Guest Post by Damon Stoddard of Marina's Edge
Let me start by introducing myself. I am Damon Stoddard. I co-own a vacation rental property on beautiful Lake Chelan in Washington State. My wife and I visited Lake Chelan in 2011 and by June of 2013 we owned a brand new vacation rental called Marina's Edge. When we opened in 2013 we knew nothing about vacation rentals. I am professionally trained as a Six Sigma Master Black Belt (simply stated, I have built my career on continuously improving the companies I work for through the implementation of systems and the analysis of data). It turns out these skills have really helped our vacation rental business. In our third year of business we are building a second building!
In the book the eMyth Revisited, Michael Gerber encourages everyone to "Work on their business, not in their business". It was this thought process that led me to OwnerReservations, and today I couldn't be happier with this vacation rental software system. I approached the purchase of OwnerReservations with the intent of using it as our booking SYSTEM (Saves You Stress, Time, Energy, and Money).
In this blog I'm going to talk about how OwnerReservations has helped us focus on continuously improving our customers' experience. We use an approach called Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gather customer feedback.
The email triggering mechanism in OwnerReservations allows us to automatically send a survey out to every customer. In this survey we ask 4 simple questions, compute a Net Promoter Score, and get feedback about what people like about Marina's Edge and how people would like us to improve.
- On a scale of 0-10 how likely would you be to recommend a friend to Marina's Edge?
- Please explain why you chose the answer above.
- What did you enjoy most about your stay?
- What areas can we improve on?
- Other comments
We use the data from these surveys to continuously improve our customer experience. For example, in 2013 the feedback indicated three major areas that we needed to improve on (parking was confusing and guests didn't feel there was adequate room around the pool to sun bathe in, and guests mentioned the rooms were letting too much light in). We spent $50 and put up some parking signs, we also did a major landscaping improvement, adding a very large grassy area for people to enjoy. Finally, we added blackout cloth to our windows to darken the rooms. As a result, our Net Promoter Score in 2014 was 77%. For comparison purposes, a recent benchmark study showed Net Promoter scores ranging from -15% to 70% across multiple industries.
We also take the verbatims from this feedback and use a tool called "Wordle" to help us visualize the themes. Here is an example of the output from Wordle summarizing the words people use to describe Marina's Edge.
OwnerReservations makes it easy to automatically collect feedback from our customers. Tools like Net Promoter and Wordle make it easy to glean insights from the data. Marina's Edge will always use these insights to continuously improve our customers' experience while staying with us! If you would like to understand more about how we've configured OwnerReservations to collect this data feel free to email me using the link above.
I'll also be writing a few more blogs on how we are using the data and analytics from OwnerReservations to grow our business.