Extend Guest Stays: How to Encourage Vacation Rental Guests to Stay Longer

As a vacation rental manager, having a fully-booked calendar, with no awkward gaps, is the holy grail. And getting existing guests to extend their booking is a brilliant way to do that.

Not only does it increase vacation rental occupancy rates, it also reduces costs due to fewer cleaning turnarounds, and you need fewer guests and bookings to meet your revenue goals.

No more awkward holes to fill on your calendar, and guests can easily—and happily—stay longer once they've already arrived. After all, it's much easier and cheaper to sell to an existing happy guest rather than capturing more guests to fill in random gaps in your booking schedule.

And if guests can easily request and confirm an extended booking without too much hassle, that's even better.

The problem is that most vacation rental tools don't allow this. Guests either need to contact you manually or are forced to make an entirely new booking. Some may never even consider it to be an option in the first place, as most tools don't make it easy to extend existing bookings.

The more barriers to making an extended booking, the less likely guests are to do it, and the harder you'll have to work to keep your calendar full and your revenue high.

Luckily, RueBaRue is the only guest communication tool that allows you to drive revenue by extending guest bookings easily, as part of the same platform.

The Extend Guest Stays feature can be easily switched on as an option within the communication software, so guests know it's possible, and can confirm a longer booking with zero fuss and no extra admin from you.

Read on to find out how, and discover our step-by-step guide to making this work for your vacation rental.

RueBaRue is the only guest communication tool that allows you to generate more income by offering guests the opportunity to extend their stays. Book a demo to see how RueBaRue helps you identify gaps between bookings and send your guests automated messages.

What are the benefits of allowing your guests to extend their stays?

Increase your occupancy and drive revenue

It's simple: The more nights your vacation rental is full, the more revenue you're driving, even if you offer discounts to guests who stay longer as an incentive, or a package deal.

After all, a discounted night is better than an empty night, and it's a lot easier to sell extra nights to existing guests than it is to attract new customers to book those awkward calendar gaps.

Make guests happy

Who hasn't wanted to delay going home for just a day or two longer at the end of a great vacation? Offering easy booking extensions to guests is a simple way to increase satisfaction, and make guests extremely happy with very little extra effort from you.

Guests who have already enjoyed their stay will appreciate the chance to sneak in an extra night or two at a discounted rate, especially when they see how easy it is to do.

Even if you have more business guests than vacationers, giving them a chance to explore the city after work is done (or finish off negotiations perhaps) at the end of their initial planned stay, is likely to be a welcome offer.

Communicating these extra options and showing guests that you understand their needs in this way, will improve the relationship between you and your clientele. The happier they are, the more likely you'll increase vacation rental reviews (and improve the quality of them too!).

Save money

It's a fact: Attracting new guests costs your business much more than enabling existing happy guests to extend their booking.

Logistically, it's also a lot easier to offer existing guests the option to stay longer—and much more likely that they will—than it is to expect new guests to book random, awkward in-between calendar days just to fill your schedule.

Not only does enabling guests to stay longer save you money on new business, it also boosts your revenue overall, as you'll be receiving extra income for those nights that might otherwise have remained empty.

With fewer guest turnarounds, there's no need to clean the rental between two or more bookings, so you'll save on housekeeping costs too.

RueBaRue even has an Extend Guest Stays ROI Calculator, to help you work out your return on investment with the feature, making it even easier to see how much it could be worth to your vacation rental business.

Save time

Less cleaning, housekeeping, maintenance, and guest coordination due to fewer guests checking out or checking in, means saved time for both you and your staff.

Plus, fewer guests overall means less admin and time communicating logistical details with them, so you save time behind the scenes, and can truly focus on giving guests a great experience.

Software such as RueBaRue makes communicating with guests a breeze, as you can use existing email and SMS templates, and schedule messages in advance so they receive the right emails or SMSs at the exact right time, day or night.

By using the Extend Guest Stays feature on the same platform, you can enable guests to book easily, while coordinating all the extra details and messages needed to confirm simply and quickly, without adding more time or admin to your schedule.

How can you encourage vacation rental guests to stay longer?

So now we know why we want guests to extend their bookings, how can we actually encourage them to do so?

The main way is the simplest: let them know it's an option. That may sound obvious, but many guests may not even consider it a possibility, and it would never occur to them to ask (even if they'd love to stay longer).

Showing guests that they can do it easily and quickly is truly the first step in increasing requests for longer bookings.

This is especially useful for vacation property managers whose spaces are in “weekend destinations”, where guests usually book from Friday to Sunday only.

Some guests will sadly need to get “back to reality” before Monday, but others might have longer to enjoy your space and welcome the extra time to relax during the start of the week.

Making an extended booking option clear to guests is key, and—as we've said above—it's much easier than getting new guests to choose those awkward weekday nights.

After all, it's far better to have the same guest extend their stay beyond the weekend than it is to have your space empty and losing money from Monday to Thursday.

How to offer extended guest stays with RueBaRue

RueBaRue is the only guest communication tool that allows you to offer extended stays to guests within the same portal, without adding a ton of stress, time, or admin behind the scenes for property managers.

Here's how to do it:

1. Identify gap days

RueBaRue's Extend Guest Stay feature makes it simple for you to see exactly where you have gaps in your calendar, and therefore which guests could extend their stay easily.

The tool is specially designed for this exact intention and gives you the option to set dates, select a gap from 1-6 days, specify whether you wish to offer late check-out or early check-in, and select bookings to apply the change easily.

Without it, it can be near-impossible to see exactly which nights you have free, and which will allow extended bookings without causing scheduling conflicts.

2. Select guests

The dedicated calendar is color-coded, meaning it's easy to see guests' booking status at a glance and block off any extra times. You can select the guests who may want to extend their stays, making it easy to let them know it's an option.

Without this special tool in RueBaRue—say, by using your existing PMS calendar only—this would be extremely time-consuming, as you would have to manually check gaps, identify guests, and email them one by one. RueBaRue allows you to do it in a couple of clicks.

3. Set up automated messages using templates

The Extend Guest Stays feature then enables you to send messages directly to the selected guests, choosing from saved templates, and either sending immediately or scheduling in advance without any extra manual work.

RueBaRue's messaging platform allows you to schedule and automate all messages you might send to guests, saving time but also helping guests by ensuring they get the information they need at the exact right time.

Not only that, but RueBaRue enables you to schedule not only email but SMS messages too. This is key when dealing with guests who are traveling, as it's a far more direct method of communication.

An SMS will go straight to a guest's phone, unlike an email that may require internet or Wi-Fi to work, and which is likely to get lost in an overflowing inbox. Automating SMSs makes this even quicker and easier for you and your team.

Encouraging guests to stay longer with RueBaRue's Extend Guest Stays feature: Boost revenue, occupancy, and more

Of course, it's important to attract new guests to your vacation rental, but it's a lot easier to offer extended bookings to existing customers once they're already checked in and are loving your space.

Offering a super-easy, digital way for guests to do this will also especially appeal to the growing Millennial market, who expect to order services and helpful extras on-demand using their smartphones and devices.

Happily, a communication system such as RueBaRue enables you to turn on the Extend Guest Stays feature easily, as well as schedule automated SMS and emails alongside, so guests can take advantage of a few extra, discounted nights right from within the same digital platform.

Not only does this boost their enjoyment of their stay, make them feel like they're getting more for their money, and increase the likelihood of a great review, it also reduces hassle and boosts revenue and occupancy by reducing housekeeping costs and pushing up your income with extra booked nights.

Happy guests and more revenue for you with less stress—what's not to love?

RueBaRue is the only guest communication tool that allows you to generate more income by offering guests the opportunity to extend their stays. Book a demo to see how RueBaRue helps you identify gaps between bookings and send your guests automated messages.

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