of this word has been destroyed. Luxury used to mean something truly special, something out of the ordinary and worthy of comment. Indiscriminate use by chocolatiers and shampoo companies means that luxury either really means something closer to ‘fairly nice’ now. Luxury has become something of a warning sign to many guests, just let your services and facilities speak for themselves.

 Hidden Gem: How hidden can your property be if you are advertising it and your guests are looking at the pictures? This phrase does more to suggest that the property will be hard to find from the airport than to add an air of mystery and exclusivity.

 Cutting Edge:  It’s difficult to imagine the latest in technology or design when hearing a phrase that has been so blunted by overuse. ‘Cutting edge’ has the sense of a 80s imagination of what the future would like, with hoverboards and entire meals in just a pill. The phrase has become an oxymoron and should be avoided. The simpler ‘modern’ conveys the same meaning with less.

If you are struggling with using the same words and phrases in your property descriptions, why not try a thesaurus tool. This is a quick way to find ways of describing your property that injects the excitement and originality that a one-off property should inspire. Removing clichés will make the rest of your description seem far more accurate, and will avoid disappointed and misled guests that will leave bad reviews.

 Words come in and out of fashion and we think it’s time these were retired from property descriptions. Phrases and words like these just don’t sound natural anymore. They actually build a barrier between property managers and guests. Let your property speak for itself and create a short, accurate description that is designed to inform rather than sell. Your guests will feel that this is more accurate, more genuine and will be a better reflection of what it is like to stay at your property.

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April 21st – The Google Countdown Starts Now!

What happens on April 21st you ask?

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This is the date when non-optimised sites are no longer going to be shown in Google search results from mobiles. Any site that is not optimised will be effectively blacklisted from Google mobile searches. This will be a quick and severe blow to sites that are not mobile optimized. Google announced this on their blog and many other sites have picked up on just how important this is going to be for not only the travel industry, but the entire process of using search engines. It is one of the most measurable changes to be implemented in years. The effects will be real and they will be quick to affect your site.

With roughly half of all Google searches now coming from mobile initial searches that result in bookings may first be done on mobiles and the actual booking done on a desktop or laptop at a later time. Taking the chance on not appearing in over 50% of all searches is not worth the risk. Even if the majority of your bookings come from desktop computers as opposed to mobiles or tablets, this is still a major cause for concern. With such a high frequency of searches coming from mobile, at least some of your customers will have had initial content with your site from a mobile search. As of April the 21st, these guests will not be able to find your site. They will be seeing sites that are optimized for mobile and, they will not know the difference, they will only notice the sites in their search results.

Property managers need to get their sites ready for this change. Mobile searches will often be used for initial research perhaps more than final bookings. But, these initial searches can be very profitable for vacation rental companies. It is a way for customers to encounter their sites outside of just the major portals, leading to repeat custom from satisfied guests that want to use their business again.

You can test your page here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Did you pass? If not then you have less than a month to make the required changes to your site. And that’s all there is. One date, a deadline to get your site ready or suffer an overnight hit in your site traffic. Making your site mobile responsive can be a time-consuming process so if your site is not passing the test, you will need to get the process started as soon as possible. Kigo websites come optimized for mobile and are responsive on every type of device.

If you have been considering making your site mobile responsive but were not sure, then this is the time to take the plunge. There has never been a more important time to make this change to your business. This is the only takeaway. Property managers need to check their site is mobile responsive and make any changes as soon as possible. Travel searches are becoming increasingly mobile-centric, this is going to have a major effect on how vacation rental websites are found by potential guests.

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5 Things Property Managers Forget Which Cost Them $ Every Year

Operating a successful vacation property management business is never simple but could you be making it even harder for yourself? Have you seen properties booked up one year, that then fade away and become less profitable with no apparent reason why whilst some companies seem to be continually successful? So, what do property managers do to keep this up year on year, and why are your properties not enjoying the same success every year? We’ve listed the five most costly things to forget in vacation property management.

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Not Renewing Your Listings
Update your listings at least once a year. New photos, new descriptions. Keep it fresh and exciting. Make sure every photo is the best possible image of your property, bathed in natural light. Remember to include highlights from the previous year in your descriptions, local events and activities will add life to your descriptions and give potential guests ideas about their trip without even leaving your page. Also remember to check for new portal sites to list on and expand your network.

 Forgoing Repainting and Redecorating
You may not have to do this every year but a quick inspection at the start of each year will help you keep your properties looking modern and spotless. Outdated decoration and appliances or flaking paintwork can be an instant turn off to prospective guests. Making sure you check at least once a year to see if there is anything that could be updated or modernised.

 Not Implementing Revenue Management
Checking listings for local events is a great chance for property managers to maximise their revenue from the popularity of events that drive tourism. Check listings at the start and throughout the year and consider changing your prices to match the pockets of demand that a big event can cause. The earlier in the year you do this, the more time you will have to alter these prices if the popularity is not as high as you first imagined. Managing your price to meet times of high or low demand means you can increase occupancy and generate more revenue from your most popular dates. If you’re unsure of how to get started try a demo of Kigo’s new automated revenue management tool which is the first of its kind, anywhere in the industry.

Ignoring Automation
Booking travel can sometimes feel like a race against the clock. Your guests want to book before the price rises or before the property or flight is fully booked. Once everything is booked you can sit back and start anticipating your holiday. However, you can’t do this if you have to wait 24 hours just to find out if a property is available. Forgetting this gap between guest interest and interaction is costing so many vacation rental managers bookings, and it is so easily avoidable. Making sure that you have automated replies setup for every property with availability and price information will keep your guests interested and convert far more inquiries into bookings.

Failing to Encourage Repeat Guests
This is one of the biggest things property manager forget to do every year and it is a great way to get loyal, reliable and happy guests into your properties. The easiest way to do this is to give them a reason to come back! Having an incentive to book for a second time, as well as keeping your properties updated, will encourage more guests to return to either the same property or choose another property from your business. This incentive could be a discount or an extra night with any trip they book. This will encourage loyalty and the extra cost will be offset by the ease and convenience of loyal guests.

Repeat guests mean that you have a better idea of what your customers are looking for from your business, meaning you can personalise their trips and increase customer satisfaction. It also allows you to aim your marketing and promotions more accurately. Encouraging a repeat customer will always cost less than discovering a new customer. Ignoring your customers from last year will ultimately cost you revenue as you are forced to increase your budget for finding new customers and marketing.

 These are 5 things that property managers can forget to do, things that end up costing them bookings later in the year. Having a complete checklist for every property will help to boost bookings every single year.

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