In order to run a successful vacation property management business and increase growth, mangers must provide top customer service at all times. Even though it’s not always easy to do, the practice of high-quality service keeps customers coming back and generates more business referrals.
As vacation rental experts, we know not every guest is the same. What works for one may not for another. This is especially true when working with different age groups and generations. Read below for insights on three of the top travel demographics and what they expect in terms of customer service.
Customer Service Tips: What Different Generations Expect
Average spend per day: $522
Subgroups: Retirees, Snowbirds
Even though the majority of this group has a smartphone, they typically aren’t online all the time. They prefer a more one-on-one approach to customer service. Upon check-in, call the guest to ensure the rental meets their expectations and ask about their needs. If they later report a problem, call them immediately instead of texting or emailing.
Pro tip: Quick response with a close personal touch.
Many Baby Boomers still prefer hotels over vacation rentals, so consider this when interacting with them. At a hotel, they can walk down to a lobby and speak with someone. They should receive this same immediate attention and service when working with a vacation property manager.
These travelers also tend to stay in a destination for longer period of time, so make sure the rental is stocked with laundry supplies, toiletries, cookware, fresh linens and blankets, and a guide to the area.
Average spend per day: $627
Subgroups: Mostly families, Multi-generational travel
According to HomeAway, this age group has the highest spending power between these three demographics. Generation X travelers also tend to focus on family-friendly options and quick response times and solutions. These stats show that vacation rentals should cater to families and large groups, and in some cases, pets. Travelers in the Gen X range want spacious and private accommodations and places to read, reflect, and spend time with loves ones.
When it comes to customer-service tactics, this group is connected via devices and social media. Depending on the guest’s age, managers may receive a call, email or text reporting an issue or concern. Due to the various age ranges and interests levels, pay attention to how they have communicated up until check-in. If they have emailed or texted a question, respond in the same manner. If they have called to verify information, call them at check-in to ensure all is well.
Pro tip: Pay attention and respond based on their behavior.
This group also tends to expect immediate responses. Gen X travelers stay active and busy, so when a problem arises, they want an immediate solution. To provide the best service, return calls as soon as possible and have a list of solutions ready for them.
Generation Y (includes Millennials)
Average spend per day: $527
Subgroups: Friend and/or family-focused; Experience junkies
When looking at online booking stats, this group alone accounts for 40% of traffic. This age group stays plugged into their tech around the clock, and 85% of travelers will search multiple sites for the best deal. In addition to saving money, Generation Y and Millennials also flock to the best experiences and new adventures.
Vacation rental managers who work with Gen Y/Millennials should be as connected to technology and social media as their guests. This group actively reads and writes reviews and values those reviews. Therefore, it’s important for managers to meet these travelers where they are online. Gen Y/Millennials typically communicate through texts and social media messengers because it’s easy and fast. Plus, they are already logged into those sites from their smartphone.
Companies that offer extra perks, deals and apps will attract more Gen Y/Millennials. Create a custom message upon check-in, ask questions and welcome them with an all-inclusive app. Prepare for lots of mobile communication versus phone calls or direct visits.
When a customer service issue arises with this age group, prepare to respond in the same way they used to report an issue. Someone should receive message notifications on major social sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many platforms allow businesses to set up an automatic responder, which provides immediate responses. Depending on the issue or request, managers should prepare to respond on social media and resolve the issue.
Pro tip: Meet them where they communicate: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, email, travel review sites. Keep reviews top of mind.
Need more ways to keep guests happy? Check out these welcome book tips.