Finding it difficult to encourage holidaymakers to book after they’ve sent you an inquiry? The race to get bookings starts the moment you get an inquiry and doesn’t end until you’ve received a deposit and confirmed the dates on your booking calendar. The good news is that if you get off the block first with the right reply, you’ll stand a far better chance of winning the race.

After you reply to the potential guest’s first inquiry, you’ll have to wait for that person to reply, hopefully, confirming their interest in booking the property. But it’s important to remember there are a lot of areas where things can go wrong. Here’s a quick run through of some of them.

#1 Keep your calendar up to date

Out of date availability is one of the main gripes that holidaymakers have when trying to make a booking. This can easily be avoided with a good PMS that broadcasts your property inventory to multiple channels, including your website, and keeps everything in “sync”. When a booking is made at one channel, the calendar is updated across all of your channels. The “sync” allows you to market all of your properties to every connected channel, while preventing double bookings.

They might keep your ad in mind for next year if it’s booked this time, but will steer clear in future if they have a bad experience.

#2 Respond as soon as possible

Sadly, many inquiries never receive a response. Even if you can’t accept a particular stay, responding is crucial if you want to be considered again. Speed is also key if you’re going to be the one to secure the booking before anyone else. You want respond to inquiries as soon as they come. Unfortunately, this task can take a long time and we are not always able to respond immediately.

Good property management software show provides powerful tools that are easy to use and enable you to respond to even the most complex inquiries in seconds. Great software can usually do the job for you and still leave your guests feeling like they’ve had a personal response from a human being who has provided them with everything they were looking for.

#3 Follow Up your reply

Time is the essence here – holidaymakers usually contact several holiday lets at once. So you need to try to be fast and ideally first to reply and that means getting in there sooner rather than later.

Prospects, who are normally very busy too, might eventually forget about your reply. Developing the Quote Chaser, 365villas found the perfect solution for this problem: use this “Automated Message” to automatically chase when you’ve sent a quote but haven’t received a response from the client. Indicate the system after how many days you want it to re-sent an e-mail after you sent the first quote and it will do it automatically for you.

It is a great time saver and extra revenue generator. Stop and consider how hard it is to consistently follow up on quotes without receiving a response. To not do so is to leave money on the table. In our experience, circa 20-40% of prospects will come back to you if you do this follow up. You can use this system to do this automatically for you, using your own words to create a response as personable and professionally as you like. You can of course include links to your property (and similar alternative properties), whether to a website or an online listing site, so that your prospects can immediately identify it. Otherwise, one of the reasons they have not responded is because they have inquired about many different properties and simply forgot yours.

Use this chaser, to help make your responses memorable to increase your chance of getting that booking.

#4 Make payment as easy as possible

Some clients don’t book because the payment process is too complicated. In the era of technology when almost everything can be purchased from your device, the holiday rental business should be no different. Online booking gives guests extra peace of mind by giving them a safe and secure way of paying (and saves you the hassle of chasing up payments!). Ideally, your website will allow you to proceed with credit card and Paypal payments with an user friendly booking engine, but if you don’t make sure your advert says how you accept payments, for example, bank transfer. This information should be updated in all your channels.