Staying alert and attentive to any new inquiries and messages that come in from potential guests is a must. Your reply – and the information it contains – can be the difference between securing the booking and losing that guest forever.
Improving the way you respond can significantly increase your conversion rate. But before you even receive inquiries, there are factors to keep in mind across your website and listings to ensure the requests come flooding in. For example, verifying that your availability and pricing are always up-to-date across all channels you’re advertising on.
What else can you do with your inquiry replies to boost conversion? Let’s find out!
1. Be sure to reply
It seems obvious, but we can’t stress enough the importance of actually replying to all the inquiries you receive. Even if your property is unavailable for the inquirer’s selected dates, or they don’t meet the requirements of your house rules, it’s always better to reply than leave the inquiry pending. In fact, in some cases, guests’ dates are flexible if they’re really keen on a property – so it’s always worth checking if you have another suitable slot free for their stay. What’s more, on most OTAs such as Airbnb, your response rate is a decisive factor in determining your search result position. Leaving inquiries unanswered can have a negative effect on your listing.
2. Personalize your response
Travelers will usually send queries to their shortlist of favorite properties, and if you’re unlucky, your reply may get lost in their inbox. A good way to help make your message stand out from your competitors’ is by changing the subject field, and tailoring your response with their own details such as first name, the dates their staying and any other information they’ve provided.
3. Provide potential guests context
On a similar note, besides letting the reader know you know who they are, be sure to remind them of who you are, too. A simple introductory sentence thanking them for their inquiry into [your property name] will instantly trigger their memory of your website or listing. By doing this, you are also encouraging them to search for your brand name in Google!
4. Answer their questions
Travelers ask questions for a reason: they want the answers. So while you always want to build rapport and have a professional, friendly conversation, also try to be succinct and to the point when answering their questions. Given that an increasing number of travelers send requests and book accommodation via their mobile devices, big paragraphs of text are harder to read and information may not be transmitted as clearly. Answer their questions at the beginning of your reply, then you can add in any extra details afterward.
5. Take care with presentation
Sloppy sentences and basic spelling mistakes can be a big turn off for inquiring guests. It’s easy for a written message to come across wrong – especially online! So be sure to take extra precautions with grammar (a comma can completely change the meaning of your sentence), using uppercase text (they’ll think you’re shouting!) and the tone you’re using to respond. Free writing tools such as Grammarly can help avoid unnecessary mistakes and keep your responses professional.
6. Use autoresponders to save time
Research from TripAdvisor found that owners who respond to inquiries within six hours are twice as likely to convert them into bookings. In order to help you reply in a timely fashion to every guest inquiry, it’s a good idea to set up autoresponders or predefined messages which can be reused time after time. Adding these canned responses to your software can save you valuable time, as when a common request such as “is your property available on these dates?” comes in, you can simply select the correct email template, personalize it with their name and click send!
7. Send a quote
By sending the potential traveler a quote as part of your reply, the guest can pay immediately by credit card to secure their booking. This makes the whole booking process easy and straightforward – which in turn improves your conversion rate. In addition to this, you could even offer an exclusive price if the guest books directly on your website. Booking directly can save both hosts and guests from commissions, and is an influential factor in converting window shoppers into reservations!
Replying to all inquiries quickly and effectively can help eliminate obstacles which drive your guests away from booking. By ensuring you are clear in your responses and providing the necessary information in a professional, yet warm manner, you can look forward to an improved booking conversion rate and an overall improved guest experience!