The Early Bird Could Catch the Booking

earlybird How quickly do you respond to an inquiry? I was reading a thread on Lay My Hat this morning and was interested in the range of issues this raised.

Some people commented that when they had sent out inquiries to vacation rental owners, in many cases there was a less than 50% response rate. This is disturbing and as one contributor noted, ‘This is giving the private rental business a very poor image’.

Others noted that when they did get a response it was occasionally terse and lacking in detail, giving the impression that the owner was uninterested in the inquiry.

The general consensus was that the quickest response creates confidence and often gets the booking.

We live in a society that demands an immediate response to anything – we just don’t want to wait for an answer so here are 10 tips for getting there before your competitors:

  1. Always respond to inquiries even if you don’t have availability.
  2. Check email several times a day and send a response there and then to any inquiries.
  3. Write some standard responses and store in your signature folder, then personalize them as required.
  4. Provide more detail than is asked for, but don’t be too lengthy
  5. Use the form of greeting that was used to you i.e if the inquiry started with Hello, then use Hello; if it is more formal such as Dear Sir/Madam, then use a more formal Dear Mr/Mrs Name. This creates some rapport.
  6. Be friendly and get the message across that you would like their business.
  7. Read the inquiry thoroughly and respond appropriately. For example, if they say they have young children you may wish to mention what it is about your property that makes it suitable for their family.
  8. Answer all their questions even if the information is shown on your website. Redirecting them back to the web page won’t win any bookings, however tempting that might be.
  9. Quote rates accurately and include all additional costs – don’t surprise your rental clients with hidden costs later.
  10. Capture all the questions you get in an FAQ section on your website.

Let me know if you have any more tips for inquiry response.

Photo by Ehpien on Flickr