In today’s highly competitive vacation rental market, lodging companies cannot afford to lose guests. However, unhappy customers who leave and never return are a normal part of every business. Since service failures in the hospitality industry are inevitable, meaning that you’re going to disappoint and lose guests at some point, finding out what you can do to win them back is extremely important. After all, winning back lost guests will help you increase your retention rates, with a positive impact on your revenue and profit. Fortunately, service recovery can help you with that.

In short, service recovery refers to a series of strategies that a vacation rental manager can employ in order to resolve problems with unhappy guests and turn negative experiences into positive ones. Since you’re probably aware of the possible impact that bad reviews and complaints can have on the reputation of a vacation rental management company, we’ve gathered below a few service recovery strategies you could implement in order to win back disappointed guests.

Identify the Problem

First and foremost, you can’t win back disappointed guests without knowing what made them unhappy. Asking guests about their overall experience is the most direct way to find out if something went wrong during their stay. Besides asking guests directly, you can use different communication channels, such as emails, automated text messages, and chat features, to encourage them to share their feedback, experiences, and concerns. Once you identify the reason behind their dissatisfaction, you can take the necessary steps to turn their bad experience into a positive one and also improve their perception of your business.

Let’s say that a guest has just decided to check out of one of your properties because the water heater wasn’t working properly. In that case, not only could you offer the guest a better vacation rental, if available; you could also offer him or her a partial refund or a free night as well as assistance in packing and transporting his or her belongings.

Admit Your Mistakes and Acknowledge Your Guest’s Feelings

Simply put, a guest will never be willing to reconsider his or her decision unless you take the responsibility for the situation, apologize for the inconvenience caused, and find a way to solve the issue to his or her satisfaction. In addition, remember that resolving issues quickly and effectively is one way to prove your competency, credibility, and high standard of service especially when things don’t go as planned. 

Another important aspect when trying to win back an unhappy guest is to be willing to go the extra mile for him or her. While you and your staff should always try to provide the best possible service to all guests, being especially attentive to the needs of an unhappy guest can go a long way toward winning him or her back.

Offer Incentives

Special discounts or personalized offers are a great starting point that could help you win back a disappointed or unhappy guest. But the more creative you are with your rewards program, the more likely you are to win guests back and also stand out from your competitors.

For instance, if a guest who complained about the service that he or she had received while staying at one of your properties decides to give your company a second chance and accepts to move to another vacation rental that you manage or books one of your properties again in the future, you should definitely go above and beyond for that guest in order to win him or her back for good. Besides expressing your gratitude in words, you can show your appreciation by doing something that exceeds his or her expectations and demonstrates that you genuinely value him or her. For instance, you could offer him or her a luxury gift basket, free tickets to an event, a complimentary meal at one of the best restaurants in the city, or anything else that could turn his or her stay into a unique experience that he or she will always remember.

Forge a Strong Relationship with Your Returning Guests

Communicating in a way that feels authentic and genuine is the quintessence of a strong relationship with a returning guest. Luckily, a CRM system, like the one we make available via our software solution, can help you with that. In a nutshell, our CRM system provides you with detailed information that you can use to develop personalized strategies. Thus, when a problem arises, the data collected by the CRM system enables you not only to respond in a way that speaks to each guest but also to anticipate expectations, so your actions will address the problem based on who the guest is and his or her history with your business.

In the hospitality industry, many problems can arise and most of them require a multifaceted approach. But with the right systems and strategies in place, you’ll be able to address any issues, make most of your visitors happy, and turn them into repeat guests, even after a bad experience. To find out how our all-in-one vacation rental management solution can help you attract guests and grow your business, get in touch with us today!