As those who read train-the-trainer articles or attend my workshops know well, I am a huge advocate for using a “tech for touch” approach to stand out from the competition. As my frequent readers know, I’ve long advocated for us the use of personalized video email for welcoming guests who check-in remotely, for homeowner acquisition and retention and especially for following-up on reservation inquiries that come in via voice or direct email, which is the focus of this article.
While this approach is relevant for all vacation rental companies, it is especially important for those who rent larger homes that accommodate larger parties, therefore requiring more “touchpoints” in the journey from “inquiry” to “deposit.”
Smart VR managers already have their vacation planners following-up on inquiries by phone and email, and some also use automated email “drip” campaigns. Yet, a more personalized approach will surely lead to more sales and to stronger relationships that encourage guests to book directly next time.
Video email is the perfect medium for using “tech” in order to “touch” the guests, especially during the sales cycle. Here are the steps:
First, you will need an inexpensive, monthly subscription to one of several platforms that drop the video message directly into the body of the email, rather than just inserting a link. This is vitally important to maximize click-through rates, as the recipient will quickly see that the message is personalized and NOT a generic, automated message. Email me directly for a list of providers.
These platforms can be used in many ways, such as sending full-screen video messages, but from here we shall look at what I call personalized, narrated virtual tours as one of their standard sequence of follow-up action steps. I think this “touchpoint” is ideally placed in the cadence as the initial or secondary follow-up.
Your vacation planner will prepare the message by either identifying about four or five images from the home’s photo gallery, then downloading those into a folder OR opening a window for each image. The imagines should be those that are the most relevant to the prospect’s “vacation story.” (Of course, well-trained vacation planners already know about asking investigative QUESTions to un-mask the caller’s story.)
Next, they will log into the video email app, activate their webcam, start a message, then click the “screen recorder” option. From there, they will greet the prospect by name and walk them through the images they have selected as being the most relevant, using a “storytelling” approach to narrate the pictures of the recommended home or homes.
Realizing that this concept might be hard to imagine for those who have not yet seen it, here’s a link to a sample I did to explain and then demonstrate the concept.
By training your team to use video email for personalized, virtual tours, you’ll be providing the person who is responsible for planning the vacation and selecting the home with a helpful resource that makes their role easier. Besides increasing conversation, I can’t imagine a better way to provide a positive first impression!