My Shocking Secret Shopping Finds in the Vacation Rental Industry

Abstract: The distressing truth that every VR manager needs to know about their sales operations.

We’ll all remember 2020 as a crazy year no doubt, but it was also full of new insights and perspectives. One that stands out for me in the vacation rental industry is not what you might expect given we faced an unprecedented pandemic.

Tasked to secret shop vacation rental companies nationwide began as busy work, but quickly became so much more.

My most important secret shopping find

As an industry veteran, I soon saw an alarming pattern develop – close to half didn’t answer my call. 

“I called close to 100 vacation rental management companies and nearly 50% of my calls were never answered.”

You read that right...

I called close to 100 companies during business hours looking to speak to someone about vacation rental management services. I was shocked that during my initial call, often no one would answer, and I was lucky to get a call back when I left a message.  

On average I could only reach someone to talk about their services 34% of the time. When I left a message I got a call back 57% of the time on average, nationwide. So that means 43% of the time I never heard back at all! Let that sink in…close to HALF of my calls were never answered! 

Your all for nothing marketing plan

This was mind blowing to me! All the great marketing in the world comes to nothing if an inquiry is not responded to. When I worked at a big national VR, this sort of thing would have never happened. As someone who has made a career of being in sales most of my life I know how important it is to answer the phone and you should too.

“A lead that is picked up at the time of call is 10x more likely to convert.”

There are many studies out there that talk about the odds of a sales conversion and response times. Notable sources like InsidesSales.com and MIT agree. A lead that is picked up at the time of call is 10x more likely to convert. Leads that aren’t replied to within an hour are 10x harder to convert. 

If you aren’t answering their call, are you taking good care of their property?

Back when I was answering the sales lines for that national VR we’d miss calls occasionally as we scaled. Sometimes when I called someone back they were irritated. They would tell me that their first impression of the company was not good. That if we couldn’t take their call, they didn’t feel we’d be able to take very good care of their property or respond to their needs.

First impressions are crucial, especially with phone sales. It’s no wonder that 75% of people don’t leave a message. They are shopping around, and if you answer their call you’ll likely be the one who wins their business.

Harvard Business Review did a study that shows that my numbers are on par with most businesses overall in their responsiveness.

What did I learn from secret shopping? That answering the phone is the single most important and cost effective thing you can do for your business.

Looking for more expert sales insight? I’ll be writing, “Jade’s Top 10 Tips for Converting Homeowner Leads” so stay on the lookout for that at www.vintory.com/blog.

Author: Jade Wolff

Jade’s record breaking track record spans multiple industries and product lines. Cars, jewelry, make-up, life-insurance, health products and more. She’s left unattainable benchmarks for sales teams that have followed in her tracks and re-invented corporate sales strategies along the way.

Now Jade is leading the business development team for Vintory.

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