When we build an Internet business, we naturally wish to become a large-scale, global company. But, do you feel more comfortable in an overcrowded mall as one of hundreds of faceless customers– or as a valued guest in a cozy shop? Do you like your specific needs to be as important to a salesperson as his own?
The less business you have, the better are your chances of success. Sound unrealistic? Well, here are the facts:
The smaller your region, the better your customer service.
You probably remember surfing the net, looking at hundreds of vacation rental sites. Was destination important to you or, did it make no difference? Personally, I can’t imagine that someone would search for just some kind of property somewhere in the world.
I see a difference between Sydney and Rome and prefer sites dedicated to specific destinations. Why? That’s easy. It’s because I like the individual attention I get. If I have questions all of my questions (even about the color of the walls in the bathroom) will be answered with care and in detail. Plus, I can get information about which banks have the best exchange rates, where the best eats are and, well, about anything and everything a traveler wants to know about really.
The network does not replace live interaction.
Even the most informative web pages can not replace live interaction, when you get specific replies to your specific questions. You should read the web page to find the info you need. We all value our time and prefer to talk to a live person and get an immediate reply. Multi-user portals are simply unable to achieve that close interaction between a web site owner and web site visitors, whereas small web sites can.
As a web-site owner, you will gain negotiating skills. These will show you are trustworthy, and help you to succeed in the rental business.
Tenant details are invaluable.
If you have been in the business of leasing or renting real property for several years, you’ll have quite a database of tenant and owner contacts. Storing every detail about them can help you regain them as clients. Before the high season begins, send them a newsletter about a new option, discount or benefit for your website visitors and include a brief reference to their family. For instance, tell them how cute those twins, John and Jack, were, who ‘decorated’ your wallpaper with their creative paintings last year, or, ask about their little dog Sparky, who misused your flowerbeds and lawn.
Your tenants will appreciate your attentions and will make early reservations. You could hardly expect that at large vacation rental portals.
If you charge property owners for listing their properties on your small vacation rental website, it’s easier for you to collect payments from them. Local transactions are easier, faster and more secure than payments from all over the World at international vacation rental web portals.
Document your financial relationships.
Operators of large vacation rental websites have owners from different countries with different local laws, so it is hard to control all the agreements and negotiations between property owners and tenants, but a small vacation rental website dedicated to one specific country or region shows more professionalism and generates more trust if it offers rental agreements prepared on behalf of property owners and guests.
If you operate a website dedicated to one region, you can compose legal documents valid for your region and appropriate for your owners and guests. Such rental agreements should describe the most likely disputes that can arise between owner and guest: furniture and fixture damage, insurance, guest and owner responsibilities, abandonment, payment schedule, etc. People feel more comfortable when their financial arrangements are backed up by legal documentation.
The smaller your region, the more income opportunities you have.
Would you like having more happy clients, who naturally turn to positive testimonials and word-of-mouth advertising? The owners of small rental websites can cooperate with local service providers and get good commission from this cooperation. For instance, they can agree on discounts with souvenir shops and hand out discount coupons to their guests. Discount coupons issued specially for a specific villa or house work best. The same can be done with restaurants, car hire and yacht rental services, etc. This will no doubt contribute to generating interest and building trust on your vacation rental website.
VIP attitude is more important than VIP house.
Even if the house for rent is not the essence of luxury, you may win your client’s favor with your professional demeanor and attentive attitude. I have seen dozens of examples in which good attitude has compensated for the shortcomings of a property. Remember: you lease impressions, not properties.
Last but not least, the guiding principle for the owner of a vacation rental website is to really want to make people happy. Your main and sincere wish should be to make a guest’s stay as good as possible. Making a profit depends on this. You need to listen hard to what your guests are saying. Remember that when a guest rents house for his vacation, he wants a break from work and day-to-day worries. He does not want his vacation to be clouded by trivial inconveniences. Love your owners! Love your guests! Love properties!