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VRM 101: Best Practices for Getting Started in Vacation Rental Management

We've written this article especially for vacation rental management professionals who are new to the industry. But there's great stuff here for seasoned veterans, too: up-front intel you need to take your business exactly where you want in 2018. Call it VR savoir-faire, it's fundamental info everyone should know to drive direct business, get reviews and upsell.

We're all into numbers at Kigo, so let us lay out our tips for you in numerical order. There are ten in all, each truly essential to your success.

1. Make repeat bookings easy

You want repeat business. Especially direct business that adds to your revenue without your paying any of the channels you use. A great place to start is with your business cards. First, make sure they include your company´s direct website address. Then leave them in the apartment or house so guests can take them and book directly next time. You'll look super professional, which means you're more likely to attract corporate stays-and repeat them.

2. Embrace and understand the guest experience

It’s key to understand your guests’ emotional journey during their stay, and use those insights to create the best experience possible.

Start with vacation rental reviews. You can’t underestimate the power of a great review to grow your new enterprise. Next to recommendations from their friends, people trust other guests’ comments about their experiences more than anything else. So, you’ll want to get reviews on every booking. How? Use your Kigo Mobile Guest App. Send your guests an automated message offering them a discount on their next stay if they give a good review. Message them on their last night, and be sure to thank them for their stay. It’s a proven business builder!

3. Secure guest feedback

You should aim to get your guests' feedback on their stay, good or bad. Give them the opportunity to tell you about their experience by placing a feedback form and suggestion box in the apartment or house. This is an excellent way to improve your service and ensure you get even better reviews in the future.

4. Make every guest your own, not the channel’s

Add a tick box on the feedback form that lets your guest opt into receiving emails with news and special offers on future stays. You'll get more repeat direct business, and therefore more revenue. Just one thing to note: some guests might be iffy about ticking the box because they don't want to be inundated with emails. Solution? Make your request personal. Leave a message through your Guest App and ask your guests if they would like to opt in for emails by ticking the box. They'll appreciate your politeness and be more likely to say yes.

5. Incentivize repeat bookings

Direct booking is what you want-both for increasing revenue and for securing repeat business. Make it rewarding for your guests. Offer a discount, coupon code or complimentary service for every direct booking they make on your Kigo website. You can take your promotional efforts a step further by offering your guests a discount, coupon code or complimentary service for recommending a friend, too.

6. Highlight your best features

Your vacation rental website is really your shopfront. What are you offering your “shoppers” when they visit? This is the perfect place to upsell your unique services. You’ll get more bookings, increase revenue and likely generate better guest reviews.

7. Maintain an outstanding social media presence

You know social media is a powerful way to spread the news about your business. Make it easy for guests to find your social media channels. With Kigo, you can link your website to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and any other company social media channels. Then you can get creative. Generate interest from potential guests by making your social media posts special. Beautiful photos of your properties and their locations are a great start. Follow up with incentives like discounts, offers and gifts that send them back to your website. That's the road to direct bookings.

8. Get to know your guests

The more you know about your guests-that is, the more direct information you have-the more you can give them a great, personalized experience. Your Guest App is your most versatile tool here. Let's say you request a guest's date of birth in the rental agreement. Now you can offer them special deals, like "Book your birthday here and get a complimentary bottle of champagne, or get 10% off." If you know it´s your guest's birthday during their stay, you can send an in-stay birthday message using your Guest App. Let them know there's a special gift waiting for them at the property. You'll be upping your chances of obtaining good reviews, repeat business and referrals.

9. Take advantage of local events

What makes your local area unique? Events and festivals, for one! You can advertise them through your Guest App. Bonus tip: Events are often scheduled during high occupancy seasons. Be sure you have Kigo Revenue Management set up to maximize revenue at these peak times.

10. Master vacation rental maintenance

Guests look at your vacation rental property as their home-away-from-home. That means they expect the same excellent condition and cleanliness they’re used to. Make sure your cleaning/maintenance team are well trained and know how to use the Kigo Operations Management tool properly. You’ll ensure that your properties are in the best condition possible, and that your guests aren’t affected by any operational processes. It’s a smart way to avoid bad customer experiences and bad reviews. Good housekeeping is good business!

That's it for today's VR Best Practices session. Now try them out! They're all time-tested, surefire techniques for making your business blossom now and in the future. And be on the lookout for our next article, which will be all about getting the guests you want and giving them exactly what they want. In the meantime, we wish you good luck and-even more importantly-good skill in your business adventure!

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