In this episode of How We Grow: The Vacation Rental Show, host Lynell Gordon is joined by Claire Reiswerg, Co-Owner and Broker of Sand ‘N Sea Properties. Join them as they delve into the importance of relationships in this industry. She explains why you should be a part of the VRMA, and reminisce on old co-workers and heroes!
Claire Reiswerg is the Co-Owner and Broker of Sand ‘N Sea Properties, a family-owned vacation rental and real estate company located at Galveston Island. Claire also serves on a variety of community boards and committees which focus on tourism, vacation rentals and real estate. She is the President of the Galveston Rental Managers Association (GARM), and for over a decade has been a member of the Tourism Development Advisory Committee of Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees.
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The Customer Experience is Key
You may think that sustaining relationships with your vacation rental homeowners is the most important thing you can do. As it is important you can not lose sight of your guests. Here’s the thing: if the guests that stop over in those rentals have a negative, or even just average, time, then those relationships will mean absolutely nothing. At the end of the day, your business depends entirely on their experience. You should be doing everything in your power to make sure they have a splendid and unforgettable one.
Let’s imagine a scenario for a second: a guest has rented out one of these homes. They arrive there, super excited to stay round and have a lovely holiday. But when they arrive, they hear nothing from you or the homeowner. There’s no greeting card or message; there’s no gift basket or guide to the location they’re staying in – nothing! “Not to worry,” they probably think to themselves, “we’ve got the whole week to hear from them, they’re probably just busy.”
The entire week goes by, and still they hear nothing from you. They’re left to their own devices, to blindly follow Google maps and figure out where everything is. By the end of their getaway, they leave feeling rather unfulfilled. Sure, these guys aren’t stupid, they’ve managed to find their way around, oriented themselves well within this newly discovered location. But, there is a bitter taste left in their metaphorical mouths.
Where were you? Did you think that because your relationship with your homeowners was so good, you wouldn’t have to put in any effort with the guests? Well, don’t you feel silly? Because you’ve now lost yourself a customer, and they might just go and tell others to never book with you due to your lack of communication!
Obviously this is a very extreme example. You likely would never ignore your guests. But if you don’t establish some sort of relationship with them and choose to focus only on your vacation rental homeowners, then you’re making a grave mistake.
Nurture Your Customer Relationships
“We stay in touch with our guests,” explains Claire further. “We make sure we have very targeted marketing. Our guest list is gold to us; it was gold through the pandemic because we could reach our guests directly and talk about what we were doing. There was already trust.”
The key takeaway from what she said there was “trust”. Your guests need to trust you. The only way you can do that is through forming relationships, getting involved with them and, well, giving them reasons to trust you! In today’s day and age, people don’t tend to trust businesses as much as they used to, especially since the pandemic, so it’s up to us vacation rental businesses to go against the grain and do what we can to regain that trust!
So, what are you doing about your customer and homeowner relationships? Are you doing your utmost to make them happy and proving to them that you care? One unhappy customer could potentially end your vacation rental business – you just don’t know!
(Okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but still, gotta keep on your toes!)
To listen to the full conversation between Lynell and Claire on How We Grow: The Vacation Rental Show, follow the links here: