I remember when I first started out in hospitality, any booking was a result. I used to jump for joy once I heard the words ‘it looks great, I would like to book it’. Once that payment was confirmed we could move onto the next opportunity ahead.
By the same token, after processing 1000’s of bookings, I soon began to realise that not every booking is a ‘good’ booking. Sometimes, looking back I should have got that ‘RED’ flag out and put a stop to those guests proceeding as they were more trouble than the booking was worth.
So how do you ‘Pre Qualify your Guests’, especially in an age where you cannot be discriminatory?
Well I hope that this guide will help you pre qualify your guests without them even knowing that’s exactly what you’re doing.
Tip no.1 – Your Ideal Guest
Firstly who is it that you should be welcoming to your holiday home? Sounds obvious right, of course its your ‘Ideal Guest Persona’
Yes you should and must have one….
Ask yourself these questions:
Who is my property best suited too?
What challenges do they experience when going on holiday?
How can I make their holiday experience amazing?
What does the property have to have to ensure a happy guest or great review?
How much do they earn each year?
What do they look like? Add a photo to your persona, then when you write content have your persona in mind.
Here is a great article from Vacation Rental Formula on user personas to help increase your bookings.
Neil Patel, has put together a great PDF template, that you can download and tailor to your requirements PDF on your guest persona here
Tip no.2 – Photos and the captions
Ask yourself this question, when was the last time you updated your photos? 1 year ago, 3 years ago or 5 years or more 🤦♂️
So my no.2 tip here is to ensure your photos are within 2 years old and ideally they are updated for each and every season.
Here is a perfect step by step guide for the photography of your properties.
Your photos will be the first thing that inspires your guest, so get these right and provide useful captions that describe and inspire your ‘ideal’ guest.
Tip no.3 – Your content! It sounds stupid right.
However after the photos the next thing that a potential guest will see is how you describe your property.
It’s that description that will entice them to read more, make contact or even go ahead and instant book.
What you write in those first 3 – 5 lines, could be all they need to say yes or no to that property.
So where people go wrong right here, is two fold:
1/ They don’t even understand the importance of that first paragraph
2/ They exaggerate the truth
Both options are detrimental to your business, the first one means you get a lack of enquiries and bookings.
The second one, you get guests who want more for their money and will leave disappointed.
Here’s a great walk through provided by Guest ready on how to write the perfect Airbnb listing
When you are writing your content, remember to answer the questions within tip 1 ‘Ideal Guest Persona’.
Highlight the challenges and pain points that your property solves here are some examples:
- Fast Wifi
- Working space
- Cosy and romantic log fire
- Hot tub on the balcony overlooking the forest / sea views
- Walking distance to fine dining
- An easy laid back walk to the beach within 5 minutes
Make sure you highlight the points you identified for that particular guest, so as they read the description they feel like the property was perfect for them.
Guests who don’t match your ideal persona may still book. But if they don’t, your ‘Pre Qualify Guests’ strategy has worked as they cannot complain that something was wrong or not as expected.
Tip no 4 – Write your content for Google and your ‘Guest Persona’
Write your content for Google and your ‘Guest Persona’, don’t think that by focusing on your ideal guest you have everything covered.
The key once you have your copy written, your photos and your ‘Guest Persona’ is that you bring it all together in a cohesive manner that explains to Google that you wish to attract and rank for keywords that match your criteria.
If you have a villa that you have identified as couples and families with children under the age of 10. Then you would want to rank for keywords such as:
- Romantic villa with pool for couples
- Cosy family villa with pool
- Villa with pool suitable for young children
- Adorable villa ideal for young families
- Charming villa for a romantic getaway for 2
- 2 Bedroom Villa in Destination with pool (bit boring this one but a specific match and easy to rank)
By including the above phrases within your content, you will help to rank for a variety of phrases that your ‘ideal guest persona’ would search for to find your property.
Tip no 5 – Did your guest make the right choice?
Did the guest make the right choice, hands up how many of you qualify your guest after they have booked? Do you ask them
“What made them choose your property above the others?”
In that simple question you will know if the guest has made a good choice or a bad one, you can elaborate on the question by asking:
“What one thing stood out for you?”
Then, to ensure you have their best interests in mind I would ask:
“To ensure everything is right for your stay please let me know what you need from the accommodation?”
Here you ensure that based on their reply your property is suitable and their reasons for bookings are right for you and your property.
If something doesn’t add up for you, then be BRAVE enough to tell the guest and you then decide if the guest is suitable for another property you have or in fact this guest is NOT right for any property you have.
These questions are best with a courtesy call, with answers added to the booking notes so that everyone in the team is up to date.
However if you are completely against the courtesy call, you could drip feed these emails to the guest using automated workflows within your property management system (PMS).
iPro offers complete flexibility on how to automate your messaging to each and every guest.