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CREATING A TOURISM EXPERIENCE
By Justin Butterworth
REINSW Holiday and Short-Term Rentals Chapter Chair

Holiday rental property managers are dealing with international visitors more often than in the past. Here are some tips to assist guests have an enjoyable holiday - and hopefully provide your landlord with repeat or referral business.

Holiday rental properties in Australia typically used to be rented by families, who would often come back for their holiday by the coast every year. The internet has significantly changed the accommodation market and it can no longer be taken for granted that the same family will return to the same property year after year.

With increased competition in the tourism market, property managers need to broaden their focus from just providing property management services to the landlord. Property managers need to put time and effort into delivering a professional tourism experience to holidaymakers in order to achieve repeat and referral business.

Property managers also need to bear in mind that with the internet reaching a wider market than ever before, more and more visitors are coming from different cultural backgrounds or from overseas and may require a higher level of assistance. 

Booking

The tourism experience starts from the initial contact with the customer on your website or by telephone. It includes the decision process and the booking process, which must be as seamless and as easy as possible.

Helping the customer with the right property selection can also improve their experience and ensure they have a great time. Are they seeking a family-friendly property, or one close to transport, or a luxury apartment?

Make sure that your website and booking process includes clear and comprehensive information about the property and the local area, so the customer knows exactly what to expect. 

Arrival

Create the right impression when they collect their keys by ensuring your staff have a positive culture focused on customer service. Your staff must have an enthusiastic and helpful approach, in person as well as on the telephone.

Ensure the property is clean and well-presented. Meet the customer’s expectations by delivering what was presented in prior communication. 

Welcome kit

Guests may require assistance in the form of maps and tourist guides about the local area, including cafes, restaurants and interesting places to visit.

Guests may also need help in the form of written instructions for using appliances such as televisions and DVD players, air conditioning and heating, washing machines, alarms and barbecues.

In order to avoid disturbance to neighbours, it is also helpful to instruct guests about not hanging washing on the balcony, using the right parking space and being quiet late at night.

Afterwards

Follow up for feedback through a customer satisfaction survey. Ongoing communication, for example with an enewsletters, also helps.

Ensure the property remains clean and well-maintained between stays. 

In the office

Deliver a consistency of service so that customers know what to expect and feel confident of the same service when they visit next time.

Train your staff in systems and procedures to reduce your administration costs, minimise risk to your business and maximise your customer’s experience.

It is worth recognising that the tourism experience extends beyond your service offering. Other aspects of the guests visit such as travel or traffic delays, bad weather or illness can have more impact than the accommodation you provide. Best practice accommodation providers acknowledge this and show compassion, understanding and perhaps even make allowances or gestures of goodwill to ensure an exceptional tourism experience.

Consider the tourism experience your team is delivering, start with your customer touch points and highlight areas for improvement. Your customers are bound to have a great holiday every time – and ultimately you will also be providing the best possible opportunity for repeat business and referrals for your landlords.

Justin Butterworth is the founder of rentahome.com.au and is Chair of the REINSW Holiday and Short Term Rentals Chapter.

Membership of the Chapter is free for all individual REINSW members. To find out more or to join, email membership@reinsw.com.au or call (02) 9264 2343.