Sales & Communication tips
By Darren Cronian
While these are bigger enterprises, I see some otherwise good sales people make the same mistakes repeatedly. If it makes the offending holiday rental owners feel any better let me tell you that even some sophisticated firms do no better. So - to help owners rent more days I'd like to give you a short list of things you can do to help make your revenue go up.
Include all your contact data on your website or advertisements. Personal name (full name), telephone, fax. This same information should be conspicuously posted on all your sales materials too. What you have to remember is that this person does not know you, you aren't a person they can talk to face to face at a travel agent, if you advertise in newspapers they can't even see the property, one vital word sums this up TRUST.
Create written documents that completely describe your property and your terms and conditions. Include photos, floor plans, list of amenities and so forth. While a professional brochure is great it is not essential. The information can be a simple typed document. But include everything - the good and the bad. If you don't allow pets, smoking or parties say so up front. It avoids problems later AND is a selling point for guests who don't want those things. You can never include too much information. It's impossible.
Answer every single email, answerphone message and letter even if your property is booked - why? Simply because that person will remember you the next time they are looking to rent a holiday rental and potentially they could be a future customer. I know it's time consuming but a simple, sorry but the property is rented for that property, but this is out website, and contact details in case you would like to rent next time.
No matter how the inquiry comes in ALWAYS try to phone the person. If they ask only to be contacted by email you should honour that. But if they email, or fill out an online form and include their phone number it means they are willing to be called. So call them. Make friends. Invite them to be your guests. You don't have to be a "closer" or arm twister. Simply call them back and use the most persuasive words, "May I help you?" You'll be surprised as how easy it is.
The great majority of guests do not rent after a single email or phone call. They have a general interest, they look around over time, they talk with people, they get side tracked considering other locations and then, maybe they decide to go to your area. It might be a day or a week, a month or years. Wise sales people keep a long list of everyone who has ever inquired. These are your leads and they are money in the bank.
One word of advice though that you have to be careful of is the data protection act. So please make sure you contact the guest and say to them is it okay if I keep your details on file, or have a disclaimer in your emails or literature that way the guest knows that you are holding confidential information on them. I don't know how it works in Europe but in the UK the data protection is a legal act - and you can personally be held responsible for missing or leaked data.
About the Author
Darren Cronian is the writer of various articles for holiday home owners and renters. Darren also runs and owns a UK-based holiday company called Worldwide Holiday Homes