How something as simple as s toll free number can boost your bookings by as much as 18%
No matter the industry and regardless of the size of your company, a toll free phone number is an indispensable business asset that can provide a great ROI.
And that goes double for businesses within the hospitality industry.
Offering a toll free number for your vacation rental business, whether on your website or on your advertisement listings (or both), will also help to provide a very important customer service element is proven to increase overall bookings.
A study over at SideStep even found that adding a toll free number can increase overall bookings as much as 18%. And another study according to Key Metrics Inc found that 60% of online searches for travel and hospitality result in a telephone call.*
Now these are somewhat general statistics, and not necessarily specific to the vacation rental industry. All the same, it shows us that picking up the phone is still a tough habit to break for a significant number of travellers.
But 18%!?! Really?
OK, so let's say your vacation rental property generates about $15K-$20K a year in bookings. That would mean a $2,700 to $3,600 increase in revenue for the year. Just for listing a toll free number?
How exactly can advertising a toll free number for your vacation rental business help increase your bookings by that much??
Well, we've put together three logical explanations we hope will help you understand just that.
Explanation Number 1:
Qualified calls + complete mobility = increased organization + serenity
Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what kind of call is coming in?
Well, you actually can!
A toll free number can actually be used as a screening tool to qualify calls. It’s as easy as creating a specific extension for booking inquiries, one for current or confirmed guests, and another for general inquiries.
With the capability to forward all three extensions to the same number, you’ll be able to differentiate between;
1) which calls are going to make you money,
2) which ones telling you that you need take care of your guests,
3) and which ones are most probably sales calls you don’t have time for…
A toll free number can easily be forwarded to your cell phone too. Or any other number for that matter. Which means that your physical location really doesn’t matter.
Combine the freedom of complete mobility with notifications for qualified calls about your property(ies), and what do you get?
No more unwanted sales calls and the liberty to focus on running your business and making money.
We’d say that’s a pretty nice combo.
Explanation Number 2:
Greater accessibility = improved customer satisfaction + increased revenue
Not only can a toll free number get you more calls, but the other side to making yourself more accessible is customer satisfaction.
But what kind of impact can customer satisfaction have on your bookings?
Well, hospitality experts have actually found that travellers who call in to make reservations tend to spend more than their non-calling counterparts.
And when you really think about it, it makes perfect sense.
The easier you make it for your potential guests to contact you, the quicker it is for you to help with any questions or reservations they may have.
It helps to build trust and decrease any potential frustrations. It’s the perfect combination to help someone feel better about spending thousands of dollars renting your vacation home.
Explanation Number 3:
Improved credibility + greater accessibility = increased bookings & revenue
There’s no argument that a toll free number with a recorded greeting will increase your vacation rental business’ credibility and enhance its overall image.
But how does this translate into more bookings?
Well, besides the fact that you’ll receive more calls... the answer is; first impressions.
It goes without saying that you only get one shot at a first impression. And the reason your first impression is so important is because it sets a precedent that will stick.
From the moment the traveller spots your number on the listing, to the recorded friendly greeting they hear when they call, all the way up to the actual booking confirmation, the impact of that first impression is present throughout.
What to draw from all of this.
At the end of the day, toll-free numbers give vacation rentals the opportunity to maximize customer satisfaction and increase customer retention by providing your travellers with an immediate point of contact.
And as a result, the long-term benefits show in increase in overall bookings by almost 20%.
A mere $12/month expense could quite possibly help to increase your revenue by thousands of dollars.
Obviously, there’s no guarantee that your bookings will increase by that much. But there’s also no doubt that adding a toll free number to all of your marketing will help. And one thing is for sure, vacation rental owners and managers simply cannot afford to ignore the facts.
The only real way to know for sure is to test it out for yourself. Weight the pros and the cons, the risks vs the rewards. Ultimately the choice is up to you.
We found a great company that will not only forward calls to any number (even mobile phones), but their service will also make your small business sound like a fortune 500 company for just $12/month.
It's called Grasshopper. And just to give you a little idea; we use it, and we love it.
Try them today, and we’ll even give you a 75$ coupon! That’s almost 6 months free!
Cick here to take a look and see what they’re all about!