The key to successfully renting out your villa or vacation home is creating a great first impression. You have to make your villa attractive to the eyes and senses of your guests. You do this is a variety of ways, by the quality of your email response to am enquiry, the quality of your property, having an excellent website and talking directly to the guest. Let’s look at each one.
The quality of your Property
You obviously need to have an attractive, clean, modern looking property to start with. On the outside the landscaping needs to be well maintained, neat and tidy. Some people will think if the outside is a mess the inside will be too. Inside, try and upgrade the furnishings so that yours stands head and shoulders above the competition. Move away from the “palm tree” furnishings and cushions that so many homes have. Be adventurous with your décor and move up from the usual magnolia/white. You would be surprised what a difference these things make. Some homes now have games rooms, most of them are in the garage. If you do one make sure you get the floor covered and try to make it more like a room rather than a garage with a pool table. If you can get some way of cooling the room down as in the summer it will be pretty warm in there. You cannot change the garage structurally without the proper permission from the relevant department and some HOA require you get their permission. It is worth checking first. Other homes have home cinemas/theaters with large screen TV’ blu-ray players and home cinema sound systems. The thing is many of the folks that are attracted to that, probably will hardly watch it but the thought is appealing.
Your Email Response.
This may be the first contact you have with the guest, especially when you have received an enquiry from a rental website. This is your chance to out shine the opposition. Keep your reply brief but to the point, don’t write pages and pages as they will get bored but at the same time avoid the one liners just giving the rate. This is where you have chance to list all your villa’s special features and unique selling points. Make sure you use your spell checker before you send it as it doesn’t give a good first impression if the email is littered with spelling mistakes. Make sure you have a link to your “glowing” website in the email and encourage the guest to visit it for more information, photos and location map. If you get them to the website you are well on the way to converting to a booking.
Talking Directly To The Guest
If they included a phone number on their enquiry, then they expect to get some phone calls regarding their enquiry. Don’t feel that you are imposing on them. You can tell them that you have already emailed them with your details and thought you would contact them to see if there is any other information they might need. Ask if they have been before and offer any advice that they might need. This will hopefully register interest with them and your email reply will stand out more now. If there is no phone number when you respond, offer to give them a call or give them your phone number for them to call you if they wish.
Having An Excellent Website
I know this may sound like I am promoting what I do but, nevertheless it is still very important. Your website is probably the first time they set eyes on your little piece of Florida and you want them to see exactly what it is like in all it’s glory. It needs to be a clear and easy website to navigate, with details of all the features on the front page, so that it encourages them to want to look further. Avoid too much of the “chintzy”, gimmicky stuff, flashing objects and animated images can be a bit off putting and not very professional. Photo’s, make sure these are of good quality and look bright with vibrant colours. There is nothing worse than spending a whole load of money on the villa and furnishings, only to use a crappy camera that produces dark, dinghy photos with masses of gain effect on them due to lack of light. All the work and cash you have spent on the property is wasted because the images of it make it look nothing special. Here are a couple of tips if you are taking your own photos but if you can get a professional to do it, first tip is get a half decent camera. You don’t have to spend a fortune on one just ensure it takes good quality photos. Dress your rooms, set the dining table, have a bottle of wine on the table. Turn on all the lights in the rooms, try not to take a photo towards a window that has the sun streaming through, close the blinds if you have to. Take lots and lots of pictures form all aspects then use the best for the site. If the pool deck gets the sun for so many hours a day make sure you take a photo when the sun is on the deck. The same with the outside front of the property, it always looks better with the sun on it and preferably a blue sky in the background. None of this is done for any other reason than to appeal to the viewers emotion, to make them want to be and imagine themselves, there. If you can, get a video or virtual tour done, this adds a little more the website and gives a more complete view. Add a map to show the location but for security purposes, there is no need to show the exact location, just the community would suffice.
The way to look at it is ask yourself what would you like to see in a website or from a rental villa? Lastly beware if you try and do a website yourself, you could be missing many of the things needed to help promote your website in the search engines and it can take quite a bit of learning how to do it correctly. I have seen some pretty nasty websites out there and no matter how nice the property may be, it gives the impression that the website is unprofessional, so the home probably is too and they move on to the next one.
Good Luck and Good Fortune.