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Midweek Motivation What Unconventional Metrics Could We Measure?

Our special industry deserves it's own special metrics (and vocabulary).

“We cannot improve what we cannot measure," is a popular small business mantra because it gives everyone on the team common metrics or benchmarks to measure.

Occupancy, revenue per property, profit per property…etc. These popular metrics connect directly to your profit line (the single most important metric of all!) and if you’re not semi-regularly checking in and benchmarking your work, you may drift and spiral out of control.

There are also less quantifiable metrics like “reviews,” upsells,
The Golden Ratio (which I argue is the most important yet least measured metric of any independent vacation rental business)…these are all great metrics.

But THEN there are other activities that — while they cannot be quantified or connected to your bottom line nearly as conventionally — are equally IF NOT MORE valuable indicators of success.

+ In the NBA
some analysts correlate the # of high-fives with winning percentage.
+ Personal trainers use the "
Talk Test" to gauge the intensity of a workout.


What are some unconventional metrics vacation rental entrepreneurs could measure?


1. Questions Asked (That Have Previously Been Answered)

I like to think of anticipation as a superpower of hospitality: if you can predict what is going to happen, you can serve it up and charge good money. Oppositely, if you fail to anticipate, it can be extremely costly/taxing on your team.

And not to mention, answering “how to do X” or “where is Y” or “when is Z” over and over again can be energy-zapping and time-consuming.

The number of these (unnecessary questions) might be correlated with your information delivery (read
The 4-Step Incoming Guest Nurture Sequence by Nancy Nancy.) If you get a lot of questions that have been addressed in your listing, email confirmation, or attachments, your delivery could use improvement (whether simplifying, bundling, or time-release). If when guests arrive they know everything you want them to know, then the information delivery has been a success and the guest’s expectations are accurate.

Note: There are instances in which a question that has already been answered can be a good thing. If it gets you to…

2. Nonessential Conversations

You must be a people person to work in vacation rental hospitality (if you are not, the industry will drive you crazy).

Every time you flex your people skills, you form a relationship with a guest and as a result increase the value of your business increases.

Note: if you are reading this and you’re NOT in the vacation rental industry but you ARE a people person, you can find a great job in our sector. But I digress…

All vacation rental pros have conversations with guests about the basics (how to arrive and enjoy the property) but there is a certain unquantifiable power in the nonessential conversations in which you learn about your guest’s life (and they yours). These private little windows into each other’s lives won’t show up on any P&L statement but they are the things of 5-star reviews, repeat business, and lifelong friendships. That is a pretty damn good ROI.

3. Memories Created

In the latest podcast conversation with Sibylle Sibylle she talked about how this memory creation is a metric for her success in hospitality. “Did we help create a memory for this group that will last a lifetime?”

These “memories” can be found in reviews or more often in direct correspondence when a guest shares a particular moment of their stay with you and how special it was. These memories could be tallied and celebrated with an air horn or some kind of bell?


QUESTION FOR COMMUNITY

What are some other less-conventional metrics or indicators that show we're on the right (or wrong) path?
 
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Terry

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
Columnist
There is a metric I have no way of measuring and it was invented in 1876 called the telephone. The more I use the telephone I know I am on the right path, the more I rely on email and text automation I know I am headed for destruction. I recently went through a period where I could barley keep my head above water which resulted in me using the telephone a lot less often than normal. I had some poor reviews that I never get that reflected it.
 

Robin

Counselor
Inner Circle
This is random, but for my weekly manager's briefing, I always start my final comments with "Let's look outside of the Bubble for one second...", because we consider where we live (Steamboat Springs, Colorado) is in a magical bubble compared to the rest of the world.

My favorite place to look is the home page of cnn.com. If the news headlines are about Celebrities, Trump, or political indiscretions then nothing major is wrong in the world and the good people of the USA are going to work and making money, and all is well. This started when I was amazed to see that Miley Cyrus swinging naked on a wrecking ball filled the headlines for over two weeks, Bill Cosby's sad exploits also lasted for weeks. Epstein, Trump, Trump as Candidate, Trump as President, and so on...all distracted, but meant little to the economy which just roared along....

So the metric is: what's in the news and does this matter.

I spotted covid in January 2020. Everyone thought I was crazy. Didn't make the headlines until March....and then...
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
Become the go-to resource/ helper person for your location.

This happened today: A random person -not staying at my place🤔 - reached out to me in concern for a mother seal and her pup. He wrote:

Hi Donna-

I've just read your fantastic page about the rookeries. We're visiting Sea Ranch as we often do and have finally gotten here at the right time for the pups.
I was down taking pictures yesterday and when developing them today, I noticed a big gash on one of the Mom's backs and It aroused my curiosity.
I was wondering if this had been noticed before and you folks knew the cause? Picture is attached

Thanks for your wonderful page, we've stayed in that area several times at the Pass's guest house or one of the rentals on Piper's and it's always such a treat to be so close to them that we can walk by so easily and observe them.
Thanks
Bob
He then added in a second post:

Also just noticed the pup seems to have an injury to the left eye :-(
Edit-9001384.jpg


The "wonderful page" he refers to is a blog post I did that shared my experience as a Harbor Seal Docent as well as info about these shy, wonderful creatures.

I gave him the Marine Mammal Center's information and asked that he give them a call as he had first-hand knowledge of the situation.

Not sure if he would follow through, I too made the call to the Marine Mammal Center and forwarded them the photo above. Then Bob responded back that he did reach the center and they will be looking after the pair.

As a thank you for reaching out and follow up I offered Bob for his next trip a discounted stay with us for his "selfless attention to our seals." Plus I sent healing wishes for the mom and pup as well as a wish that the rest of this vacation is delightful.
 

AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
I love the question. I’ve been looking at data in an exploratory way as of late on metrics I get that pertain to the Airbnb checkout questions I have visibility to and tying to ranking metrics we have as well as views metrics we get from Airbnb. I’ll share a topline analysis method I developed (can’t give much more away or my partners will probably remove me from CEO haha).



I think a slightly different way to think about this question that is very likely overlooked is the relationship between these various guest survey outputs. I have lots of charts and tables at this point that eventually led me to several key insights. Now I am not sure how this would work for non Airbnb, but if surveys are sent out, I’d recommend looking into the relationship between these key metrics for a reading on guest satisfaction risk as it relates to price.



  • Overall rating (everyone should have this one already)
  • Value rating (possibly only an Airbnb metric, but an important one)
  • Hospitality rating (this is a “compliment” on Airbnb, which is a non star based rating, its either checked as a compliment aka “outstanding hospitality” or its not checked. If I had a choice I’d convert that to a star rating for these purposes
  • Location (standard 5 star)
  • Accuracy (standard 5 star)




So far that’s pretty standard stuff, but the magic happens when you pull in the ADR to the reservations with reviews, and include non review reservations too with a n/a in the fields (increasing no reviews tend to be a leading indicator that you have a guest satisfaction problem as well), then trend out ADR by month against each one of those variables, but switched to binary (5 star or non 5 star). This will tell you a lot about how sensitive your listing is on average to price as it relates to their satisfaction everywhere else. I can’t post my stuff on here due to data security, but if you have increased price seasonally or have just been pushing up prices in general, you should see a negative correlation to “less than 5 stars” on the value metric and ADR, the location, hospitality and accuracy metrics should help you hone in on leading indicators (location is first to move usually if you aren’t in a prime location, hospitality frequency should have a positive correlation, and accuracy should follow location, but if accuracy is moving on its own, you need to figure out whats happening there. The key is value, which a trending decline almost always indicates a forthcoming overall rating decline, which you may see wobbling on value as price goes up, at which point you are getting into a risky price point for the guest satisfaction at increasing prices from there, at which point either set that as you upper max price, or invest to improve value.



This way of looking at pricing, which was derived from analysis of consistent relationship trends between all available variables is particularly important because it fills in a gap that current dynamic pricing software does not account for, which is not what you CAN charge based on supply and demand, but what you SHOULD charge based on where guests stop thinking they are getting value for how much they paid past a certain point, which is an unsustainable pricing strategy if the goal is guest satisfaction and you count on reviews being glowing to improve occupancy or pricing (non peak pricing).



Anyone who is familiar with pivot tables should easily be able to put this together and if you know how to do basic analysis, I suspect folks will find very interesting insights into listing performance across various price points in terms of reviews.
 

ToonTownRob

Envoy
Inner Circle
I love the question. I’ve been looking at data in an exploratory way as of late on metrics I get that pertain to the Airbnb checkout questions I have visibility to and tying to ranking metrics we have as well as views metrics we get from Airbnb. I’ll share a topline analysis method I developed (can’t give much more away or my partners will probably remove me from CEO haha).
I think a slightly different way to think about this question that is very likely overlooked is the relationship between these various guest survey outputs. I have lots of charts and tables at this point that eventually led me to several key insights. Now I am not sure how this would work for non Airbnb, but if surveys are sent out, I’d recommend looking into the relationship between these key metrics for a reading on guest satisfaction risk as it relates to price.

  • Overall rating (everyone should have this one already)
  • Value rating (possibly only an Airbnb metric, but an important one)
  • Hospitality rating (this is a “compliment” on Airbnb, which is a non star based rating, its either checked as a compliment aka “outstanding hospitality” or its not checked. If I had a choice I’d convert that to a star rating for these purposes
  • Location (standard 5 star)
  • Accuracy (standard 5 star)
So far that’s pretty standard stuff, but the magic happens when you pull in the ADR to the reservations with reviews, and include non review reservations too with a n/a in the fields (increasing no reviews tend to be a leading indicator that you have a guest satisfaction problem as well), then trend out ADR by month against each one of those variables, but switched to binary (5 star or non 5 star). This will tell you a lot about how sensitive your listing is on average to price as it relates to their satisfaction everywhere else. I can’t post my stuff on here due to data security, but if you have increased price seasonally or have just been pushing up prices in general, you should see a negative correlation to “less than 5 stars” on the value metric and ADR, the location, hospitality and accuracy metrics should help you hone in on leading indicators (location is first to move usually if you aren’t in a prime location, hospitality frequency should have a positive correlation, and accuracy should follow location, but if accuracy is moving on its own, you need to figure out whats happening there. The key is value, which a trending decline almost always indicates a forthcoming overall rating decline, which you may see wobbling on value as price goes up, at which point you are getting into a risky price point for the guest satisfaction at increasing prices from there, at which point either set that as you upper max price, or invest to improve value.
This way of looking at pricing, which was derived from analysis of consistent relationship trends between all available variables is particularly important because it fills in a gap that current dynamic pricing software does not account for, which is not what you CAN charge based on supply and demand, but what you SHOULD charge based on where guests stop thinking they are getting value for how much they paid past a certain point, which is an unsustainable pricing strategy if the goal is guest satisfaction and you count on reviews being glowing to improve occupancy or pricing (non peak pricing).

What a great post! Thank you!

For the last couple of years I have been noticing and thinking more about the relationship between price and guest satisfaction. I have a competitor with an identical home to my best renting one, though not in as good a location, but close, and since they started in the business long after me, they have been racking up 5-star reviews on VRBO like crazy! Which drives me crazy!

“Of course guests are ecstatic! They get to stay in a well done pool home in a great neighborhood for $93 a night, even during peak season!! What’s not to love?” I tell myself.

Being inexpensive, their property would always book first on VRBO so the algorithm would continually push them to the top, and the site would make lots of money on them, even at low rates.

Interestingly enough, as guests have tended over the years to leave fewer reviews, for myself and others, their review numbers seem to chug along, except the quality has dropped a bit recently as the home gets on in age and they can’t afford to keep it up.

Their rates are unsustainable if they are trying to cover their costs through rentals, but totally sustainable if they’re content to keep pouring outside money into it and don’t mind subsidizing other people’s vacations. As I have long said, anyone can be profitable in this business if they ignore some of their expenses. I have little doubt that the owners think they are profitable, and with a completely ignorant guess (meaning this is total speculation on my part) I would bet that they aren't counting any mortgage or interest expense at all because they don't have a bank mortgage on the property.

I’ve always noticed this apparent direct correlation between rates and guest satisfaction as reflected in reviews, but never seen it discussed. It’s comforting to me to know that someone else sees this too.

Thank you!
 
Last edited:

AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
What a great post! Thank you!

For the last couple of years I have been noticing and thinking more about the relationship between price and guest satisfaction. I have a competitor with an identical home to my best renting one, though not in as good a location, but close, and since they started in the business long after me, they have been racking up 5-star reviews on VRBO like crazy! Which drives me crazy!

“Of course guests are ecstatic! They get to stay in a well done pool home in a great neighborhood for $93 a night, even during peak season!! What’s not to love?” I would tell myself.

They would always book first on VRBO so the algorithm would push them to the top, and the site would make lots of money on them, even at low rates.

interestingly enough, as guests have tended over the years to leave fewer reviews, for myself and others, their review numbers seem to chug along, except the quality has dropped a bit as the home gets on in age and they can’t afford to keep it up.

Their rates are unsustainable if they are trying to cover their costs through rentals, but totally sustainable if they’re content to keep pouring outside money into it and don’t mind subsidizing other people’s vacations.

I’ve always noticed this apparent direct correlation between rates and guest satisfaction as reflected in reviews, but never seen it discussed. It’s comforting to me to know that someone else sees this too.

thank you!
You’re very welcome! It’s honestly comforting hearing someone else discuss it with the same enthusiasm as I have haha.

This type of analysis can tell you A LOT about the sustainability of profitability when playing in a competitive marketplace like VRBO and Airbnb that almost certainly have large weights to metrics that indicate the same trends and value challenges. It’s actually one of the huge benefits of playing on the OTAs, as a sophisticated manager can really get a competitive edge that drives up profitability if you find the right metrics, trends and thresholds to track while others use methods that, particularly in low supply situations such as what we are seeing here, are effectively guaranteed to be unsustainable and lead to the types of reviews that force price regression. I have a background in market research and analytics, so this kind of stuff is just interesting to me regardless....awesome to know who to tag if I post other types of high level methodology stuff or hypothesis I’m thinking of testing.

Your neighbor is a perfect example of someone who is just losing profitability hand over fist for no reason. I bet a simple analysis similar to what I laid out above would indicate clear underpricing with lots of room to just move prices up with no risk...they probably really love always getting those great reviews and feel like it’s a huge risk to change things up, but if all of those metrics are always 5, you probably have a long way to go before risk to overall becomes more significant than at current prices. But that’s great! They drive traffic with these great deals, only one person gets it a day, so they will move on to other similar properties from there where you are charging a fair price vs discount lottery pricing.

i bet there’s at least one listing in the area that’s the flip side, where they charge a ton, but are getting occupancy. These are usually newish listings, or very established middle of the ranking road listings, but either way, watch their review scores as you move past the high priced days, they almost certain to move downward at least slightly.

For you, I’d look to see if your review to no review ratio is declining at a fairly consistent rate during key seasons and then comp to the average annually. If that period is driving that underperformance trend, try paying special attention to those particular groups in that time and really hammer the hospitality out of the park, that tends to go a long way in giving you higher value scores.
 

ToonTownRob

Envoy
Inner Circle
Thank you Alex. Likewise, I enjoy the thought that goes into your posts very much, even if we disagree on conclusions sometimes! Hahah!

I'm probably the high-priced listing in the area you refer to. There aren't many of us left in our subdivision of 200 homes, which actually was built as a vacation home development 20 years ago. But homes here sell blindingly fast when they come on the market, and are all being bought up for residential use. There may be only ten of us left in the neighborhood. Of course, there are new neighborhoods of vacation rentals springing up all over the place within a 1 mile radius, so there is still lots of inventory around.

I can't tell you how many times I've been tempted to contact that owner and just book his property for the entire year. I would even ask for a discount for just taking every date all year long! (Something I abhor!) Anyway, with the spread between his rates and my own, I could offer his property at a rate a lot closer to where I'm at and make MORE profit than I do on my own properties! And I would take him out of the market as competition.

It would be a risky thing to do of course, if the market were to fall out as it did due to Covid-19, as I can't lower my costs in that scenario at all. I would be stuck paying his rates, unless I cancelled and got a refund (ala AirBnB).

There is a lot of room in between us. During peak times of the year, I get more than double what he charges per night. It seems like it would be such easy money! I wonder...
 

Nancy

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Columnist
One metric that has puzzled me in trying to wrangle data has been the ripple effect of my "past guest ambassadors".
I often wonder about the domino/ripple effect of happy past guests that become my brand ambassadors.

I try to get future guests indicate if they have been referred by a friend which is measured in my own website submission form but can't measure this data on the booking platforms unless the guest mentions to me that they were referred by a friend.

Having some data to measure the ripple effect of brand ambassadors would be epic for me to understand how my guest nurture protocols are performing in that respect.
 

AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
One metric that has puzzled me in trying to wrangle data has been the ripple effect of my "past guest ambassadors".
I often wonder about the domino/ripple effect of happy past guests that become my brand ambassadors.

I try to get future guests indicate if they have been referred by a friend which is measured in my own website submission form but can't measure this data on the booking platforms unless the guest mentions to me that they were referred by a friend.

Having some data to measure the ripple effect of brand ambassadors would be epic for me to understand how my guest nurture protocols are performing in that respect.
I want to maybe be of help by bringing in some methodology stuff that came from my analysis of Airbnb guest review data that could help you in getting the insight you are looking for with what metrics you have access to on an OTA. Two questions first:

What’s the general concept behind guest nurture protocalls in terms of execution?

what are the goals of the protocalls? Are the actions taken solely aimed at referall bookings? Or is that just a metric you use to indicate successful positive impact on guest stays in some way or another?
 

Nancy

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Columnist
I want to maybe be of help by bringing in some methodology stuff that came from my analysis of Airbnb guest review data that could help you in getting the insight you are looking for with what metrics you have access to on an OTA. Two questions first:

What’s the general concept behind guest nurture protocalls in terms of execution?

what are the goals of the protocalls? Are the actions taken solely aimed at referall bookings? Or is that just a metric you use to indicate successful positive impact on guest stays in some way or another?

My guest nurture campaigns accomplish a lot of goals.
Some that are easily measured but others like brand ambassador referrals are not so easy to track.
  • affiliate link sales - increases my $ per transaction per reservation
  • reviews
  • decrease labor and customer service phone calls/texts (less communication of questions back and forth by guests)
  • increase social media following
  • increase guest experience
  • increase open rates email marketing
  • increase email newsletter subscriber contact list
  • guest referrals
  • gain more direct bookings (repeat guests)
  • decrease credit card processing costs (by gaining more direct bookings)
  • increased website ranking and statistics (through guests reading insider guides, blog articles, videos, etc...)
 

AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
My guest nurture campaigns accomplish a lot of goals.
Some that are easily measured but others like brand ambassador referrals are not so easy to track.
  • affiliate link sales - increases my $ per transaction per reservation
  • reviews
  • decrease labor and customer service phone calls/texts (less communication of questions back and forth by guests)
  • increase social media following
  • increase guest experience
  • increase open rates email marketing
  • increase email newsletter subscriber contact list
  • guest referrals
  • gain more direct bookings (repeat guests)
  • decrease credit card processing costs (by gaining more direct bookings)
  • increased website ranking and statistics (through guests reading insider guides, blog articles, videos, etc...)
Wow! So congrats on putting together a process to execute against so many tough goals!



So knowing the brand ambassador program is a element of a larger initiative, which I assume the brand ambassador program has a structure specifically to drive referrals, which again I’ll make an assumption your brand ambassador referral has some incentive attached to it per executed referral? Is that incentive executed for both the referee and referrer? You can be vague if you want, the reason I ask is because there’s a couple methodologies I’d suggest, but my approach wouldn’t be just number of referrals, but the value of each referral to your business, which id be interested to suggest some ROI methodologies that would likely give you an indication that a different metric may be appropriate on OTAs (probably conversion or views boost after a “glowing review”) which I essentially would think of “glowing reviews” as the OTA version of a referral because they directly lead to improved visibility as well as guest conversion when they see more of those reviews improves too, which a few glowing reviews could have a much bigger impact to occupancy at the rate you got the review on than a referral system. Not sure which way to go with a suggested method without a little more on the program
 

AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
Please explain ADR for those of use who are acronym challenged.
Sorry about that, Average Daily Rate. Which people generally look at as an average across all reservations for a time period, but I find more helpful to trend across months for individual listings. Trending it against occupancy + other metrics that likely have some correlation, and perhaps direct impacts to price and occupancy (review metrics in this case).
 

Eric Thibodeaux

Counselor
Inner Circle
Our special industry deserves it's own special metrics (and vocabulary).

“We cannot improve what we cannot measure," is a popular small business mantra because it gives everyone on the team common metrics or benchmarks to measure.

Occupancy, revenue per property, profit per property…etc. These popular metrics connect directly to your profit line (the single most important metric of all!) and if you’re not semi-regularly checking in and benchmarking your work, you may drift and spiral out of control.

There are also less quantifiable metrics like “reviews,” upsells,
The Golden Ratio (which I argue is the most important yet least measured metric of any independent vacation rental business)…these are all great metrics.

But THEN there are other activities that — while they cannot be quantified or connected to your bottom line nearly as conventionally — are equally IF NOT MORE valuable indicators of success.

+ In the NBA
some analysts correlate the # of high-fives with winning percentage.
+ Personal trainers use the "
Talk Test" to gauge the intensity of a workout.


What are some unconventional metrics vacation rental entrepreneurs could measure?


1. Questions Asked (That Have Previously Been Answered)

I like to think of anticipation as a superpower of hospitality: if you can predict what is going to happen, you can serve it up and charge good money. Oppositely, if you fail to anticipate, it can be extremely costly/taxing on your team.

And not to mention, answering “how to do X” or “where is Y” or “when is Z” over and over again can be energy-zapping and time-consuming.

The number of these (unnecessary questions) might be correlated with your information delivery (read
The 4-Step Incoming Guest Nurture Sequence by Nancy Nancy.) If you get a lot of questions that have been addressed in your listing, email confirmation, or attachments, your delivery could use improvement (whether simplifying, bundling, or time-release). If when guests arrive they know everything you want them to know, then the information delivery has been a success and the guest’s expectations are accurate.

Note: There are instances in which a question that has already been answered can be a good thing. If it gets you to…

2. Nonessential Conversations

You must be a people person to work in vacation rental hospitality (if you are not, the industry will drive you crazy).

Every time you flex your people skills, you form a relationship with a guest and as a result increase the value of your business increases.

Note: if you are reading this and you’re NOT in the vacation rental industry but you ARE a people person, you can find a great job in our sector. But I digress…

All vacation rental pros have conversations with guests about the basics (how to arrive and enjoy the property) but there is a certain unquantifiable power in the nonessential conversations in which you learn about your guest’s life (and they yours). These private little windows into each other’s lives won’t show up on any P&L statement but they are the things of 5-star reviews, repeat business, and lifelong friendships. That is a pretty damn good ROI.

3. Memories Created

In the latest podcast conversation with Sibylle Sibylle she talked about how this memory creation is a metric for her success in hospitality. “Did we help create a memory for this group that will last a lifetime?”

These “memories” can be found in reviews or more often in direct correspondence when a guest shares a particular moment of their stay with you and how special it was. These memories could be tallied and celebrated with an air horn or some kind of bell?


QUESTION FOR COMMUNITY

What are some other less-conventional metrics or indicators that show we're on the right (or wrong) path?
Hello all. I really like the introduction of our special industry deserves its own metrics and you cannot improve what we don't measure. While I am a property manager and Owner, I am also a safety professional.

On my flight over to Egypt a couple of weeks ago, I started to consider how we can measure safety in the Vacation Rental industry. This is not really a concept we have considered. I am developing both leading and lagging metrics to begin this process.

Here is an example of one: Number of safety incidents / number of days rented. I also like just looking at the type and number of incidents that have occurred. We could eventually determine a method to look at prevalence rates, but keeping it simple in the beginning.

If we are an industry that says we are safe, then we need to measure and demonstrate it. I have also an Incident Reporting form in Beta test to begin collecting data to understand the incidents occurring, so we can share, learn, measure, improve and be more proactive in safety. Here is a link to the document. https://form.jotform.com/210892238942461 It goes to my web site, Safer VR's. I am looking for a way to launch this too in order to get more data. Willing to share information as it comes in. Appreciate any feedback.

I think this metric may be unconventional today for our businesses and industry, but I see a future where we use this information, or something similar, to show our guests we value safety, your stay will be safe, and as property owners and managers, we will be more profitable as a result. Take care.

Eric Thibodeaux
 

RuthM

Envoy
Inner Circle
My favorite metric is one I started from Day 1: my simple 4 question Guest Satisfaction Survey. Since I was a strategy management consultant in a previous life (with expertise in private banking Customer Service!), I know the power of customer service to directly increase the bottom line, create customer loyalty and generally create a better working environment for everyone.

The Guest Satisfaction Survey is a simple 1 page piece of paper I leave in the apartments (in 2021, I hope transform to digital). It is EASY, FAST and almost every guest fills it out! It has been a revelation: guests give me ideas I had not thought of or get their rant out so they don't need to complain publicly on posted reviews.

Here are the questions:

GUEST SATISFACTION SURVEY

HOW WAS YOUR STAY WITH US?

2020 is our THIRD season: we are interested in your comments, good and bad, since we strive to offer beautiful apartments with welcoming hospitality, and we seek to continually improve.

We hope that you enjoyed your stay!

This experience was: ☐ Awesome! ☐ Glad I stayed here ☐ Just OK ☐ Not for me

What did you like best?
(blank space for answers)

What can we do better / different?
(blank space for some amazing suggestions for improvement from guests! Or space for the guest rant so that they don't have to rant in public review)

Other comments?
(this blank section is so powerful: gives me pulse on my own apartments and our destination too)

(At bottom of page: )
Thank you for being our guests! We would love to welcome you back.
Book direct for no OTA fees and guaranteed lowest prices:
write Ruth at [email protected].
GRAZIE


Hope this helps!
 

AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
My favorite metric is one I started from Day 1: my simple 4 question Guest Satisfaction Survey. Since I was a strategy management consultant in a previous life (with expertise in private banking Customer Service!), I know the power of customer service to directly increase the bottom line, create customer loyalty and generally create a better working environment for everyone.

The Guest Satisfaction Survey is a simple 1 page piece of paper I leave in the apartments (in 2021, I hope transform to digital). It is EASY, FAST and almost every guest fills it out! It has been a revelation: guests give me ideas I had not thought of or get their rant out so they don't need to complain publicly on posted reviews.

Here are the questions:

GUEST SATISFACTION SURVEY

HOW WAS YOUR STAY WITH US?

2020 is our THIRD season: we are interested in your comments, good and bad, since we strive to offer beautiful apartments with welcoming hospitality, and we seek to continually improve.

We hope that you enjoyed your stay!

This experience was: ☐ Awesome! ☐ Glad I stayed here ☐ Just OK ☐ Not for me

What did you like best?
(blank space for answers)

What can we do better / different?
(blank space for some amazing suggestions for improvement from guests! Or space for the guest rant so that they don't have to rant in public review)

Other comments?
(this blank section is so powerful: gives me pulse on my own apartments and our destination too)

(At bottom of page: )
Thank you for being our guests! We would love to welcome you back.
Book direct for no OTA fees and guaranteed lowest prices:
write Ruth at [email protected].
GRAZIE


Hope this helps!


I completely agree with the customer survey. For my company, we are actually doing various testing and tweaking of survey methods.


One thing I’d share that we are testing that I feel like helps us greatly is the use of a pre stay survey. I have felt like much of the time we tried to customize guest experiences we were guessing as to what they were in town to do, why they booked this house in particular or what their expectations were. So instead of guessing, I felt it was a good idea to just ask right after they booked. This allows us to give better recommendations and fill gaps on expectations where they may exist.


So I’d greatly encourage folks to think of surveys as not only a way to get a read on your guest satisfaction performance, but also as a tool to use to be better at customizing your guest interactions by sending a pre stay survey as well. My guess is that if you are currently using a survey post stay, that if you execute a pre survey strategy where you use responses to customize experiences of guests at your property, that those post stay surveys will come back with even more positive results than prior to pre stay survey taking.


I have a lot to say about surveys and survey design, just coming from a marketing/market research background, if anyone wants to trade notes/discuss survey strategy, hit me up!
 

Nancy

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
Columnist
Wow! So congrats on putting together a process to execute against so many tough goals!



So knowing the brand ambassador program is a element of a larger initiative, which I assume the brand ambassador program has a structure specifically to drive referrals, which again I’ll make an assumption your brand ambassador referral has some incentive attached to it per executed referral? Is that incentive executed for both the referee and referrer? You can be vague if you want, the reason I ask is because there’s a couple methodologies I’d suggest, but my approach wouldn’t be just number of referrals, but the value of each referral to your business, which id be interested to suggest some ROI methodologies that would likely give you an indication that a different metric may be appropriate on OTAs (probably conversion or views boost after a “glowing review”) which I essentially would think of “glowing reviews” as the OTA version of a referral because they directly lead to improved visibility as well as guest conversion when they see more of those reviews improves too, which a few glowing reviews could have a much bigger impact to occupancy at the rate you got the review on than a referral system. Not sure which way to go with a suggested method without a little more on the program
No

My guest nurture campaign is geared towards providing an incredible rich experience throughout each guests journey. From booking to post departure. There’s a time period involved but the only incentive I offer to them is to book direct themselves with a preferred guest discount That metric I can track easily.

The brand ambassador as you call it in this case has no monetary benefit. My past guests on many cases will refer my homes to others through friends, on social media platforms etc... it’s a direct communication by them that I find hard to track.

I do ask incoming guests if they were referred by a friend but folks won’t fill that out if a stranger on social media recommended us to them. It’s that interaction that I find hard to track. When my past guests turn into “sales people” for me by recommending my homes, website, etc..

I do not have any referral links that I offer my guests through my guest nurture campaign.

The guests have such a great experience they become brand ambassadors and it’s hard to track. I could sign up for software that identifies “mentions” but I don’t think my time or spend on this for a personal VR business is worth the investment. Still I often wonder if I’m missing something.
 

AlexC

Envoy
Inner Circle
No

My guest nurture campaign is geared towards providing an incredible rich experience throughout each guests journey. From booking to post departure. There’s a time period involved but the only incentive I offer to them is to book direct themselves with a preferred guest discount That metric I can track easily.

The brand ambassador as you call it in this case has no monetary benefit. My past guests on many cases will refer my homes to others through friends, on social media platforms etc... it’s a direct communication by them that I find hard to track.

I do ask incoming guests if they were referred by a friend but folks won’t fill that out if a stranger on social media recommended us to them. It’s that interaction that I find hard to track. When my past guests turn into “sales people” for me by recommending my homes, website, etc..

I do not have any referral links that I offer my guests through my guest nurture campaign.

The guests have such a great experience they become brand ambassadors and it’s hard to track. I could sign up for software that identifies “mentions” but I don’t think my time or spend on this for a personal VR business is worth the investment. Still I often wonder if I’m missing something.
Ok, well I misunderstood what you meant by trying to track the effects of brand ambassadors as some sort of set of actions you take towards guests to generate referral, but what you are asking is something more straightforward, but more complex at the same time. You are effectively asking “by creating a great guest experience, how many guests actually refer my property to another future guest…on social media or in other word of mouth channels online or otherwise.” Based on the initial post and your last one, you can ask the question on your own platform (how did you hear about us? type question I am assuming)….but still cant get a great read on your own site (people won’t fill that out consistently if they were referred on social media, ect) and definitely not on a OTA.



Well, in terms of metrics to measure how important guest experience is on an OTA, where I am the most helpful on recommendations, I’d say you are looking for a metric such as what I call “views to book.” It’s a little manual to pull data out of the Airbnb platform, but you can effectively get a trending metric that says “it took on average 45 page views for someone to book my listing in March, took 35 page views in April, and so far only 25 in May.”….The reason this is a good metric is because of a truth that I think few really think about, and that’s that “referrals” on an OTA are reviews, and specifically, the verbiage in a review. Your brand ambassadors are the ones who leave glowing reviews, which prompt other people who view your listings to book….the more glowing reviews, the lower your views to book rate in every case I’ve looked at on a developed listing. You can also just look at pure views with Airbnb and use the performance tab to look at “vs. similar listings”….if your guest satisfaction is high and you are a not a value player (cheap), you get more views as your review scores move up consistently.



Now, what it seems like you are interested in knowing is to what degree your bookings come from guest referrals from past guests that aren’t reviews…which I am not sure is the best metric to chase after, but would recommend Bitly as a solution. Bitly is a way for you to tag links so that you know when they are clicked. Basically, just use various tagged links as the link you get past guests to share, and boom, you can track how many times its clicked with a high degree of granularity. You can use different links for different months or periods if you want to start really mapping out a chain….but again, I’d really take a step back towards, how successful are you at generating glowing reviews, because in all likelihood, those are what wins you booking, traditional word of mouth referral or otherwise. On that front, I have lots of ways to track to that depending on the situation, but views to book is a good one to trend for starters.
 
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