With Valentine’s Day coming up, chances are you’re getting ready to welcome lovebirds to your holiday cottage for a romantic getaway.
You may think the hard work is already done. You’ve marketed your holiday home, you’ve taken payment and you’ve sent the guest all the information they need.
But what about making the experience as special as possible for your guests? Stats show that just 10% of hotel guests return. So it’s important to make a good impression to keep your customers coming back.
It’s 8 times more expensive to acquire a new customer, than encourage an existing one to attend. You may be welcoming guests who are visiting from further afield which means a return is unlikely. But remember – people talk. Your guests have friends and family who may be persuaded to pay a visit. They may leave a review, which will be seen by many future guests whose decision on whether to stay with you rests on the opinions of others. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth, and make sure your guest’s experience is second to none.
Focus on the finer details
Your guests will expect any cottage to be clean and tidy. They will expect basic facilities and working equipment. But what about the little touches? Fresh flowers, a branded box of chocolates or a bottle of Prosecco cooling in the fridge will impress your guests. Even small details such as a bookshelf stacked with a selection of interesting books, or a list of recommended activities in the local area can seriously improve your guest’s experience. You could even work with local restaurants, shops and theatres to see if you’re able to offer your guests an exclusive discount.
If you know your guests are travelling with children, why not have a selection of toys and colouring books available? Similarly, if you are welcoming a couple on a romantic getaway the last thing they may want to see is an abundance of kid’s toys. Maybe boardgames in this instance would be more suitable. Get to know your guests before they’ve even arrived by sussing out who’s booked, and what their expectation might be. If you are able to, why not ask “how can we make your stay extra special?” on the booking form, and do your best to fulfil that promise.
It might not be the most romantic thing in the world, but make sure you’ve covered the basics. Your guests shouldn’t have to ration their kitchen roll or handwash. Having to worry about basic amenities such as dishwasher tablets or shampoo takes away the joy of escapism. In one fell swoop you’ll bring your guests back to reality arguing over who used the last piece of toilet roll. Make sure your holiday cottage is well stocked to avoid this.
Invest in luxury
You don’t need to buy a brand new hot tub or install a top-of-the-range entertainment system to give your guests the best. Little extras such as a quality mattress and mattress protector, pure cotton linen and plenty of blankets will help to make your guest’s stay extra comfy. You should also consider blackout curtains in the bedroom and good storage space (with plenty of hangers). Replace and refurbish any décor, furnishings or property within your holiday cottage asap to avoid your cottage looking tired or tatty.
Stay in touch
Your guests may not be from the local area, and thus unlikely to naturally return. However, take your guest’s details and sending them regular (but not too regular) updates via e-newletter or social media. Tell them about events happening in the local area or special offers to entice visitors to return.
We’ll even offer you an extra piece of advice… give your guests flexibility. Sometimes the unexpected happens and your guests won’t be able to visit you. Not only is this a huge disappointment for visitors, who were no doubt looking forward to a trip away, but they may be left out of pocket too. Impress your guests from the get-go by offering refund protection. This means that, if your guests must unavoidably cancel, they can claim a refund. This doesn’t cost the holiday cottage owners anything but makes a huge difference to guests. Peace of mind is priceless, and allows your guests to look forward to their holiday.
Here at Booking Protect we work with our partners to provide refund protection, offering reassurance to customers across the world. If you’d like to work with us, get in touch with our team.