Do you find yourself spending a ton of time managing inquiries for your vacation rental?
Or even worse, you're spending all of this time and then they're still not translating into bookings. Today, I'll cover my number one trick to spend less time on your vacation rental while converting more inquiries into bookings.
It's all about response templates.
These are also referred to as saved messages or canned messages, and essentially these are the templates that you will pre-load into your platform so that you aren't typing something from scratch every single time. You can also use these to put together some thoughtful responses that really help convert inquiries into bookings.
Let's first review the three awesome benefits to using templates.
Benefit #1: Automation
While it's not 100% automated, it is going to save you a significant amount of time, because instead of typing all of your responses out from scratch, you'll be able to select from those pre-loaded templates, which is going to save you so much time, especially when you're managing from your phone.
Benefit #2: Anticipation
Templates really allow us to demonstrate that we are a great host from step one. By really thinking about what kind of templates you're going to put into place in your communication flow, you can be a great host and anticipate their needs and know when to get them the right information in relation to when they're staying at your home. And we'll talk about that a little bit more in the steps.
Benefit #3: Acquire more bookings
By automating the process a little bit more and by anticipating our guests' needs, this naturally leads to acquiring more bookings. We're also able to respond quicker to those potential guests, which helps from them shooting out more and more messages to other hosts and increases your chances of really landing that booking.
Four steps to implement your new saved messages or response templates.
Step #1: Assess
Take a moment to go back through all of your emails and message that you've had of potential guests that want to stay at your home or ones that did end up staying with your home. Look through those messages and collect themes:
What are the common questions that keep coming up throughout the process?
What kind of questions are you getting all of the time and what stage is that happening?
Is that happening in the pre-book stage or the pre-stay stage or are you getting a lot of questions even during the stay.
The next thing you'll want to do is go into your reviews if you already have some reviews to work form. Again, read those and look for themes. You want to see what people are raving about and what maybe there are complaints about.
You can use things that people say all of the time in some of your initial messages to help continue to sell your property.
But then, if you're also getting consistent complaints, we can also use that to set expectations if this is something that you can't change.
The final part of the assess phase is garnering feedback on why someone didn't book with you. Follow up with a lost booking and ask if there was any particular reason that they chose another home over yours.
Step #2: Decide
Based on your assessment in step one, now you're going to decide which templates your are going to incorporate into your listing platforms. I break this into Must-Have templates and then Additional templates.
Your Must-Have Templates for just about every rental out there you will want an available message, an unavailable message, a booking confirmed message and then the pre-stay message, so the message that you send about three to five days prior to their arrival.
These you will absolutely want pre-loaded and you'll want to think about how you need to craft these messages specific to your rental.
Your Additional Templates that you should strongly consider might be things like a first night template, a post check-out, so maybe a few hours after they leave, you can send them something to encourage a review.
You would also want to include templates for frequently asked questions like wireless information, early check-in request or a location description.
So this is where you're going to really go back and look at that assessment stage, look for those common themes that kept coming up, and then really start applying additional templates based on those common questions and themes that were coming up quite often in your review.
Step #3: Write
This is where you will sit down and write out all of your templates in a consistent voice and one that reflects who you are as a host. And remember that you want to leave areas for personalization.
Just because it is a template doesn't' mean it needs to sound like a template. You want to incorporate areas for their name and then possibly some areas where you could make it specific to them.
If you know that they're coming in for a family reunion, you might plug in your default available template and it's going to pre-load with all the information you already have about what it's a great place, a great choice for their family reunion. You can personalize this message with a sentence or two and say, "I see you're coming in for a family reunion. Our home is great for family reunions because we have x, y, z."
Look for those opportunities, especially in the conversion stage because it will really help you stand out when they're in research mode.
Step 4: Load:
This is where you'll save your new templates in all of the listing platforms that you are on. And all of them have slightly different steps on how you do that, so in the video above I walk you through right now how you load in your new templates on Airbnb and VRBO (at the 08:55 mark).
Creating custom response templates will be an excellent way for your business to the next level by automating, anticipating and acquiring more bookings!
Templates have been a game-changer in how I manage my business. I love when I find something that allows me to be a better vacation rental host while actually spending less time managing inquiries.
For copy and paste template examples, be sure to grab my Vacation Rental Response Template Guide.
Let me know in the comments below, are you using response templates or do you plan to start using templates in your vacation rental business?
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We all struggle with information overload when we are first embarking a new journey which can result in a chaotic marketing plan or worse, one that is nonexistent.
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