Many independent properties are focused on increasing online bookings—an essential part of running your business for many reasons. Benefits of online bookings include less human resources required for processing, easily measurable attribution tracking, and lower associated costs. However, many people are not booking online until they speak with someone first, especially when reserving a vacation rental.
Why? Vacation rentals are not standardized like hotel rooms. Because the average booking is often two to three times the cost of a typical hotel booking, people want to speak with someone prior to booking to verify that they are getting exactly what they are looking for.
3 Ways to Increase Bookings:
Track all incoming calls to understand how many inbound leads your reservations team is receiving.
How does this help? Without knowing how many calls for availability your team is receiving, you have no way of determining your closing rate. Here is an example of how to determine a closing rate for a 150-unit vacation rental company:
- A 150-unit vacation rental company could take as many as 10,000 calls in a year.
- A 20 percent closing rate would equal 2,000 bookings.
- With a three-night average length of stay and a $200 average nightly rate, the company would have $1,200,000 in direct bookings.
- If the company increases its closing rate by 5 percent (five bookings for every 100 calls), then 500 additional bookings times three nights times $200 per night equals $300,000 in incremental bookings.
This would be a big increase in top- and bottom-line revenues if you had the necessary tools to track and generate this revenue. Benchmark studies show that up to 79 percent of all inbound leads are lost in the first ten minutes. Who has your 79 percent?
Provide incentive opportunities that track agent performance to allow top agents to increase performance.
In many years of managing and directing sales professionals, one thing has always been true: showing agents (salespeople) how they are performing allows the cream to rise to the top. Simply put, top performers want to perform at a high level. Without measuring and showing them this data, there is no way for top performers to gauge themselves against the rest of the team.
Top sales performers will often be responsible for the majority share of revenues. Incentivizing employees to perform by showing them how they rank against their counterparts creates a positive, competitive atmosphere within your reservations team.
There are many positive side effects of this type of sales culture, and this data can be easily measured by call/reservation software offering “dashboards.” Dashboards are great tools that can show individual or team sales data and how the team’s hard work is affecting your property’s business.
Increase reservations and recover lost opportunities by using outbound call blitzes to follow up with inbound calls.
If a property receives 10,000 calls and books 2,000 reservations, then there are 8,000 calls from travelers interested in booking who did not confirm on the first inbound call. If your team follows up on these 8,000 calls and 3 percent of them turn into reservations, then you are looking at 240 incremental reservations and, potentially, a revenue increase of upwards of $240,000 (at an average of $1,000 per booking).
Even incentivizing your staff with 10 percent commission would still deliver a net gain of $216,000 in new bookings. If you haven’t considered an outbound call blitz campaign to increase bookings on inbound calls, it’s time to do so.
So why follow up with these leads? Because the Internet is the dominant way people plan, research, discover, and book their lodgings, it is vital to follow up with leads that do not convert on the first call or user session. If you don’t, then there is a good chance that the traveler will simply find another property management company with a similar rental at a similar price and book with it instead of you.
Consistently Closing the Sale
A solid outbound calling and lead follow-up strategy allows your independent property to consistently close more business than your competition. We are dedicated to leveling the playing field for the independent property, and our customers are having great success using an outbound strategy that works for them.