Best Practice 1: Respond Immediately
The average guest spends 2-3 minutes scanning a listing to decide whether or not to book a stay. So, responding to their questions within 24 hours isn’t enough — you may miss your opportunity to convert your lead into a booking before they start looking elsewhere. You need to respond instantly.
Use automation software that responds to guest messages to generate human-like responses to inquiries. This can save you dozens of hours each week while also ramping up your booking rates.
Guests that get responses before they’ve moved on to the next listing are more likely to book your rental as you’ve quickly answered their inquiries and started building a rapport with them.
Best Practice 2: Personalize Your Communication
Make your communication more personalized so your prospective guests don’t feel like they’re speaking to a robot. Many software tools allow you to use tags for your guests’ names and other information, giving the impression someone has taken the time to read their message and personally respond to their inquiries.
As you answer their questions, tailor your upsells based on their queries and make sure your tone is polite and welcoming throughout the entire interaction. Guests expect to feel welcome from the start. A cold response to their inquiries may deter them from booking your rental.
Find software that allows you to create responses that match the way you prefer to converse with your guests and your tone. You can apply shortcodes, conditions, and triggers using templates to customize your automated responses for content, tone of voice, and language. Make the inquiry process feel authentic for guests who are none the wiser.
Best Practice 3: Use Canned Responses
Create canned responses for frequently asked questions. This saves you valuable time and brain work while improving your response time within that crucial 2-3 minute window. Use a system that can take response automation a step further by allowing you to embed your property, reservation, and guest details in your responses when you want to, automatically.
This allows you to personalize the interaction with your potential guests even in your sleep! An automation platform can expertly use tags to identify your customer by name and give specific details when responding to them.
Guests will be delighted to receive a warm, personalized response — especially if they’re making queries at unsociable hours.
You can set up your desired response timeframe for each inquiry or let an automation platform hold the responses so you can review them before they’re sent. This allows you to further personalize your responses if needed.
Best Practice 4: Manage Your Reviews
Request reviews after your guest has completed their stay. Your reviews directly impact your booking rates, as 90% of consumers scan them before making a purchasing decision. But it also follows that a bad review can have a lasting negative impact.
We all try to avoid it, but there may be times when you encounter a guest who doesn’t have a good experience. You’ll be able to determine early on if they’re unhappy if you’re communicating with them throughout their stay. Some signs that they aren’t enjoying your property could include them complaining about its conditions, not adhering to the house rules, or flat-out being rude when they communicate with you.
Some providers allow you to automatically delay bad reviews if you want to. Since Airbnb provides guests with a 14-day limit for leaving their reviews, you can save pending reviews for guests you think have had an unsatisfying stay.
This delays the review to the last minute, making it too late for your guest to leave their review.
Best Practice 5: Remarket to Previous Guests
Encourage previous guests to book again by remarketing to them via the OTA and your email funnel. But do not do this immediately after their stay. Instead, target your previous guests closer to the time they’re likely to book a vacation.
Your guests won’t be ready to book another vacation a week after their stay, so sending them marketing emails and messages through your booking platform will more than likely land you in their spam folder.
Instead, send out your marketing messages at least 60 days before the one-year anniversary of the last time they visited your property. This is just around the time guests usually start planning their next vacation.
For example, use an automated messaging platform that can send your previous guest a personalized message highlighting an exclusive offer. This guest will be targeted by your marketing strategy and feel as though their business is valued since you took the time to personally reach out to them with an offer.
Best Practice 6: Fill Gap Days in Your Calendar
When available, offer your guest a discounted rate on gap days in your calendar if they choose to stay an extra night. This allows you to generate income with minimal effort while providing additional value to your guests — a more affordable stay and an extra night.
Some tools offer a calendar management feature that protects you from double bookings across multiple booking sites, but you can also use it to fill those gap days with an automated message to your current guest. The application will check for availability, verify which guest is currently staying at your property, and then generate the discounted offer message and send it to them.
Depending on your guest’s response, the platform will help them schedule the extra night and alert the booking sites of the discounted stay rate.
Automate Your Guest Communication to Save Time
Automated Airbnb messaging removes the labor-intensive process of manually responding to your guests. It also dramatically improves the response time, which directly impacts your booking rates.
To ensure your automated guest communication runs smoothly:
- Respond immediately to consumer inquiries to avoid them bouncing from your listing within minutes
- Personalize your responses with a friendly tone and key information
- Use canned responses to speed up your response time
- Use predetermined strategies to prevent bad reviews
- Strategically remarket to previous guests to promote return bookings
- Fill gap days using a calendar management system
Short-term rental automation platforms like Hospitable run your short-term rental on autopilot while offering all the personalized guest communication best practices mentioned above.