“Spend a lot of time talking to customers. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.”- Ross Perot
“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” - Jerry Gregoire, CIO, Dell Computers
I truly believe that the customer experience will be the defining moment in your vacation rental and management business. How each customer interacts with your company, every individual touch point and even down to each word written. Knowing who you will serve will set the stage for your success. But before you can create an exceptional customer experience you need to define and understand what type of customer you will market to. What is your Vacation Rental Customer Profile? Most people skip this step or neglect truly writing this process down. Even if you know your customer in your head it needs to be written down on paper. So how can you create your ideal vacation rental customer profile? This is what I want to go over in detail for you. It’s truly a foundational step that will help tailor the rest of your business around your customer. But more than that it will help you better visualize and understand who your client really is. I will break it down in 7 easy to follow steps so you can create a profile, find out who your customer is, what they like, and how to interact with them constantly to continually improve your business. So grab a pen, some paper or open a fresh word document and let’s get started.
1. Describe Your Vacation Rental Customer
It’s important to understand who your ideal customer is and what similarities they have. Define your vacation rental customers with the following criteria.
Lay out your Vacation Rental Customer Demographics :
- What are your clients average age?
- Their Gender?
- What is your customers average income level? (Estimate)
- Can you determine any buying habits?
- What do they do? What is their occupation?
- Marital status?
- What is their location? Where do they live or travel from to get to you?
- Do you know what they like to do? What are their hobbies?
Let’s use my local market of Aspen, CO as an example. My clients are usually between the ages of 45-55 years old, Family of 3-6, Income level of $150k+, tend to have quick buying habits, Stay roughly 4-7 days on average, Most are business owners or higher level executives in a variety of industries, Most are married with families, Majority tend to come from Denver, Texas, Utah, New York, Florida and California. Majority love skiing, hiking and biking and are usually an active Clientele.
Does that not help you visualize the customer? Based off that information it creates a much easier road map to cater marketing, amenities, and services towards my exact customers. As a general starting point, it’s very important to have access to this information. I know my clients very well and I’m able to cater my marketing towards them. I know what they like, don’t like and where they hang out. If you sell coffee you wouldn’t want to market your coffee where people drink soda would you? If you know your clients hate the color blue would you use blue in all your marketing outlets? If your customers are corporate travelers that stay for months at a time you wouldn’t send them rental options of large homes that rent by the week would you?
Psychographics: If you really want to dive in you can do this section. No one person is the same but as a whole “client base” you can generalize and get close.
- What is your clients personality type?
- Read this article to gain direction in finding out your clients personality type
- What’s their likes and dislikes?
- Do they like sports? Do they like to lounge?
- Any particular hobbies or activities?
- How much they usually spend on a reservation?
If your customer love skiing you should probably tailor your marketing and packages for that. If there are certain hobbies they like you should be offering perks within their interests. If your property is on a Golf course and your clientele love Golf. Catering your marketing for that as well offering amenities that benefit Golfing directly would be key. This can include local area discounts to Golf Courses, restaurants, Golf events, etc.
2. Where are Your Customers? Let’s Locate them
Find the places your customers are attracted to, whether a physical location or cyberspace. Where do they gather?
- Where do they hang out?
- What do they read? Both online and offline?
- What do they search for online?
This step is usually thought to be much harder than it is. Every client you talk to on the phone or lead that calls in that you interact with should be asked the following: How did you hear about us? Where abouts do you live? Where do you usually search online for properties? Feel the conversation out and use it as an opportunity to get as much info as you can. Keep track of this info to help you better understand your customer.
3. Understand Their Purchasing Process and Patterns
Review the needs and benefits that make your customers rent. Are their needs being met? What holes in your local market place aren’t being filled? Also what is working well for others in your local marketplace?
- Where do they begin their research? And why there?
- What is their problem or need they need solved?
- What are the benefits to finding a solution?
4. Connect with your Current Customers. Start the conversation today
Reach out to your current customers to gain additional insight into what made them select your business over others. Conduct interviews, formally or informally, and ask them:
- Why did you originally rent our property or from our company?
- Why do you continue to rent our property or from our company?
- What do we do that others don’t?
- What do you like most about our property?
- What do you like most about working with us?
5. Survey Your Customers and always be learning what they like / Dislike
Here are a few ways you can interact and survey your customers easily:
- Simply call them directly and take notes
- Email them using Surveymonkey.com
- Use Google Forms
- Create Questionnaires
- If you have a Sales Team have them takes notes and continually ask these questions
- Listen and Listen some more
6. Time to Create your Vacation Rental Customer Profile
Now it’s time to take and put all the above information into one place. Ensure that your profiles are tangible, so that you can envision your client and what would motivate them to fuse your business. I would recommend having your customer profile created on a normal 8.5 X 11” piece of paper. Typing it out is recommended. (I will be posting a sample of my customer profile soon for an example)
- Describe your clients in writing
- Include images of ideal clients, either real or a hypothetical individual
- A good way to get started is to create a web chart. In the middle having a circle called “My Ideal Customer” with sub categories that go indepth on who your ideal customer is.
Once you have completed the above steps you will have a clear picture of the type of customers your business should be targeting. Creating a strategy with these ideal customers in mind will help you avoid wasting time and resources on unsuccessful marketing efforts. Through focused and more consistent marketing communications, you’ll be able to better reach the new customers in order to take your business to the next level.
7. Share your Customer Profile with your “Team”
Here I would like you to share your customer profile with whoever will be involved with your vacation rental business. By doing this your “Team” will better understand who you will be serving. This may include:
- With your sales team,
- Cleaning team
- Maintenance team
- Marketing team, etc.
Biggest takeaway- Listen to what your customers want and cater your business around that. Encourage feedback to better yourself and business.
Did you enjoy this post? Dislike it? Let me hear your thoughts below in the comment section