Best Practice Guidance
Managing Holiday Accommodation Business
Gone are the days when guests found it difficult to complain in person about the service and quality of holiday accommodation. Nowadays, the world can see in minutes how good or bad a holiday accommodation owner is performing by the reviews that appear on multiple websites.
Today's travelling guests have much higher expectations on quality, value, style, and locations. So, to ensure Veraccom members offer excellent value accommodation, we have compiled a list of Best Practice Guidance that you should consider, adopt and practice throughout your property accommodation service where improvement is required.
There is an accommodation service checklist in the "Members Resource Centre" for downloading. Take the time to download and use it as a guide. Even the most experienced accommodation provider's need a gentle refresh of what checks should be carried out.
Website Listings and Advertising
- The number one rule, when advertising your property, only use accurate information. Potential guests only want accurate location information, up to date details on the properties contents and features. Ensure the images are recent, within 12 months old.
- If you advertise your accommodation on multiple websites, ensure that all the information is consistent across all sites. Inaccurate listings lead to mistrust and a lack of confidence in the website visitor to make contact.
- Considering items one and two above, ensure your Veraccom.com property page is 100% accurate and consistent with all the websites you advertise your property on. It is critical that this practice be followed to ensure your listing page visitors feel confident in your ability to provide the overall service they expect.
- Only use reputable web-based platforms to advertise your property and where possible, ones that don't charge booking fees.
- Always ensure that the pricing information and booking diary are always fully up to date.
Property Condition and Servicing
- You will ensure that your property furnishings, fixtures and fittings are of a very good standard and well maintained at all times. (Beds, linens, towels and kitchenware should be given high priority and ensure very high levels of hygiene at all times)
- Make every effort and ensure your holiday rental property is cleaned to a very high standard throughout, repairing and replacing items as required for new arriving guests.
- Ensure that you have emergency provision in place to service any part of your property or service offering that falls into disrepair whilst you have staying guests. This could be a builder, plumber, management company etc.
- Ensure you carry out risk assessments on your rental property regularly (minimum twice a year)
- Ensure your holiday rental property has an adequate insurance policy in place that covers not only the property buildings and contents, but also insures you if something happens to your guests as a result of a property failure whilst staying in your holiday home.
- All rented properties should be fitted with devices to guard against, Fire, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning such as fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors if you have gas appliances in your holiday rental.
- A list of emergency contact numbers, directions to doctors, dentist and hospitals should be kept in a prominent position in your holiday renal.
The Booking Process
- Acting in the interests of your guests or potential guests at all times – You will ensure you demonstrate good administrative management at all times throughout your communications and administration of the entire booking process. (A helpful flowchart is available in the member's resource centre to act as a good practice guide)
- It is best to have a separate email address for the flow of enquiry and booking information. Using this practice allows you to ensure a structured way of keeping on top of all you accommodation correspondence. This will ensure it does not get mixed up with your personal email messages.
- Make a point of checking your email or telephone activity on a daily basis and respond to any new enquiries or bookings within 24 hours. With so much choice in the marketplace, potential guests will move on and choose someone else. If you are not able to respond because of other commitments, be sure to use your out of office message responder to offer a message of when you will make contact or an alternative method for the enquirer to contact you, such as a mobile number.
- You must operate a strict diary management system ensuring the information conveyed or on show to potential guests is accurate, to guard against the possibility of double booking. There is no excuse these days for double booking with so many different devices, web programmes and apps available.
- Always advise guests at the earliest possible time before they book or travel if there are any building works taking place on or near your property that may cause inconvenience.
- Always ascertain if there are any health requirements that you need to be aware of from your guests.
- Use appropriate booking documentation at all times – Holiday Rental Agreement; Cancellation Policy; Refund Policy; Terms and Conditions; Payment Procedures (Veraccom supply all these document templates and are available in the member's resource centre)
- You must adopt the applicable data protection laws in your country on the use, storage, and disposal of such guest data.
- Make sure your booking income is kept separate to your personal money. This income does not effectively belong to you until the booking check-in date, i.e. once the guest has arrived. Allow your guests to make payment by credit or debit card online. There are many applications that can now be used by accommodation owners to take payment in a safe and secure environment without the need to ask for direct bank payments. This should be avoided at all times.
- Ensure your guests have a full timeline of what is expected of you and what you expect of them. E.g. when a deposit and full payment is due; when you will send keys or who will open up the accommodation or what time check-in is at etc. Plan when you will send the final information to the guests.
- Ensure you have a well-communicated procedure in place for the collection of or handing out keys to your rented holiday home. (Veraccom supply this document template and is available in the member's resource centre)
- Issue your guests with a property instruction guide to advise on all aspects of your property prior to arrival. Don’t assume they will know how to operate appliances etc.(Veraccom supply this document template and is available in the member's resource centre)
- Always conclude the booking by contacting the guest after their departure date as a mark of good customer service. This will allow you the opportunity to rectify any negatives and to mitigate the risks of any negative reviews should there be any. This process will ensure the guest finishes with a good positive experience.
- From “10” above. Where the guest experience was of a positive nature, consider the possibilities offering a discount if they return in the future. Or rewarding your guests where they have positively referred your accommodation to their friends and they book as a consequence.
- You should always offer compensation where you are found to have failed you’re paying guests on grounds of negligence within the accommodation offered by you. (This could be a monetary refund or discount on a future stay)
- Where required, at all times, ensure swift repayment of client refunds for damage deposits etc. (A large majority of guests still find this area of the booking quite stressful, as they think property owners will find any excuse to hold on to their money.
- Provide guests with details on how to get to the accommodation including all modes of transport. Closest airports, train, and bus stations. Transfers from transport hubs to your accommodation including car hire, private taxi and so on.
- A great tip is to let the guests know if there are any events on in the area during their stay or any attractions that may be of interest to help build the excitement of their holiday. If you have any agreements with local restaurants, bars, clubs associations, shops, attractions etc, let guests know in advance in sending a quick email. This is great customer service