According to IBC Hospitality Technologies, 80% of guests expect their hosts to lead communication. This means that the vast majority of guests believe that their hosts will always initiate conversation and then guide them the rest of the way.
Guests are not going to tell you when there is something wrong every time there is something wrong. Rather, they believe that it’s up to you to open the lines of communication, figuring out exactly what you need to do to turn good experiences into great ones and great ones into perfect ones.
The power of effective communication between hosts and guests is immense, and there is credence to the idea that it is the number-one factor separating successful hosts from unsuccessful ones.
Say, for example, your guest has misunderstood one of your check-in instructions. Unless you have taken it up yourself to check and double-check that you are on the same page for check-in, any misunderstandings or mistakes that arise will fall to you. On the other hand, if you do check and double-check this and other details for your guest, you can morph communication from a challenge into an advantage – leveraging it to find long-term success for your rental business.
This begs the question: how do you make sure that guest communication is working in your favor?
The key is to adopt the right strategies. If you are working effectively, then you should encounter no issues in your communication. It should, in fact, be one of the points that your guests compliment most: when they realize how much they have enjoyed their stay with you, they will think back and remember all the times that you were there for them, all the times that you checked in on them, and all the questions that you asked to determine their unique, specific needs. If you are already communicating with your guests well, that is great, but it never hurts to reinforce these ideas.
Here are three communication strategies that you can integrate into your rental business to satisfy your guests today.
Strategy 1: Listen First
When a group of researchers led by Dick Lee and Delmar Hatesohl at the University of Missouri looked into communication, they sensed where it would lead them: to listen. In their research report, they said, “Numerous tests confirm that we are inefficient listeners. Studies have shown that immediately after listening to a 10-minute oral presentation, the average listener has heard, understood and retained 50% of what was said. Within 48 hours, that drops off another 50 percent to a final level of 25 percent efficiency.” In short, few people ever learn how to listen when others are speaking – which is tragic when you consider how much importance we all place on other people hearing us.
This is one way in which you can differentiate your communication skills with your guests immediately. If they are talking, you need to listen closely, and before you ever offer your opinion or guidance, you need to hear everything that your guests have to say. Think of it as an opportunity to learn: when someone else is talking about something, you need to try to take whatever you can from it, interpreting their words as effectively as you can.
Strategy 2: Be Prepared for Tough Conversations
Like any other business, managing a short-term rental business does not always go flawlessly smooth. Misunderstandings occur, and when they do, you need to be on the frontline to discuss these misunderstandings with your guests and come to an acceptable conclusion. These conversations may be difficult – which is why you need to stick in them, expressing your willingness to find a resolution no matter how long it takes and no matter how trying it gets. It may be wise to use a PMS or to delegate some of your other tasks to a property manager or co-host, like one of the co-hosts that you can find on Cohostmarket.com. Some of the benefits of using this platform or software include:
Manage your business wherever you are
Search vetted, qualified talent
Organize your calendar in one place
Keep track of all your bookings more efficiently
Record accounting data and other statistics
Strategy 3: Learn from Feedback
When feedback does come, do not let it slide off your shoulder, and do not brush it away. All feedback, especially the feedback that is difficult for you to hear is useful for your growth and development as a business.
When one of your guests is gracious enough to offer you feedback, even if it comes in the form of a loud complaint, you should take it to heart, paying close attention to the substance of the feedback so that you can turn it into a lesson. This is usually a complex task because it requires you to appease your guest while also figuring out where you went wrong, taking an honest look at your business and providing ongoing service.
One method that you can use to learn from your feedback consistently is to take notes. Yes, just as if you were back in school, you need to write down everything that comes to you in the way of feedback, organizing your notes later into an outline and reviewing everything extensively once you have some free time. If there is a tone that you notice in your guests’ voices while they are offering you their feedback, write that down as well.
Where to Go from Here
Communication can be difficult. This is why so many businesses fail, so many relationships fall apart, and the world’s countries just can’t seem to get along. If it were easy for people to communicate, then we would never run into any issues over disagreements – solving them with as much speed and as little effort as they seem to have arisen. In reality, we do run into issues over disagreements. We find ourselves in conflict – over missed bookings, over unstated expectations, over less-than-perfect stays – and we dig ourselves into a deeper and deeper trench, instead of communicating clearly and openly as we know we should.
As a business owner, it is your duty to understand the power of guest communication and to follow through on the strategies that you know. Your guests are not going to do this for you, and if you don’t do it for them, they are going to walk away from the experience less-than-satisfied. Even mediocre communication is, in truth, enough to sink an otherwise well-run business. These three strategies – listen, stay in, and learn – may seem simple, but they may also be enough for you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Include them in your overall rental business strategy and see for yourself!
About the author:
Morgan Ackchehirlian is the CEO at CoHostMarket.com. With an extensive hosting background and SEO, Morgan created this platform to help hosts in more than 190 countries.
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