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Keeping in touch with guests when I am not onsite

 
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Rocky



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 59
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:53 pm    Post subject: Keeping in touch with guests when I am not onsite Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,
It's been years since I've posted here - but am back trying to pump up rentals a bit.

I lived on the island of Bonaire, where my places are located for about 9 years and it was quite a bit easier to get bookings being on the island. It was also 99.99% smooth sailing because I personally met every guest, lived onsite so could get over there in a matter of minutes or at most hours to fix any problems. At times I've been off island is the only time I've had complaints. And I am not blaming my management, which is pretty good, but things definitely go awry with more frequency when I'm not there.

So what I've found can keep damage control down is sending an early/middle of the week e-mail asking how things are going and wishing them a fantastic week or to enjoy the rest of their trip and to let me know of any issues or suggestions that come up during their stay.

I don't want to be intrusive or needy but in one instance (the only "bad" review) I've received on vrbo or airbnb (don't remember) was for a guest that I never contacted during their stay. I felt that if I had contacted him - reached out to him to ask how his trip was going and if he had any questions or concerns, I could have avoided that negative review. His complaints were really minor and they were things we could have dealt with had we even known at the time or that he could have complained to me about via e-mail rather than telling the whole world. (a missing slipcover on a dining chair, construction nearby... )

So my question is to you - Do you do this and if so do you have a sample e-mail of what you send.

Below is what I sent to two guests today (It says "food and beer" because the guest mentioned those things in his correspondence with me - looking forward to local food and strong beer) I did not put that in the message to the other guest. I try to mirror their way of corresponding.

Curious as to how others handle this.
thx!

-----
Hi guest
Just wanted to check in with you to see if all was going well and if you're enjoying the apartment, island, food and beer...
If you have suggestions, comments, improvements etc that we could make please let me know either now or any time after your trip as well.
Hope you are having an amazing trip.
Thanks again,
Me
--------
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tavi



Joined: 14 Sep 2011
Posts: 2578
Location: Algarve

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do almost exactly the same thing on around the second day of their stay and I think it's absolutely vital.

Mine is either a text or an email depending on what communications they're using. I think keeping it short and personalising it slightly is perfect. It's not intrusive and the value of it can't be underestimated. You never get a second chance to create a first impression.
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Rocky



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 59
Location: Bonaire

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes - the timing - I guess day two is probably the right time. You are right. It is VITAL. I need to grasp that and make sure I do it every time. So simple but so necessary.
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kyreniagirl



Joined: 05 Jan 2010
Posts: 2320

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually call when they've been in about 24hrs, but we are in the UK which makes it easier.
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Ben McNevis



Joined: 15 May 2006
Posts: 819
Location: Scotland (for) The Brave

PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I sometimes email but try to phone instead. I think it best to phone on the evening of arrival though I usually forget and call some time later.

As well as building up rapport with the guests, it gives them a chance to bring up any questions that they didn't feel were worth bothering us with. From my point of view, it helps to gauge whether they are happy guests or not. If I conclude that they are happy, then I'm more likely to ask them to do a Google or TripAdvisor review after their stay.

We've always been about 500 miles from the rentals and that's certainly second-best to being local. I would much rather do the cleaning and continual maintenance myself but we have pretty good cleaners for both places at the moment so it all runs smoothly. Being offsite, you're really at the mercy of the cleaners.
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arkvilla



Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 271
Location: Highgate Park, Florida (the Villa) we live in Essex, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually try to catch our guests on the phone during the first few days (difficult due to the 5 hour time difference) however I can now catch up with them via FB as they tend to either 'check in/tag our home on Fb or I message them and check things are ok

Sandra
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holidayloverxx



Joined: 07 Feb 2010
Posts: 131
Location: Flachau, Austria

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting, I never contact the guests unless they contact me. If I was the guest I'd find it intrusive
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Hells Bells



Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Posts: 13118
Location: French Alps

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't contact either.
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amandajane



Joined: 14 Jul 2014
Posts: 165
Location: South hams, devon

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I often text on day 2 and just say that I hope they've arrived safely and that they've found everything ok. Usually the response is that the cottage is lovely, then I relax. I don't think a text is too intrusive, and they've already had a text from me with the code for the key safe.
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Joanna



Joined: 23 Aug 2007
Posts: 847
Location: Chester, North West England & Sidmouth, East Devon

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cleaners leave out a welcome card that I've written in advance so the guests have had contact from me when they arrive.

Of course that means I don't hear from them and I'm often tempted to text as well, but I resist because I think it might be over the top from the guest point of view.

As a guest, I like to have some sort of personal welcome - could be a card, text or quick phone call. But I wouldn't be offended if I didn't get anything, which has usually been our experience in the past.
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Joint owner of Baker's Cottage in Chester & Chandler's Cottage in Sidmouth
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Casscat



Joined: 05 Jul 2014
Posts: 2661
Location: Andalucía

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I email to say hi and I hope they've settled in comfortably plus I remind them to contact my property manager with any issues or me if they cannot get hold of him, but in actual fact more often than not guests email me on arrival to say how delighted they are! I usually have quite a good email dialogue with my guests from booking to arrival so we kind of 'know' each other before they get there.
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russellt



Joined: 09 Dec 2014
Posts: 328
Location: Ivybridge, Devon, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

amandajane wrote:
I often text on day 2 and just say that I hope they've arrived safely and that they've found everything ok. Usually the response is that the cottage is lovely, then I relax. I don't think a text is too intrusive


Exactly the same.(must be a South Hams thing Wink ) It's the least intrusive way of showing interest.

I used to think it would invite the raising of problems, but it doesn't. And if a problem does later arise, the communication lines are open & friendly.
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Musetta



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 1892
Location: Campania, Italy/NJ, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've honestly never thought of it. I, myself, would find it a bit much - my place has clear instructions how to reach me or my local housekeeper with any issue. I also have no wifi there so I think it'd be a bit rude to have them paying charges to read my email and/or feel they have to reply. I'm in the U.S. And my place is in Italy. When I had a place in my NJ town, I did not contact them either. The only bad review I had was about nothing at all I could fix...they said one of the stairs was squeaky and it annoyed them the bathroom was out of date.
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