10 Ways to Increase Owner Retention for Professional Vacation Rental Management Companies
Retaining owners in your vacation rental program is critical to the success of your property management company. So how do you make sure you are keeping your owners from being seduced by other options in your market?
Here are 10 ideas to encourage loyalty from your vacation rental owners.
1. Know your competition
Know what your competition is saying. Provide an incentive to encourage your current owners to share solicitations and promotions from other companies. You may use a complimentary deep clean, a gift certificate, a featured property listing or a keyless lock as a way to entice your owners to share offers from competitors. Craft communications that focus on your company. Remind your owners of their success with your company and promote the services you provide. Your competitors are likely targeting specific complexes or neighborhoods so don’t be afraid to target a segment of your owners with personalized messaging.
2. Create an open communications plan between you and your owners.
Initiate a plan for the rental manager or owner’s representative to have consistent, scheduled communications with the owner about maintenance, performance, etc. Also, allow owner’s representatives to have time with the reservation agents to talk about each property’s performance. Encourage communications between the members of your team who are working with owners and the ones who are communicating with guests.
One way to do this is by implementing an internal tool which tracks all communications about a specific property/owner. If a complaint, suggestion or comment is made –good or bad –about the individual property, all communications will be in one place. This helps both the owner representative and the reservation professional easily obtain rental information about the property.
3. Deliver special services.
Everyone likes to feel like they are part of an exclusive club, and your owners are no exception. Provide special welcome services for owners and their special events. Treat your owners as VIP’s in their own homes. You could provide special parking, airport transportation, welcome gifts or a bud vase of fresh stems/flowers from the area by the master bed, or grab ideas from other luxury rewards programs.
4. Keep it clean and safe.
Clean like it is your own home, and make sure the owner sees his or her home in the best condition possible. Ensure success by encouraging your owner representative to personally inspect the property before each owner stay.
5. Provide guest profiles for individual properties.
Empower your reservation agents to gather as much guest profile information as possible. Identify niche markets which find an owner’s property particularly attractive. It is important to consistently demonstrate to the owner ways you are targeting their individual property’s guests. Your owners only know what you tell them.
6. Communicate quarterly to your owners about the channels you have used to market their property.
List the websites, articles about your company, advertising outlets, social media efforts, event promotions and other marketing initiatives you have used to promote your inventory. Provide this information to your owners in a quarterly format to 1) keep top of mind awareness with your owners, and 2) build in accountability with your marketing team.
7. Evaluate and show property specific reporting.
Show web statistics on each property. Use call reporting to show interest in the property and be sure to list objections to the property. The reservations team and front desk staff are valuable resources, so maximize their involvement. Solicit and share individual property feedback, comment cards and reviews.
8. Provide Maintenance Reports
Openly share a recap of all maintenance performed at the rental and share the recommended next action steps. This becomes increasingly compelling to your owner when you use these communications in concert with the guest feedback mentioned above.
9. Treat each home as an individual business, and you are the manager, not the CEO.
Your homeowners own extremely valuable resort vacation properties, and the owner is the CEO of that property. Remember you work for them. They can replace you with another manager. Each home rental is a business. Like any business, as a manager, you must perform, communicate, show success and build relationships in order to keep your job.
10. Regularly solicit owner reviews of your service.
Collect formal feedback from your owners of your services on a consistent basis. Ask about housekeeping, maintenance, owner relations, guest relations, marketing initiatives, and overall friendliness. You don’t have to ask all questions at once, you can have regular short polls and surveys in your emails. If there is an area you are afraid to ask about, it is likely an area you will want to improve. USE this information to reward your staff, improve you performance, build case studies and track trending changes in the owner mindset.
Note: Determine what your valuable inventory is. You may have properties which are bringing in gross revenue, but not net revenue. You may find it better for your management company to focus your retention efforts accordingly.