The performance of a vacation rental manager’s (VRM’s) housekeeping department is more important to vacation home owners and guests than ever before. Owners and guests are on the two sides of your business model equation, so for both of these customer groups, trusting in your commitment to housekeeping excellence is a key factor in their decisions to choose to work with your company.
On the owner side, vacation home owners want and need to know about the quality of your housekeeping department, and they want to believe their big real estate investment is being cared for by the best.
On the guest side, according to a research study carried out by Emprise, 97 percent of guests agreed that a clean establishment was the most important booking factor, and a negative online review lost the business of 30 customers on average. With increased competition in the industry, guests are looking for ways to differentiate between properties when making their vacation rental booking decisions. The more assurance VRMs provide about the level of cleanliness guests can expect in the homes, the more comfortable guests will be in making reservations.
VRM marketers are beginning to realize that by tweaking their marketing content to promote housekeeping excellence, they can yield an enormous boost in customer acquisition and retention.
Steve Craig, founder and president at Pro Resort Housekeeping, has compiled a list of ideas to promote the quality of your housekeeping quality to your customers.
Marketing Housekeeping Excellence to Owners
When Owners Shop for a VRM
- Create and send press releases to your local media that show off your housekeeping department. Here are a few examples:
- “Meyer Vacation Rentals Employee Gwen Polk Receives National Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals Award”
- “Mountain Vacation Rentals Housekeepers Receive National Certifications”
- “Lakefront Vacation Homes Gets Top Marks for Housekeeping Excellence from Spring Break Families”
- Use blogs and social media to promote housekeeping awards, certifications (e.g., training, accolades, etc.), and key stats that show excellence in performance.
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to optimize your website for prospective owners who are searching for VRMs focused on housekeeping quality.
- Provide uniforms. Your housekeepers in the field are more of a marketing tool for your business than you realize; their appearance and behavior are direct reflections of your company’s commitment to quality. Your prospective homeowners will notice.
In Marketing Materials for Owners
- Include the Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals (VRHP) membership logo (if applicable) on your site and include additional writing, e.g., “XYZ Vacation Rentals is a proud member of VRHP, and we follow strict standards to ensure a clean and safe environment for your family.”
- Add materials in owner acquisition packets that outline your excellent departure cleaning standards and training programs.
- Promote your process for screening housekeeping staff, including background checks, if applicable.
- Add testimonials about housekeeping from other homeowners to your website and printed marketing materials.
To Retain Owners
- Send results from guest surveys, comment cards, and reviews to homeowners.
- Use emails and newsletters to communicate both positive news about and achievements of your housekeeping team. Consider including information about training completion, attendance at conferences/seminars, improvement in performance, relationships with new vendors, switches to supplies that are more safe and green, etc.
- Send each property owner an email with a picture and short bio of your housekeeping manager and/or the assigned housekeeper and inspector.
- Show before and after photos of deep cleans (annual cleans).
- People are less likely to criticize other people when they know them personally. Find ways to personalize the relationship between homeowners and your housekeeping team (e.g., notes from the housekeeping manager left in the home for owner stays or personal meetings before or after deep cleans).
Marketing Housekeeping Excellence to Guests
When Guests are Shopping Online for a Vacation Rental
- Provide language in your property listing descriptions that promotes your housekeeping guarantee(s) or commitment to excellence. Here are two examples:
- “We are committed to housekeeping excellence and provide you our Island Housekeeping Guarantee so you can rest assured that your vacation rental will be clean and safe upon your arrival.”
- “Our professionally trained and certified housekeeping team and inspectors are dedicated to making sure your stay is comfortable and stress-free.”
- Add a photo and/or photo caption to listings to depict your commitment to providing clean and safe accommodations.
- Use social media to promote your housekeeping team’s achievements, high ratings, and exceptional guest reviews.
On Your Website and in Email Marketing to Guests
- Provide statistics from your guest surveys (e.g., 98 percent of guests rated our properties as “very clean” or “exceptionally clean”).
- Communicate your use of safe and environmentally-friendly (and pet-friendly, if applicable) chemicals and supplies.
- Promote that each vacation rental is cleaned with a strict set of standards and inspected for cleaning quality before each arrival.
- If you have staff on call 24/7, make sure your prospective guests know that.
- In the same way that you market to owners, include the VRHP membership logo (if applicable) on your site and include additional writing, e.g., “XYZ Vacation Rentals is a proud member of VRHP, and we follow strict standards to ensure a clean and safe environment for your family.”
To Improve Guest Retention
The number one thing you can do to encourage guest retention is to provide a safe, clean rental that meets or exceeds your guests’ expectations, but there are a few extra measures that can help create a good first impression. Here are a few examples:
- Open the toilet paper, fold it to a point, and put on a sticker with the company logo. This adds a touch of class and style.
- Put cards on beds promoting your laundry commitment.
- If your guest is arriving after dark, leave a couple of lights on. No guest likes walking into a strange, dark house at night.
- If you are on the water, leave window treatments open so that guests focus on the view before the cleanliness of the room.
- Leave a note upon each arrival, including housekeeper and inspector names, a phone number, and a generic email address to the housekeeping department.
- Call guests after arrival to make sure they are happy with the cleanliness of their vacation rental. You want them to tell you before they tell the world online.
Cleanliness is very important to your customers, so it only makes sense to promote your housekeeping team’s performance in your marketing efforts. Focus on your team’s strengths and get creative. A little housekeeping promotion will go a long way toward acquiring and retaining owners and guests.