Industry Perspectives

Top tips for enhancing guest satisfaction during COVID-19

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Thibault Masson, Strategic Program Manager at Booking.com, shares his thoughts on how property managers can best welcome guests during times of social distancing

In general, short-term rentals are well-positioned for social distancing. They’re self-contained, come equipped with a kitchen, and usually offer more space than other property types. But how can property managers navigate local coronavirus measures and social distancing advice while ensuring guests have memorable stays? 

Communicate your best practices 

Good communication—from pre-booking and beyond—has always been key. But with lockdown rules differing across destinations, travelers may appreciate more guidance than usual. In your welcome guide or email, inform guests of any current measures specific to your location, such as curfews or closures of facilities that are normally open. You shouldn’t assume that all guests know the local rules, especially since government advice is changing so rapidly across regions. 

Additionally, guests now value hygiene-related info more than ever. Go through your facilities and amenities list on the Extranet to ensure you’ve checked all the applicable boxes. If you offer self check-in, disinfectant, or masks on-site, mention them in your listing.

Be consistent with cleanliness

You can ease travelers’ concerns around cleanliness by highlighting the precautions you’re taking to ensure their safety. Following a checklist created by an industry authority is one way to stay consistent with new cleaning standards. In fact, Booking.com recently partnered with world-class quality assurance platform, Properly, to support alternative accommodation partners with detailed resources and guidance as they commit and work to improve and maintain their cleanliness score. With more than 20 cleaning checklists to follow, it’s an easy, straightforward way for property managers to improve the guest experience.

Set expectations 

Some guests will want less contact with staff during this time, so it’s important to align with those expectations from the start to deliver a great experience during their stay. For example, at my property we normally clean every day (an expectation of a nice property in Bali), but does that match current guest expectations? To ensure it does, we inform guests of the service and give them the option to opt out. 

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Guests entering a property

 

Or, perhaps your guest wants daily services but also wants the staff to wear masks. It can be hard to know what each guest wants, but setting expectations before their stays ensures you can meet them upon arrival. 

Stock up on essentials

There are always essentials—coffee, toilet paper—that you should try to provide. Though an extra cost, stocking up on these basic necessities can make all the difference for the guest, and in turn your reviews. 

If a guest is staying longer, they obviously won’t expect you to stock the fridge for two weeks. But as a short-term rental owner, this may be something you’re interested in offering as an upsell. Some property management companies already have an operational team that can deliver such services. 

Providing options for takeaway meals may also be appreciated if guests prefer to stay at the property or dine-in options are restricted. You can do this by outlining the food delivery apps that work best in your area or supporting local restaurants by sharing their info.

Offer long-stay rates

Each destination has its own advice for how long travelers should self-quarantine upon arrival. Offering long-stay rates—either weekly or monthly—can help you attract these guests. 

Beyond travelers looking to keep their distance, long-stay rates can attract several markets, including remote workers, families, and expats. You can set these up on the Extranet under the “Rates and Availability” tab.

 

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Takeaway
  • Nowadays, guests value hygiene-related info more than ever. Make sure you’ve checked all the applicable boxes in your list of facilities and amenities
  • Would your guests prefer less contact with staff during this time? Aligning on such expectations prior to arrival is key to delivering great experiences
  • Booking.com recently partnered with Properly to support alternative accommodation partners with detailed cleanliness resources and guidance
  • Providing suggestions for nearby restaurants that have take-out menus or outlining the food delivery apps that work best in your area can be a nice touch