How to reassure guests and secure future bookings
It’s a tough time for the travel industry. You know better than anyone how COVID-19 is impacting hosts, and many of you also understand the dilemma guests are facing—it’s hard to plan a vacation when you don’t know if you’ll be able to make the trip.
Because things are still so uncertain, guests may be wondering what to do about an upcoming reservation. By offering important reassurances, practical recommendations, and a little empathy, you can help them make an informed decision and minimize the impact to your hosting business. Here are some ideas we’ve heard from hosts during our global listening sessions:
Share your enhanced cleaning regimen
Cleanliness is more important than ever. To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, we’ve put together cleaning guidelines based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you’re following these guidelines, consider sending guests a message before their stay to let them know. You can also mention in your listing description any extra steps you’re taking to clean and disinfect your space.
Let them know how you’re supporting social distancing
Tell guests about anything you’re doing to minimize person-to-person contact during their stay, from offering self check-in to avoiding any routine maintenance. You can also point out any features that make it easier to isolate, like having a private entrance or no neighbors.
Suggest new dates for the reservation
With all the shelter-in-place orders and travel advisories around the world, guests may not be able to make it to your space for the dates they’ve reserved. But that doesn’t mean they’ve changed their mind about the trip entirely. Consider reaching out to suggest new dates—by talking to your guest directly, you may be able to come up with a plan that works for both of you.
Offer to let guests rebook at a discounted rate
The travel industry is resilient, and people will want to explore the world again. When they do, they’ll be looking for places to stay. And you can get ahead of the competition—if an upcoming reservation seems likely to fall through, consider contacting the guest to offer them a discounted rate if they reschedule. Not only will you secure a future booking, but your guests will appreciate the gesture and may be more likely to recommend or rebook your space. As a reminder, unless they are sick, guests will not be refunded if they need to cancel reservations booked after March 14 due to COVID-19.
Remember this is hard for guests, too
For many travelers, canceling a trip is a huge disappointment. And they may be feeling the effects of COVID-19 in other ways, whether that’s a canceled wedding, a lost job, or a sick loved one. Try to keep that in mind every time you get a cancellation request. If you can respond with kindness and empathy, your guests may be more likely to rebook with you once they’re ready to travel again.
We hope you find these suggestions helpful as you reach out to your guests. With the right approach, you can give them the confidence they need to keep their reservations or find a new arrangement that works for both of you. Travel will pick back up again—when it does, you’ll be the host they remember.