How to e-mail an offer in 5 minutes
To ensure that you are the first renter who will reply to guests’ inquiries with comprehensive and quality offers you must be well prepared, always available and you must have knowledge of all relevant information wherever and whenever.
The prerequisites for these conditions that will keep you ahead of the pack are listed below.
We will start with sales scripts that are unfortunately not part of daily on-line communication for most renters and that are not as popular as they should be.
Sales scripts are templates used for portions of contracts or as replies for various inquiries. Guests most often ask similar questions so it makes sense to prepare unified answers for all frequent questions. An advantage of scripts is that you will have to invest more time only when preparing them and simply use them when necessary while you only have to change certain parts of them (name, date, accommodation unit number, etc.).
Since scripts are prepared for a longer period of time make sure that they include all important information, that they are detailed, that they cover as many questions as possible, that important links are included, that they are interpreted into several most popular languages, etc. Finally, place them in the Drafts folder or some other specific folder within your e-mail and give them a well defined title so that you can quickly locate them.
Along with answers to frequently asked questions, also create a text for offers for new guests, for confirmation of received advanced payments and all other e-mails that you regularly send.
Without sales scripts you can forget about quick e-mail replies to guests’ inquiries.
If you normally send offers along with the e-mails you write, like we do, this document can be prepared as a template that can be quickly modified and sent to a guest. You can save even more time if you allow the data in proposal templates to change automatically.
Programs such as Microsoft Word allow you to define and link individual fields with mathematical operations just like in Excel spreadsheets thus enabling you to change only some fields while the entire offer then changes automatically. This comes in handy when you, for example, modify the duration and price of offered accommodation while all other information such as daily rates, total price, the amount of advance payment and discounts are calculated automatically.
Exchange or IMAP e-mail protocol
You can learn about the differences between email protocols here. We use IMAP since it is free and it is a standard part of each e-mail server today. An advantage of both protocols over the standard POP3 protocol is the fact that it synchronizes data between an e-mail server and all devices that have access to it.
This allows users to transfer everything that is being done on one device to the main e-mail server and all other devices being used. This means that after an e-mail is read or after you send a reply these changes will be reflected on other devices and you will not have perform manual data sync.
Also, all of your prepared templates and all folders that you created in your e-mail application will always be available and all changes will be synchronized across all devices. IMAP will make it look like you are using just one computer for e-mail while in fact you are using several of them. You also will not have to worry about being able to receive e-mail on your mobile device if your home computer is turned on and more people will be able to use a single e-mail account on several locations without fear that guests will receive duplicate replies.
Since you cannot always be next to your computer at the reception it is important to have a device that you can always carry with you. It does not matter whether this will be a Smartphone, a small notebook computer or a tablet like an iPad, as long as you are able to go on-line, receive and send e-mails, edit documents and carry out similar tasks.
It is best for this device to be as small and as effective as possible to improve your mobility and availability. If you choose an iPhone, an Android device or a Blackberry you will certainly make the right decision. Just make sure that the device is aesthetically appealing and functional as well as that it is set to check for e-mails as often as possible.
Non-stop Internet access
Although Internet access is a must in order to use the full potential of any Smartphone this requires special attention. Unfortunately, many Smartphone users cannot use their devices properly when out of Wi-Fi range – they can only make and accept calls and text messages.
Since data plans are not as expensive and unavailable as they used to be and their speed is now acceptable, there is no reason not to have a data plan. Each mobile provider now offers special reasonably priced data plans for mobile and laptop devices. Therefore, contact your provider to learn more about these plans and to use your device to its full capacity.
Dropbox and similar web services
If you have specially designed seasonal price lists and you know that the demand for them will be high it is important to have them available at all times and wherever you are. The same applies for all other documents that you use. This is where Dropbox takes over. Simply put, Dropbox is for all computer folders and their documents the same as IMAP is for e-mail.
Once you set and sync your documents with the Dropbox server, this information will always be available regardless of which computer you are using and all changes will be instantly synchronized. Of course, you can have all your documents with you if you sync your devices manually or via e-mail by saving important documents as attachments in your Drafts folder, but Dropbox is simpler and more powerful as well as free and this is why we recommend it instead of all alternatives.
Another tip for using Dropbox for your daily renting business can be read here: How to send an e-mail with an attachment but without increasing its size.
On-line web service or program for reservation management
If you do not manage reservations manually in notebooks or Word and Excel spreadsheets (I hope that you don’t) but use a special offline program instead, you can have difficulties accessing that information. All aforementioned advices are pointless if you are not able to check your vacancies “on the fly” and provide guests with accurate feedback about their availability. This is why it is important to use an application that can publish and refresh information about vacancies on-line or to use a web service such as our VELUMrent that allows you to do this – gain instant access to information about vacancies that is available at all times and from any modern device that can go on-line.
If you follow all of these advices it is very unlikely that you will ever again be in a situation where you cannot react instantly to an e-mail or that you will not be able to reply to an inquiry with a professional and quality offer within 5 minutes after receiving it. This means that guests could receive your reply even before they contact every renter they are interested in. Imagine how pleasantly surprised they will be with such quick and well prepared response and this is why you will probably move to the top of their list.
If you can recommend some other programs, processes or services that are of use to you for quick replies to guests’ inquiries tell us about them in the comments.