Invariably for all holiday home/ homestay owners getting repeat bookings or returning guests are very important because they are already pre-qualified, you have screened them earlier and based on your past experiences you can decide whether to host them again or not. Moreover, if they had a good time at your property, whenever they speak to their friends and family about their last vacation, they will invariably refer to your holiday home to them. So your past guests can actually help you in marketing your property too. However, guests, once they return home after their vacation get back to their routine lives and may lose your contact information. They may have loved your property, but because they have no option to contact you, they are likely to book their next vacation elsewhere. Neither they can pass on your information to friends and family members who intend to visit the destination where your holiday home/ homestay is located.
So how do you encourage repeat renters and referrals? If you ask me, I would say sending an e-newsletter to them is the best way to not only encourage repeat bookings, but also to keep them informed about the latest changes in your home décor, addition of new items, etc. Why I recommend sending e-newsletter is because is fairly inexpensive and is the most simple way to keep in touch with your past guests. Additionally, your past guests who receive your newsletter have the option to forward it to his friends who are interested in visiting your place. And what’s best about e-newsletters is that even if you are not very web-savvy, you can still create one that can fulfill your goal.
WHAT TO ADD:
That brings us to the question: ‘What do I add in my newsletter?’ Ideally, add photos of your home, write about what you have added to your home recently or what’s new in the area, or even about discounts or special offers you are offering. Because travelers like to visit a destination coinciding with festivals or events taking place in the area, your newsletter can also give these information. If you had complaints about something from past guests, write and give images of how the issue(s) has been taken care of. And don’t forget to add a link to your website or your holiday home listing from where one can book if he wants to.
SENDING THE NEWSLETTER:
I would recommend using an email marketing program called Mailchimp (http://mailchimp.com). Why I recommend Mailchimp is because this is not only the easiest way to send email newsletters to your past guests, but it also enables you to manage your subscriber lists, track campaign performance, and allows you to sync your email marketing with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. And it’s absolutely inexpensive. You can send your newsletter up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. Even the monthly subscription rates are very cheap starting from just $ 10. Moreover, if you have a website you can also add a subscription button on your homepage encouraging visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. Whoever subscribes to your newsletter is added in the list your newsletter goes to without having to add them manually, thus saving a lot of time. Mailchimp’s online e-mail programs makes the process of managing e-mail addresses easier and you can send the newsletter at the interval that you find the most convenient. Also you have the option to choose from the templates they have or if you proficient enough can design your own newsletter template. Now here are the steps you need to follow to send your first e-newsletter using Mailchimp:
(i) Create an account
(ii) Login and design the newsletter and save it
(iii) Create an excel (.CSV) file of the emails of your guests that you have in your email inbox and save it to your desktop. Don’t forget to add their names.
(iv) Upload this file to Mailchimp by clicking on the Create List button on the dashboard
(v) Now, you are ready to create your first email campaign. Follow the easy steps and within minutes you will be sending your first newsletter.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
Make sure that you send your newsletter to only those who have stayed in your vacation rental or to those who have subscribed to it from your website. Also don’t send it every day. Those who receive it daily may soon get irritated and mark your newsletter as spam. Moreover you will not have anything new to share if you are sending it daily. So make it monthly, quarterly or a seasonal affair.