Improve your vacation rental during the Coronavirus

We all know that during the COVID-19 pandemic we should stay home, but that does not mean that we cannot work to improve the look and value of our vacation rental. Use this time to maximize the value of your accommodation and be ready for the season once this pandemic ends. In the following text, we bring you tips on how to refresh and beautify your accommodation.

 

Be Imaginative

Paint the walls to refresh the space. Arrange the decorations, add some detail in a vibrant colour to enliven the space itself and to avoid having a monotonous interior. We recommend not putting too many unnecessary decorations, because less is always more. Present your guests with the details representing the destination showing them you care about their satisfaction and that you look out for details.

 

Be Personalized

Adding personality to space can be risky, so don’t think too hard. Start with what the guest might like. Include the necessary elements that the guest will need during their stay.

 

Be Your Own Guest

Experience your accommodation as if you were a guest. It can help identify which areas need to be repaired or simply improved. Sleep in a bed, take a shower and use bath towels. If space is dedicated solely to guests, try cooking in the kitchen to make sure everything works and you have all the tools you need. If you are unable to try this, ask your friends or family for help, because this is how you can find potential fixes you might not otherwise see.

 

Consider the following questions and take the time to improve your accommodation.

Are towels accessible?

Is the shower high/low enough for guests?

Do you have space near the front door where guests can leave things like keys, bags, or jackets?

Are basic resources available, such as cell phone charging sockets?

Are light switches easy to locate?

Are standard features like doors and windows functional and easy to use?

An experienced renter, Slavko Ćuk: Direct Booker made me a gentleman

When someone has 30 years of experience in the same business and doing it successfully, every advice coming from that kind of person is golden. Mister Slavko Ćuk is in private renting in Dubrovnik since the eighties of the last century.

“Those days, I was searching for the guests in every possible way – but mostly alone. I looked for them in front of the bus stations, campsites, hotels, even on the road with the sign in my hands … Through friend’s connections, acquaintances… But I was finding solutions.’

Still, he is not too nostalgic for the old times.

‘I wouldn’t do it that way anymore. People still call me and beg me to receive the guests. I simply tell them: Do it online, find a free date and book! It’s a nice thing to be a gentleman, though there is a tougher competition now. I can say that Direct Booker has done the right thing for me! ‘.

For success in business, he says, it is crucial that you love it, that nothing is difficult for you, but the experience is also very important.

‘You need to know how to treat people. I have a different approach for every nationality. For example, people here usually do not like Italians very much, especially those from the south, saying they are too loud. I welcome them, give them a bottle of wine, we chat, and I have never had any problems with them. The worst thing is to forbid something. The guest is always right, that’s tourism. ”

In so many years of work, he collected all kinds of stories. Some guests came for 15 years in a row, and some even met in his apartments and later married!

“They were two Napolitan girls, it was August, the weather was hot, and they were fearful because they couldn’t find a place … And I told them that I had a spare room, so they can come and see it. At the same time, there were two of my regular guests from Naples, who would usually stay for 40 days. And so, little by little, both Napolitans, they met, fell in love and eventually married. Now, when they are travelling, they stop by in Dubrovnik and always come back here, because here they have beautiful memories…’

How to respond to negative guest reviews?

Did you know that today 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations?

Reviews of the guests who were staying at your accommodation play a big role in attracting new guests. It is the best to respond to all reviews you receive, whether they are good or bad.
When guests were looking forward to vacation and it does not turn out as they imagined, it is likely that they will write a bad review.

For private accommodation renter, a negative review can be a huge discouragement. You should always keep in mind that you are not only responding to a comment to that one guest, but to all potential future guests who are likely to read that response.
If the guest wrote something that is not true, then of course you will politely deny it and let everyone know what really happened.

Rule number 1. Always thank guests for leaving a review
By regularly and honestly responding to all reviews, you are showing that you care about your guests and that you care about their opinions. Through guest reviews you can get an insight into what potentially needs to be changed to improve the quality of your property and services.

Since guest comments are not always positive, this is an additional reason to respond and explain the situation from your perspective. Do not forget that in this way you create a positive reputation with potential guests. Start each response by thanking the guest for staying in your accommodation and leaving a review.

Rule number 2. Never start an argument
Whether the guest’s comment is true or not, your answer must always be professional, as objective and friendly as possible, as it suits the host. Do not engage in quarrels with guests, just briefly and simply describe your view of the event.

Rule number 3. Remind the guest of the offered solutions
When responding to negative comments, do not forget to mention that you did your best to solve the situation. Describe all communication, the compensation offered, quick fixes, replacement of broken devices – briefly all the solutions you offered them while they were staying with you.

Rule number 4. Communication is the key
The worst-case scenario for a property owner is that the guest does not inform him about the problem while he is staying in the accommodation, and owner finds it out from the review. In that way host doesn’t even get a chance to resolve the situation. It is best to point out on check in that they can contact you always for help in case of any problems.

With a helpful and prompt response to a negative review, you have the opportunity to show what kind of a host you actually are. From your engagement, potential guests will see that you take guests comments seriously and that you wish to offer excellent service.
Since people usually are most interested in negative reviews, there is a big chance that they will read your answer too. Use this possibility and turn the situation around to your advantage.

Advice:
Guests usually leave comments on booking pages like Booking.com and Airbnb. They also use Google Maps to leave reviews. Regularly check reviews for your accommodation on all platforms and respond to them.

One working day with Direct Booker Account Manager, Frano Rozić

In the vacation rental agency the most important person for renters is their Account manager.

Accounts main job is to get the most out of the facility as far as sales is concerned. It depends on Account manager at what price and under which conditions the properties will be sold. Thats why, it is no wonder that each of Accounts has a lot of work to handle, not only during the summer season, but throughout the whole year.

In order to show you everything that involves the job of Account manager or sales manager at Direct Booker, we decided to spend one day at the office with our Frano.

8 AM- 10 AM

After his first morning coffee, he browse through the e-mails. Dentifies priority tasks and moves towards solving them. As he handles tasks, he also makes phone calls with property owners and exchanges impressions with them about the past season.

At this time of the season, his schedule is slightly different than in the striking summer days, Frano explains:

I am currently working on updating information about properties, such as location and distance information, which household appliances exist in the facility, check-in and check-out times. The hardest and most responsible part of the job is setting and entering prices. It is based on the experience of previous sales periods and agreement with the owners. When I finish editing each property, I send the document to the owners for verification.

10 AM-12 PM

The owner of an apartment located in the Dubrovnik area joined us at the office. Frano points out to him the benefits of working with the agency, emphasizing active sales and technology solutions, resulting in more bookings at better prices and conditions.

We were curious how he became interested in working with our agency.

I heard about the Direct Booker agency through a longtime acquaintance. He has been renting his apartment for several years and since he had only words of praise for you, I decided to let you run my apartment too.

Comments like this are the biggest proof that we are doing great job and those comments also motivates us to be even better than we are. – says Frano.

12 PM- 4 PM

After a short break, Frano continues with meetings with apartment renters.

Meetings with property owners are common in the Account manager business day. Frano regulary contacts owners and plans individual meetings in advance. In that way he takes care of each partner 100%.

Considering that he is managing quite large number of proprties in combination with lots of tourists arrivals, he tells us, that in the summer months the atmosphere in the office is more dynamic:

Depending on the current sales trend, we sometimes change the criteria and parameters of sales in the last minute and generate more bookings in that way.

As Account manager, Frano is notified of all bookings made for the accommodation units he maintains. If the booking is canceled or the guests do not show up, Frano keeps a record to ensure payment.

In June, July and August, sales of each individual property is analyzed on a daily basis. The analysis is done by comparing the rest of the offer in the same accommodation and price category. In an expanding market with a large number of accommodation units, it is important to rank well on the sales pages.

Based on years of experience, Frano contacts and advises the owners at the right time to incorporate special offers.

4 PM- 10 PM

The Account manager’s official working time is unitl 4 PM on woorking days. However Frano says this type of work never ends.

After 4 PM, calls are diverted to an on-call person at the company, but of course there are often emergencies that need to be addressed. In any case, the owners can be sure that we will always do our best to solve their problem, because we are there for them.

Daniela Tomaš, GH Daniela: Remember that not all guests are the same, and that different rules apply for every guest

If you have never rented before, but you potentially have renting space, or if you already are in the renting business and think that you could do better, we invite you to become a part of Direct Booker. We bring you an interview with a renter from our community, Mrs. Daniela Tomaš the owner of Guest House Daniela in Mlini.

The day of arrival is a very stressful one for everyone coming to your apartment. Every guest has expectations and fears that those might not be met. To ease the stress of arrival every owner should welcome their guests as a true host, with a smile on their face, a positive attitude and a helping hand.

Guests arriving at the family accommodation want to know the life and habits of the local population and therefore it is important to show them the local day to day life! Remember that not all guests are the same, and that different rules apply for every guest. One should try to recognize the needs and wants of their guests. Due to the family atmosphere found in our apartment, most of our guests describe their stay as very warm and pleasant.

We recommend that when your guests arrive you introduce them with the apartment and the people they might meet. It is also important to explain the house rules and provide a city map along with any brochures and leaflets you might find interesting for them.

Remember that it’s the little things that count the most. A kind word, a gesture, a welcome drink or restaurant recommendation is what makes all the difference. The details are the difference between a five star rating and a negative review.

I’ve been a renter for 19 years and the most important thing I can pass to others is “remember that your guests are just like you and I, normal everyday people”. An example that I always talk about is the birthday. Details like congratulating birthdays and possibly celebrating them with homemade goodies is one way to make your guest’s stay unforgettable. I try to communicate a lot, or as much as the guest wants me to and to give them my time and knowledge. This has been recognized by our guests, some of which became regular guests for years.

For everyone who has worked or will work in the service industry, the golden rule is: “the guest is always right”. Aiming for a quality service, Direct Booker guides and provides advice to every renter. The goal is to give guidance based on experience and to increase guest satisfaction.

I joined Direct Booker in 2011. Direct Booker is a young motivated group of people willing to take on a challenge, learn, work and succeed. For me and my renting business they provide a much needed level of support and knowledge. With Direct Booker I am confident in the success of my business.

As a long standing business owner, Mrs. Tomaš gives advice for everyone willing to take it:

I believe that the most important thing in the renting business is not to take any criticism personally, rather to distance your emotions and improve on the given feedback (good or bad). Another thing I noticed is that most guests appreciate a good an honest recommendation, therefor it is important to learn about the nearby attractions, restaurants and other activities. A good recommendation or a good advice goes a long way.