Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hotel Envy: My Vacation Rental Wish List (Part 1)

As an owner of a vacation rental property for over 12 years and with over 6 years experience working for a hotel management company, I have Hotel Envy. I know that vacation rentals have their own advantages: more value for the money, kitchens, make you feel like a native, etc. However, I look at what hotels offer and I press my nose against the glass (virtually) because they have features I want but can't have.

1. Rewards!
First on my list of Hotel Envy is a rewards program. When we stay at a big chain hotel (Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott, Starwood, etc.) we get points. Even smaller chains such as Leading Hotels of the World and Fairmont have a free guest membership feature which provides extra attention and rewards.

I think vacation rental owners who offered rewards points would create a strong incentive to draw in first time guests and to motivate repeat guests. They'd also be providing the advantage to win business that might lose to others with reward programs.

I don't think its that hard to do a little incentive at the point of sale, even if you're a small business. For example, my wife Ellen's jewelry store boutique StyleByMax has a points program. For every $1,000 spent,the customer can take $100 off their next purchase. Its a win-win for everyone. The owner gets repeat business and the customer is happy.

Since guests return each year to my destination, points would be a great incentive to keep them coming back to my unit, or at least to the same property manager. I imagine a program where for every $1,000 spent this year, next visit would take $100 off. Each owner can tweak the percentages. Some might want to offer 5%, or 20%, or whatever.

Please comment below and let me know if you share my thoughts about offering incentives to guests, or have other ideas along these lines.

by Randy Zats, President,

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