How "good" is your advertising?
Just how effective are your adverts?!
All owners advertise their Holiday Homes in a different way - but how important are your adverts really? Do you need to show photos? Does it matter if you only have one line of text? What information should you be including, or not including?
ETK have taken a look at the presentation of your advertising, with a twist:
From the Guest's point of view!
So put yourself into the Guest's shoes for a while & take a read:
Photos can be more important than you may think! Guests generally look through a fair amount of adverts before they decide where to book, even if they have a specific area in mind and what usually sways them is how the Holiday Home looks...
Would YOU book a holiday via an advert showing ONE photo of the Holiday Home?
Most probably not! Guests like to see "what is on offer" before they book, (understandably):- ideally you need to include at least one "outside" photo & at least one photo of the living area, dining area, bedrooms & kitchen (some include bathrooms, but not essential:- no-one particularly needs to see a photo of your W.C!) If a Guest cannot see what the property is like - they are quite unlikely to book with you and will simply scroll on through to the next advert....
Would YOU book a holiday via an advert showing hundreds of similar photos?
No, because by the time you've looked at the 10th picture of the living area taken from a different angle, you would simply give up & scroll on through to the next advert.... Remember the word "Overkill" when you choose the photos to use, you don't need to show every room from every conceivable angle - or you will bore your potential guest into looking elsewhere.
Would YOU book a holiday via an advert showing obvious "stock photos?"
With various "scamming" incidents being reported, your guest is highly unlikely to "trust" you are a genuine Owner, if your photos are obviously taken from a brochure or sales catalogue! The Guest expects to be able to see exactly what they are booking, not browse through pictures of a "show home!" It's also effectively "false advertising" if you use brochure pictures, as even if you have the same make & model - you are advertising something you do not own!
Would YOU book a holiday via an advert showing blurry and unclear photos?
Why would you, when there are other adverts showing clear and concise photos of the Holiday Home? The Guest is likely to take the opinion that your rental service will be shoddy, if your photos are! Make sure the photos are clear and in focus!
(Top Tip is to take them on a nice, sunny day so the feeling of "holiday" is there, rather than a day where it's pouring with rain and miserable!)
Would YOU book a holiday via an advert showing the Owner washing-up in the kitchen?
Much as it's nice to give a "family-feel" to your Holiday Home, it looks very unprofessional to see "chores" being done on holiday adverts! The same goes for pictures of your children watching TV, or the poor ole hubby with the key in the door surrounded by shopping bags....
If you want to use photos including "people" - make it "posed", so it gives the right impression of your Holiday service:- just take a look at the Holiday Company ads: they show happy, laughing families sat on decking having a fabulous holiday.... Mum doing the washing-up, Dad coming home with the food shop and the kids sat bored watching TV does not exactly give the same impression!
Would YOU book a Holiday Home that looks untidy or messy?
Why would you?!
If the Owner cannot keep the Holiday Home tidy to take photos, what will their rental service prove to be like? Always remove any belongings etc out of shot: the photos you use to advertise need to show the Guest how your Holiday Home will look on their arrival - not how it looks when you are staying there.
Think carefully how to word your advert: the information you provide can be the difference between a booking, or a Guest looking elsewhere.
Would YOU book a Holiday Home without knowing how many bedrooms it has, or its maximum capacity?
Even if you have a relatively small number of people going on holiday: you would like to know in advance what the bedroom "arrangements" will be! Just by stating "2 or 3 bedrooms" doesn't necessarily explain how many can stay. Make it very clear as to what your maximum number of guests is.
If you have a static caravan or chalet, remember that you cannot exceed the berth stated on your sales documents by the manufacturer, even if you have "the room" to do so! If the sales document states a 6-berth - that is the maximum you can rent to, or your insurance will be void (and you will be breaking your Holiday Park's regulations.) If you have added extra sleeping arrangements (some twin rooms add an extra "bunk-bed" to sleep 3 instead of the standard 2), the documents need to be altered accordingly before you can advertise that "extra space."
And PLEASE: It is berth and not birth!
Would YOU book a holiday without knowing exactly where it is?
Simply by stating the Holiday Park name, or general location will not attract Guests.
If your Holiday Home is on a park; they need to know the park name, the holiday company and the area.
If your Holiday Home is privately owned (cottages, apartments, villas etc), the Guest needs to know the nearest town and area.
Simply stating "The New Forest" may not be clear, whereas "The New Forest, Hampshire" will at least give them a rough idea of how far they will need to travel if they book with you!
Lots of Guests like to travel to different areas for their holidays and are happy to travel for 5 hours to get there, but others don't! You may waste both your and your potential Guest's time by not stating on your advert exactly where your Holiday Home is located!
Would YOU book a holiday via a 2-line advert?
Of course you wouldn't... so why should the Guest? If you simply state "3-bedroom Holiday Home to rent in Kent, includes toaster, kettle and a pull-out bed" you are highly unlikely to attract many potential rents.
As far as the guest is concerned, if you can't "be bothered" to add some detail about your rental - what will your actual rental service be like? They will simply move on to the next advert on their "possible-bookings" list. Spend a bit of time drafting out informative text.
Would YOU read endless text on a holiday advert?
In a word: "no!"
On the initial advert, Guests simply will not read never-ending text...
Putting too much text on an advert is as bad a habit as putting too little! Don't waffle! Your guests don't need to know the "ins and outs" of absolutely everything at the point of advertising and you do not need to write a book on what you provide!
Your potential (and by now bored to tears) Guest will just drift on to the next advert if yours is too long.
Wood U booke youre holiday if teh addvert was baddly writen or waz in tx spk?
Just what sort of impression does it give of your rental service, if your advert is full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors? Scroll on to the next well-presented, well-written advert.....
Not difficult to sort either: just use a spell-check, or google any word you are unsure of spelling correctly!
And again: PLEASE: It is "berth" and not "birth!"
Would YOU book a holiday having seen the exact same advert over & over & over again?
Probably not, as if the Owner can't be bothered to update their advert - why should you bother booking with them? Don't just use the same advert over and over: keep it fresh, even if it's just altering the order of the same photos! It does make a difference to the Guest.
Don't fall into the trap of "over-advertising"... it will make you seem "desperate" for bookings - to which the Guest will wonder "why?!"
Contact and your responses
The way you react to enquires has a huge impact on whether the Guest books with you or not.
Would YOU book a holiday with someone who took a week to reply to you?
Quite simply, if the Owner can't respond to your enquiry relatively quickly, what sort of rental service will you receive?
Stay on top of any enquiries you have through and answer as soon as you can... if that's more than 24 hours - apologise for the delay.
Would YOU book a holiday with someone who gives you a "one-line" answer?
Doubtful... if a Guest asks for dates that are already booked, don't simply reply with "booked, sorry" - get into "conversation" with them... apologise for their dates already being booked and offer them others!
Would YOU book a holiday with someone who seems to want to be your "new best friend?!"
Be careful with your contact, there's a very fine line of being "friendly" towards your Guests, (which is obviously a "good thing") and being a tad "over-zealous" in your enthusiasm to obtain a booking... until your Guest possibly becomes a "Regular-Renter", don't lose your "professional" approach to their booking.
Remember that Holiday Company reception staff are generally "friendly" to all Guests and "personal friends of none!"
Take the same approach!
Woudl you book a holday wiv sum1 who;s repley is ful off speling mistaks or gain tx tlk?
This is so important when dealing with Guests, as it does give totally the wrong impression about your rental service... if your spelling or grammar isn't great- use a spell-check before you write a reply - it will look much better!
Paperwork is a very important part of the booking process and needs to be 110% in order before any rentals can take place!
Would YOU book a holiday where no paperwork is offered and just merrily hand over your cash?
No more needs to be said.
Would YOU book a holiday with someone who issues no receipts for your payments?
Regardless of what method of payment is used, a receipt needs to be issued with EVERY payment the Guest makes to you, and a hand-written scribbled bit of paper will not suffice!
Would YOU book through someone who doesn't give you their home address?
If the Owner doesn't provide full details, why not? You must supply full home details when you rent your Holiday Home.
Would YOU book a holiday with no Terms and Conditions in place?
Afraid not, how would you know if you had broken any "rules" if you are not supplied with them when you book?
These need to cover cancellations, deposits, damage bonds along with general terms and conditions of the booking and for the stay itself.
Hopefully, ETK have given you a bit of "food for thought"....
If you think about what YOU would like to see as a Guest when booking your next holiday and the responses YOU would like to receive:
Just apply that to your adverts and your replies to enquiries and you shouldn't go too far wrong!