To most hospitality providers, the notion of KYC, or Know Your Customer, seems irrelevant—designed strictly to assess business relationships in the financial sector. In reality, that’s not the case. Abiding by KYC has major benefits for the hospitality industry. By vetting your guests, it protects your business and can help you generate more revenue.
That’s why Autohost created the Know Your Guest guidelines. Borrowed from KYC, the guidelines are designed to give you insight on who you’re hosting. By verifying the guest’s identity, analyzing the reservation details and implementing ongoing monitoring throughout the stay, you can significantly reduce the chances of chargebacks, parties and criminal activity.
But Know Your Guest also has a second function. By collecting information about your guests, you’re able to better anticipate their needs, improving their overall experience and increasing your chances of referrals and return guests.
Here are a couple tips on how to use the Know Your Guest guidelines to improve the stay for your short-term rental guests:
Ask why the guest is travelling
Once the guest has booked your property, start the vetting process by asking why they’re travelling. It’s a non-invasive question that gives you a sense of the guest’s intentions. Is it someone travelling for work or a vacation? Or maybe they’re celebrating an event like an anniversary?
Use this information when preparing for their stay. If they’re celebrating an anniversary, leave a bottle of champagne and a congratulatory card in their room. If it’s someone on business, ask where they’ll be working—maybe you can offer tips on places to eat or visit in the area. The gesture doesn’t have to be extravagant, but enough to make them feel special.
Request a guest list
The person who booked the reservation isn’t necessarily the only person you’re hosting. To make sure everyone is registered for the stay, ask the person who booked for a guest list. This gives you a sense of who’s staying in your property. The last thing you want is for a wild bachelorette weekend to descend on your property without your knowing.
On the flipside, you might find out that you’re hosting a family with young kids. It’s stressful corralling kids on the best of days, let alone when you’re travelling around unfamiliar territory. To help the parents out, leave some children’s books, a toy or a treat in the property. Even if the kid isn’t interested, the thought itself can win the parents over.
Check if the guest has stayed with you before
As a professional operator, you should be keeping a record of your guests. This way, you can quickly identify who has stayed with you before. It’s also helpful to make notes on any guests who’ve caused issues or messes during their stay. If they try to book again, you can immediately flag them.
For the good guests, use the information in your guest database to welcome them back with a personalized greeting. This shows how much you appreciate their business. You can also use the information you have on file to address any preferences they had last time they stayed.
Take note of the length of stay
From a safety standpoint, the length of stay can reveal a lot about the guest’s intentions. For instance, a one-night booking on a weekend can be an indication of a party. It’s worth following up with the guest to learn about their plans for the stay.
In terms of customer service, the length of stay helps you better anticipate the guest’s needs. Particularly during a pandemic, you want to avoid having your cleaners make unnecessary stops into your properties. For longer stays, make sure items like toilet paper, soap, detergents for the washing machine or dishwasher, and other household essentials are adequately stocked before the guest arrives.
Start the guest's stay off right
Open communication is key to understanding and meeting guest expectations. To make this manageable, set up automated messages through your PMS to request additional information, or use Autohost, which has custom screens where you can collect any information you need from the guest.
By gathering extra information, you can make sure your guest has their dream stay, translating to future referrals and return guests. Start 2021 off right by using the Know Your Guest guidelines to up your hosting game.