One listing site, which I will not name here, insist on encouraging guests who book to then call vacation rental owners. I don't want people calling me at work to discuss lovely places to eat or take a hike.
For heaven's sakes, what's the point of instant book if they want to have a detailed discussion anyway?
What is your strategy for handling people who when a nice 30-minute chat when you're trying to do something else?
Must not be a site I'm on, 'cause I almost never get calls from guests, and when I do it's usually a question during their stay.
I'd probably try to get ahead of it when a booking first gets confirmed, by saying if they would like to call and discuss the area, please message me to schedule a time to talk.
I almost never get a call. I sometimes get an email through the platform asking for information like how far is the boat ramp, where can I rent a boat etc.
I can see their number at the inquiry stage as a premier partner.
My rentals are face to face visit of the property, then money changes hands. They find me through real life sources and online sources.
To me, it's sort of like selling a used car. But the car is just as good as a new one but potential buyers don't know it until they see it.
It's a great feeling to meet 6-12 guys staying in a motel to see your houses. You open up the front door, the first guy walks in and takes 3 steps. He sees my décor in the living room and says "Fook yeah we'll take this house". I say "you haven't seen the bedrooms, kitchen, laundry room, back deck etc." He says "We don't need to" then they hand me $800 cash for 4 guys. They leave after a month, and show back up 6 months later. They take another house site unseen and love it when they get there.
I put them on mute and just let them talk until the realize I'm not responding and hang up...
I NEVER answer calls from guests. I’m not suggesting other hosts should do the same. I just know it’s NOT good for me personally to actually talk to a human because I’m not exactly customer service friendly.
My thought is.... you don’t deserve to call me. Hell even my mom has about a 50/50 chance I’ll answer.
I never answer numbers I don’t have saved. My voicemail box is always full. My voicemail says “text me” if a guest texts me I reply to them on the messenger. In the early days I accommodated text. If they start texting I find they won’t stop. I got so many texts from one woman on her honeymoon there’s no way her husband wasn’t p.o. I thought about sending her a bill for all of the therapy.
I pay a concierge at a 5-star hotel to answer the calls. He is super good with customers and is able to alleviate any heightened emotions and can recommend many places to see/do. I pay him by the guest. 90% never call but the ones that do, I'm glad he's dealing with it and not me.
I rarely get a call but when I do, it always ends well and it’s often to alleviate guest concerns or to ask simple questions. They have all the details so I remind them whatever they want to know is in the message, after answering them simply. We run businesses but I find the human touch, in voice or in programmed messages, just makes things run better. Plus they know they are dealing with me, a person, the homeowner.
Yesterday I got a request/inquiry and the man’s phone number actually came through in his message.I personally called him instead of replying to run him through my intuition and booked him right after that. It gives me more of a connection and we don’t have issues.
But as I said, I rarely get phone calls and have clear, frequent automated detailed messages.
Okay, the two people who instant booked, also called me by phone. The guy said they encouraged them to call! So they decided to have a chat! For Heaven's Sake, I'm at work and I can't or I don't want to confirm what they read or give recommendations for 20 minutes. Don't these people have jobs?
Isn't the purpose of instant booking so I don't have to talk to everyone ad nauseum? The second guy called me six times and I messaged centered him over and over and over that I only use the communication channel of that site.
Anyway, I'm planning to get a Google voice type phone number that answers as follows. I would appreciate any tweaks you might have that could improve it.
"Thanks for calling XYZ Vacation Rentals. For booking questions, contact customer service of the website you booked through. For property questions, we use only their message center; your confirmation email or logged in account with them should allow you to send us a message. Note that the phone number you just called cannot accept voicemail."
Seems reasonable @Ken Latchers . I don't allow autobook so I end up chatting with folks which I enjoy. I find it a great way to vet them and make sure they are a good fit for our place.
I am not in the same boat as you or others as I am now disabled and have the time. Plus I am alone a lot so chatting with guests is kinda nice... :)
@Ken Latchers - Sometimes it can be really advantageous to speak prospective guests. Most of my guests are inquiring about a 30+ day stay in the Bay Area and paying $5000 or $10000. Even with Autobook on, they want to speak to a human to get their questions answered and get reassurance that the place and the host are legit. This works in my favor, since I also want to know who is staying at my places. Sometimes they want to stay longer than their online request, and I can negotiate a longer lease on the spot. I enjoy talking with people, which I think is a big advantage: providing furnished rentals is fundamentally a hospitality business.
I fully agree with
@Nancy Bachety and I like the concierge solution suggested by
@Anand S. —outsource what you don’t like.