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Does it sometimes seem like OTAs are constantly cooking up new limitations on how you communicate with your guests?
Access to guest email addresses is the latest feature on the chopping block at a prominent OTA — and that's a problem for vacation rental home managers eager to harvest direct bookings from guests who previously reserved their property through an OTA.
Using email is also a great way to pitch your property, letting former guests know about pricing deals, improved amenities and the hot, new restaurant everyone in town is talking about.
Though text messaging is rapidly gaining popularity with guests as a means of communication, guest email remains a motherlode, a vital component for cultivating and direct rebooking previous guests.
Here are five ways to collect it in an increasingly challenging environment.
Make it a requirement
Before they arrive, tell guests that you need their email address so you can inform them about changes in the booking process or provide updated information regarding their stay. Let email capture be an organic part of the welcoming process.
Provide an incentive
People are often wary about sharing an email address. Offer a discount on the booking as a sweetener. It can be the service fee that they'd pay certain providers or that you'd pay the OTA.
Supply an experience enhancer
As a property manager, you have the ability to arrange for amenities like bike rentals, theater tickets and day trips — trip enhancements that OTAs lack the technology to offer. Tell guests that for concierge services like these, direct communication is a necessity — and that you need their email address.
Try tech (and text)
Look for a Guest Communication Platform like RueBaRue that offers advanced SMS tools, and collect guest email addresses via text messaging. With RueBaRue's form creation tool, usually used for guest satisfaction surveys, you can text guests a question and receive a text reply. Offer guests an incentive, like a special amenity or a discount on a future visit, and ask them to text back their email address.
Use a WiFi Marketing Tool
WiFi marketing tools like StayFi capture the email address of your guests when they log onto WiFi at their rental home. Guests must enter their name and address on a custom-branded splash page to gain access to their rental home WiFi, much as at airports, hotels and coffee shops.
RueBaRue's multi-faceted platform lets you communicate with guests using enhanced text messaging, schedule automated text and email delivery of guestbooks and curated area guides, and respond quickly to guest queries with Guest SMS Messaging, where every query is seen by the entire team. Your business receives a dedicated SMS number, so messages don't appear on personal phones. You can also send automatic alerts by email or text in the event of storms, fires or road closures.
Interested in learning more about RueBaRue's SMS capabilities? Schedule a 30-minute demo.