When we ask our owners the age old question, "How many bookings did you get last year?" it’s always the owners who respond to enquiries telephone, who manage to convert more enquiries into bookings. We think there are several reasons for this. First of all you’re competing with other owners in your area; a traveller may shop around and contact several owners or property managers. Responding to enquiries promptly by phone is a way of jumping in ahead of your competitors. Unlike emails, which can lie unopened, the phone allows you to reach travellers directly. There are also many other advantages to calling your potential guests.
The phone allows you to:
Screen your guest
Chances are your holiday home is a very important financial and emotional investment for you. It’s very important that you know whether or not this person is suitable to stay at your holiday home. We recommend you speak to your potential guests at least once on the phone before you allow them to make a booking. Sometimes your gut feeling can be the all important deciding factor.
Establish a mutual trust
Just as you’re conscientious about whom you have staying in your home, most travellers will want to know they are booking with a genuine and trustworthy homeowner. Some people may have anxieties about booking a property advertised online, or have further questions about your property. Use this conversation to reassure them of your professionalism, and impress them with your knowledge of the local area.
Communicate more effectively
Sometimes only communicating by email means things can become very complicated. If an enquirer wants you to explain something to them, it’s better to speak to them in person, so you can go into a higher level of detail, and further explain anything they don’t understand. It’s far quicker and easier to solve issues in person, than constantly emailing back and forth.
Speed up the process – most of the time!
How many times have we all been there? We send or receive an email, and it turns into a long discussion, that takes days to finish. If you get frustrated by back and forth correspondence, and like to finalise things quickly, we recommend picking up the phone. Unfortunately though there are a small number of travellers who love to chat and share their stories, so be warned, you might not always end up saving time.
DOs & DON'Ts when using the phone
Do respond quickly
Our research shows that over 50% of traveller's book with an owner who responds to their enquiry within 3 hours, whilst only 29% booked with an owner who took up to 24 hours to reply and less than 10% with owners who took up to 3 days. So for the best chance to convert your enquiries into bookings, respond as quickly as possible. Check your email regularly and make sure you have set up Free SMS alerts for your enquiries.
Do sell your property
This is your chance to go into detail about what makes your property great. Don’t talk so much that the traveller can’t get a word in edge ways, but genuine enthusiasm rubs off on others.
Don’t be intrusive
You never know what people are up to when you call them, they might be sitting down to dinner with their families, about to put their children to bed, or be rushing out the door for an appointment. You should always ask if you are calling at a convenient time. If you don’t call them at a good time, it’s unlikely they will give you their full attention, and therefore are less likely to book. It's far better to arrange to speak to them when you can give them the time and attention you need.
Don’t be pushy
As lovely as your property may be, it won’t be right for everyone. Whilst being assertive and proactive is a good thing, if the traveller really isn’t interested, pushiness just seems a bit desperate.
Copyright HomeAway.co.uk, August 2010