From the get-go, Phillip was keen to provide guests with a great experience, from their first interaction with the rental listing right the way through to check-out. That all starts with ensuring the listing content is as accurate and high-quality as it possibly can be, particularly when it comes to rates: “If your rates are too low and a customer sends an inquiry, you’ve then got a very tough job trying to justify that increase. It’s a little bit unprofessional not to have the correct information there for the customer.” Following the actual booking process, Phillip’s approach is to communicate with guests and build rapport before their stay. By the time they arrive, the team is already on first name terms with guests having exchanged lots of emails and messages. This individual approach extends to providing the very best experience for each and every guest during their stay. In Holiday Villa Thailand’s first 12 months, Phillip quickly found that trying to establish a template or basic package for guests wasn’t going to work – because the requirements were different every time. “Every customer is different. Some guests are more than happy to have next-to-no involvement with the host. Other guests request everything, from airport transfers to a private chef, a birthday cake or even all their tours and excursions fully arranged complete with a timetable.” Setting up the infrastructure to provide those tours and activities can take a long time, but Phillip’s team are now using TAP–TripAdvisor’s Travel Agent Program.
This new feature has allowed them to find and book experiences for guests while earning 8% commission in the process, simplifying and monetizing a service they were already providing.