It’s hard to underestimate the importance of ongoing communication for anyone who rents out or exchanges their home. Communicating with real people helps you and your guests get to know one another, and that is how you build the foundation for a successful exchange or rental.
On the web site tripping.com, rental industry expert Scott Shatford, the founder of airdna.co, an analytics service for property owners, and author of “The Airbnb Expert’s Playbook – Secrets of a Six-Figure Rentalpreneur.” offers some great tips for communicating with potential short-term tenants, and those tips are also valid for those of us who do home exchanges. In his blog post, Acing Guest Communications, Scott reminds us of something we too often forget: to personalize our communication with our guests, “from inquiry to check-out.”
As Scott says, communication begins when you receive the initial inquiry. Instead of sending a boilerplate response, stop to think about the real person who has expressed interest in your home. What can you learn about them from that initial email? What are they looking for? What’s most important to them? Most people offer at least a little information about themselves in their inquiry; consider what they’ve said when you respond. Why are they coming to your area? Do they have kids?
Tailoring your response to the individual goes a long way toward ensuring successful rentals and exchanges. For one thing, communicating with real people helps both you and the other party determine whether your place is right for them, saving you both wasted time if it is not. For another, communication helps you spot potential problems before finalizing the arrangements.
Communication doesn’t stop once someone has booked your home or you’ve finalized a home exchange. Make sure your guests know what to expect, and what you expect from them. If you’re doing a home exchange, continue to ask questions about the home and the area. Keep your communications friendly and polite, and don’t hesitate to ask questions or probe for further information about anything that raises a red flag for you.
Continue to communicate even after the guests have moved into your home. Check with them to make sure everything’s okay. Let them know that you’re available if they have questions. And follow up after they leave. If you were pleased by the way they cared for your home, say so. If they said they had a great time, ask them to post a review on your listing site, and let them know that they are welcome to return if they decide to come back to your area.
What have you learned about communicating with your guests? Please share your tips in the comments or on our Facebook page.