Delightful Memories = Repeat Guests + Referrals
Hey everyone, sorry I’m late! Angela and I have been eagerly putting the final touches on the new house before our first guests arrive this week. We are setting this home, like the others, with the primary goal of creating delightful memories for each of our guests.
In my previous blog, I mentioned that we should be generating repeat guests and referrals. The simple answer for getting more repeat guests and referrals is to create more memories for your guests.
As vacation home owners, we have a unique opportunity to go far beyond providing accommodations at a good value with friendly service.
POP QUIZ: What product do you sell?
A. A comfortable night’s sleep?
B. A base station for your guests’ vacation?
C. Service with a smile?
Those all sound a lot like what motels sell to their customers. In our business, Angela and I sell delightful memories.
Ultimate Comfort. Ultimate Convenience. Ultimate Memories.
That’s our tagline, and it’s what we do in a few short phrases. Comfortable, convenient and memorable. Everything we do with our vacation home business revolves around these three concepts. Delightful memories get talked about over and over; sharing delightful memories allows the Love to live on.
We have found that delightful memories are the ones that keep our guests coming back (as repeat customers) in addition to recommending our home and sharing their experience with others (referrals).
A guest review we received on VRBO.com a couple weeks back made me think about the memories this new home will create. The review says “….We had the time of our life….we would most definitely return here….Thank you for giving us our favorite family vacation!!”
Those sound like the words of a highly satisfied customer. Their words; ”time of their life, their favorite family vacation,” and most importantly, “we would most definitely return here” to our home.
So how do we create memories that delight our guests into coming back while recommending our homes to all who will listen?
If we are intentional about creating scenarios for delightful memories to unfold, we can more easily identify the opportunities to create those memories for our guests before they arrive. The idea is to be intentional about creating scenarios for delightful memories to occur.
Here are three examples where being intentional resulted in incremental bookings for us.
Opportunity 1: During the booking process, a youth basketball team mentioned they needed to cook lots of rice. We purchased two large rice cookers for $40 each and let them know several weeks prior to check-in we had done so… just for them.
Result: The team had a great time; have stayed with us three years in a row and are booked in two houses for a week this July. Plus, now we have rice cookers at the houses for other groups.
Opportunity 2: Two years ago, a couple with a 3-year-old daughter booked our house for a week. It was her first trip to Disneyland so we purchased Tinkerbell pajamas, an autograph book and mouse ears hat that were left out on her bed.
Result: Their daughter calls our home her “Disney House,” and they recently booked their third vacation with us for November 2011.
Opportunity 3: Four businessmen checked out of our home two years ago and mentioned what a great time they had playing ping-pong after long days of seminars. When they checked in last year we left four premium ping-pong paddles and 3-star balls with a note that read “Let the games begin!”
Result: They immediately called to thank us when they found the paddles and booked their week for 2012 the day before they checked out this year!
The Bottom Line: Giving your guests a reason to come back and refer your home can reduce your marketing costs, build your customer base and your annual revenue. So far, in 2011 we have seven reservations accounting for 49 nights that are repeat guests, an incremental seven percent increase in occupancy for both houses!
For many of us peak season is around the corner, here’s to creating delightful memories that keep them coming back for more, the kind they’ll tell all their friends about…
Tell me about some of the things you do to create memories.
Michael Smith: Michael and his wife Angela happened into vacation home ownership in April 2007 when a relocation nudged them toward the idea of short-term renting. Within months of establishing Ultimate SoCal Vacation Homes, they began making plans to expand their business. Having combined backgrounds in sales, marketing, business development and hospitality helps them to create guest experiences that exceed expectations. Today, more than 3,500 guests later, Michael and Angela are operating three profitable vacation homes in Anaheim.