The Art of Overdelivering: ‘Unreasonable Hospitality’ Lessons for Short-Term Rental Managers

Thibault Masson

The Art of Overdelivering: 'Unreasonable Hospitality' Lessons for Short-Term Rental Managers

Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect” emerges as an indispensable resource for vacation rental managers seeking to elevate their guest experiences. Authored by Will Guidara, a distinguished figure in the realm of hospitality renowned for his transformative work at New York’s Eleven Madison Park, this book serves as a treasure trove of insights and strategies for those in the vacation rental industry. Guidara masterfully translates his expertise from the high-stakes world of fine dining to the nuanced domain of vacation rentals, offering readers a guide to crafting unforgettable stays for their guests.

Guidara champions the philosophy of “unreasonable hospitality,” advocating for a level of service and attentiveness that goes far beyond the expected. This book is more than a collection of hospitality tips; it is a manifesto for creating deep, meaningful connections with guests through thoughtful gestures and a dedication to exceeding expectations. By sharing stories, practical advice, and his own philosophical musings, Guidara inspires vacation rental managers to transform their properties into havens of extraordinary experiences.

For managers looking to distinguish their offerings in a crowded market, “Unreasonable Hospitality” provides the blueprint for building a brand synonymous with memorable stays. Guidara’s approach is a testament to the power of hospitality in forging lasting impressions and ensuring guests leave with stories worth sharing. This book is not only an essential read for those directly involved in the vacation rental business but also for anyone committed to making a difference in the lives of others through unparalleled service and care.

Below, we uncover some of the key hospitality principles Will lays out and explore how you, as a short-term rental manager, can weave these into the fabric of your properties.

Embrace Personalization at Every Touchpoint

Use the pre-booking inquiry and booking process to gather information about the guests’ preferences and reasons for their stay. Customize the pre-arrival communication and welcome messages accordingly. For example, if a guest is visiting for a birthday, include a small gift or decoration to celebrate.

Anticipate Needs Before They Are Expressed

Equip your properties with amenities that cater to the typical needs of your guests, which could be based on the location (e.g., beach umbrellas for beachfront properties) or guest demographics (e.g., high chairs for families). Operations and housekeeping teams should be trained to think proactively about what might enhance a guest’s stay.

Empower Employees to Make Decisions

Allow your team members, especially those in operations and on-the-ground support, the autonomy to solve guest issues without always needing managerial approval. For instance, if a guest has a minor complaint, empower the team to offer a token of apology, such as a discount on a future stay or a complimentary late check-out.

Cultivate a Culture of Hospitality

Foster a team environment where every member, from maintenance to management, understands they play a crucial role in guest satisfaction. Regularly share guest feedback, especially positive reviews, to reinforce the impact of their contributions.

Leverage Technology to Enhance Human Connection

Use automated systems not just for efficiency but to enhance the guest experience. Personalize automated communications as much as possible and ensure your systems facilitate rather than hinder personal interaction when needed. For instance, if a guest prefers to talk to someone directly, they should easily be able to reach a team member.

Focus on the Small Details That Make a Big Difference

It’s often the little things that leave a lasting impression. Ensure your vacation rentals are not just clean but immaculately presented. Small touches like a welcome note, locally sourced snacks, or bespoke recommendations for their stay can significantly elevate the guest experience.

Respond to Feedback with Action

Treat guest feedback as a valuable resource for continuous improvement. Follow up on feedback, both positive and negative, and make visible changes based on guest suggestions. Communicate these changes back to guests to show that you value their input.

Surprise and Delight

Look for opportunities to surprise guests with unexpected gestures. This could range from sending a reminder with weather forecasts and suggested packing tips before their arrival to offering a complimentary extension of their stay if bookings allow.

Recover Gracefully from Service Failures

When something goes wrong, act swiftly and generously to make it right. The goal is to turn a potential negative experience into a positive story that guests might share. Training and empowering your team to handle these situations can turn challenges into opportunities for memorable service.

Never Stop Innovating

The vacation rental industry is dynamic, with guest expectations constantly evolving. Stay ahead by regularly reviewing and updating your services, properties, and guest interactions based on feedback and industry trends.

By weaving these principles into the fabric of their operations, vacation rental managers can create exceptional experiences that not only satisfy guests but turn them into advocates, all while distinguishing their brand in a competitive marketplace.

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