Digital Guestbooks For Vacation Rentals: 6 Ways They Can Help Your Business
Guestbooks are a basic feature of vacation rental homes, like refrigerators and thermostats. But go digital, and guestbooks become a game-changing asset that can help you save time, delight your guests and set your vacation rental business apart from the pack.
Online guestbooks do the same job as standard paper guestbooks, only better. They supply everything guests need for a great stay including:
- crucial property information including, address, door codes, arrival times and WiFi codes
- rules for maintaining the home
- safety information
- suggestions for what to pack
- information about the area’s attractions, restaurants and events
Unlike paper guest guides, digital guestbooks update automatically, never get dog-eared and are always close at hand, feeding guests vital information where they want it: on their phones and computers.
Digital guestbooks accomplish all this in a format that’s easy for property managers to master and update.
Here are 6 ways that digital guestbooks can be a gamechanger for your vacation rental business.
1. Provide a stress-free guest experience
Text or email the digital guestbook with everything your guests need before they arrive so they can plan their trip and arrive at their vacation home relaxed and ready for their trip.
2. Reduce repetitive phone calls from guests
Digital guestbooks give guests all the information they need in one place, including when to check in, where to eat and directions to the home. Property managers using digital guestbooks report a drop of 50 percent or more in calls and emails from guests.
3. Save time for you and your staff
Digital guestbooks eliminate going from home to home to update paper guestbooks when there’s a new garbage collection day or a local beach changes their hours. They update automatically so you and your team don’t need to keep track of business closures or changes in operating hours, a tedious, time-consuming task.
4. Include multimedia instructions and photos
It’s easy to add informational videos and photos of the home to digital guestbooks, an amenity guests find helpful. Include a short video of how to use the door code so guests can enter their vacation rental home with ease and a photo of the coffeemaker so guests can buy the appropriate kind of coffee, for example.
5. Help your vacation rental business get more (and better) reviews
Guests love having everything they need for a great vacation at their fingertips, which improves your chances of getting more 5-star reviews.
Since a common guest complaint is that properties provide insufficient information or out-of-date materials, your chances of getting positive reviews increase when you provide an information-filled digital guestbook that more-than-satisfies guest expectations.
Include a link to Google Business Reviews so guests can easily write a review of their rental home.
6. Build your brand and make your vacation rental business look professional
Digital guestbooks are an impressive feature showing that you run a tech-savvy company that cares about their guests. Displaying your company logo and colors throughout your guestbook reminds guests of your vacation rental business each time they consult it and can lead to direct bookings.
Paper guestbooks in clunky binders are wasteful, costly and bad for the planet. Digital guestbooks are cleaner and safer with no contact from previous guests. They make your business look up to date and environmentally savvy.
How to find the right digital guestbook for your vacation rental business
Look for these features when choosing a digital guestbook solution:
- Integrates with your vacation rental software so you can create customized guestbooks for each home in seconds. Software integration also allows you to import property details like WiFi codes, photos, door codes, directions and parking information.
- Brand the guestbooks with your vacation rental logo and colors to remind guests of the services you provide and to showcase your professionalism.
- Customizable layout and flexible content types so you can add, remove and arrange the guestbook’s categories and sections with ease. Include text, video and PDFs with any item.
- Share guestbooks automatically by text and email to help with trip planning. SMS automation capability makes it easy to deliver guestbooks by email or text on the date and time you choose. Email the guestbook two weeks before arrival so guests can plan their trip, and text it to guests a day before arrival so they have it on their phones.
- Calculate and map distances automatically from the vacation rental home to everything in the area so guests know whether to walk, bike or drive to a destination.
- Have a QR code for your guestbook to make it easy to share among families or large parties of guests. Display the QR code prominently on the refrigerator or coffee table so it’s accessible for all.
- Digital guestbooks work equally well on phones, tablets and computers. No app installation required.
- Get a unique link to each guestbook. This means that when you expire the link after a guest departs the guestbook’s information can no longer be shared.
Tips to create a digital guestbook that is an invaluable asset for you and your guests:
- Feature an up-to-date photo of the front door of the home so guests willknow exactly what to expect when they arrive, whether it’s snow on theground or leafy trees.
- Create simple video instructions for anything that may seem confusing,like how to change the TV input or adjust the thermostat.
- Not all vacation rental homes are near a store. Include a list of thingsthat guests should bring like paper towels, trash bags, bottled water andmilk. Be specific. Let guests know if the home has a pod, drip or FrenchPress coffeemaker so they can bring the correct kind of coffee. Add photosof kitchen appliances as well as dishes, flatware and pots and pans soguests know what to expect.
- Provide a list of seasonal items that guests should bring. For summerhomes, suggest sunscreen, swim clothes, beach towels, picnic baskets andsuch. For winter homes, items can include gloves, warm hats, ski masks,hiking boots, etc.
- Every rental home is an opportunity to promote your business. Providephotos and information about other vacation rental properties you manage toentice guests who may want to try out a condo or a bigger home or sample adifferent area that you represent on a future trip.
- Show guests you appreciate their business by offering a discount if theydirect book their next stay.
- References can be a gold mine. Offer guests a cash incentive or a giftcard if they refer a friend who actually books and pays for a vacationrental home.
A great guestbook performs double duty as a concierge, tour guide and cheerleader for your business, and can make the difference between an ordinary vacation and one that’s spectacular. Whether you’re thinking of going digital or want to upgrade your current online offerings, this is an excellent time to explore the exciting options digital guestbooks provide.
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