Hello again - another month, another Lay My Hat!
In this issue of Lay My Hat we're going to look at the next, vital step in the booking process-responding to an enquiry: when you know someone's interested, you have to convert them before someone else does. I'm telling you everything I know about this. I'd like to hear from you on what I've missed out.
I've had a lot of enthusiastic reactions to the idea of a discussion forum. This would allow us all to talk to each other, ask questions and share advice in 'real time'. UPDATE! The forum has arrived - see it here.
Some of you have gone beyond ideas and told me you have rental-related services you'd like to offer your fellow owners-see the piece about it in this newsletter.
Also in this issue, the question many of you are asking-which are the best sites to advertise on? I can tell you a simple way to find out for yourself. I can also tell you which are NOT good sites to advertise on: the ones that email you offers out of the blue. I just delete these emails because any company worth its salt knows it's illegal to send them.
Well done to John and Liz for guessing where I was in the last Lay My Hat-see their 'Where am I?' at the bottom. I had no idea where this was-do you?
Since I wrote this newsletter, the Lay My Hat forum has been launched. It's where rental owners talk about anything to do with the business of rentals, and plenty else besides! See the forum by clicking here.
10 tips for responding to an enquiry
When someone emails you about your property, that is only half the dance - how you respond is crucial, because this first point of contact is your opportunity to serenade someone into feeling good about you and your home. Here's what I know on the subject:
Find this useful? Disagree? Tell me what you think, and send in your best tips for responding to an enquiry - email me at
Owners share their trade secrets - if you find them useful, why not join in? Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Owner's secret #1
Here's a tip which costs almost nothing and generates fantastic goodwill with guests. If there's a fridge, boiler, or whatever in the kitchen with an exposed white face, buy a box of magnetic letters from a toyshop. Spell out on the fridge "Welcome to the Anderson family" or "Welcome back, Jane and Jack", or whatever. A small personal touch which almost every guest remarks on.
And, incidentally, about 50% of guests will leave you a nice message in return when they go!
Thanks to Geraldine for this tip. You can see her rental properties here: http://www.crosswoodhill.co.uk/
Owner's secret #2
We all get enquiries for weeks that are booked, or for something we can't provide-one more bedroom, a pool, a rural setting. It's frustrating to have to say no to these.
But we probably know someone who isn't booked that week, or who has that extra requirement. So a good way of 're-investing' that enquiry is to have an informal agreement with rental owners nearby to pass on enquiries you can't satisfy. You should get roughly the same amount of referrals to your property as you give out, so no enquiry is wasted.
Do you have any good owner's tips? Let's share what we know about holiday rentals - email your tips and suggestions to email@example.com and we'll discuss them in future newsletters.
Where am I?
In the last issue I asked you to guess where I was standing in the pic on the left - the answer was Mullion Cove in Cornwall, UK, one of my favourite places in the world. Well done to John and Liz from Surrey, England - pictured on the right - for guessing correctly.
But where in the world are they? First correct answer wins a sensational prize - you get to set the next 'Where am I?' photo quiz. Email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no advertising in Lay My Hat but some of you do offer relevant services that fellow owners may find genuinely useful. I am planning to include a page listing these owner-to-owner services in the next newsletter.
UPDATE! You can now post your owner-to-owner service at the Lay My Hat forum. Click here to go there.
Now we have (hopefully) converted an enquiry into a booking, the next step is how to prepare your home for your guests so that they are impressed enough to return next year. I'll be telling you everything I know about this in the next newsletter.
Also in the next Lay My Hat: more advice on getting your rental property seen on the internet, more reader's tips and owners' secrets.
Tip: If you want to pass this newsletter on to other owners, please do so, just hit your 'Forward' button and put in the address you want to send it to. You can also type a message at the top of the newsletter to explain what you are sending - this newsletter looks like a webpage but it behaves like an email.
Remember, the point of Lay My Hat is that it's an exchange of ideas and opinions for holiday rental owners, so please don't be shy in sharing yours. Here's my address: email@example.com
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