How to Convert Leads into Bookers: the Booking Process for Holiday Parks
Thanks to your brilliant marketing efforts, you have leads and plenty of them. But how do you convert potential guests into actual paying ones? That is where the booking process for holiday parks comes in. You can achieve lead conversion in three ways. We will guide you through each, then show you what you need to do to confirm a conversion.
The job, however, doesn’t end there. Finally, we will teach you the simple secrets behind turning guests into repeat guests and promoters of your park.
Holiday park websites
The simplest way to convert leads is to set up your website for conversion then sit back and let it do the job.
This is the ideal scenario: your marketing content entices a potential guest to visit your website. Once there, your website’s easy to navigate layout, attractive pictures and informative, persuasive text convinces them to book a holiday there and then.
They choose their accommodation, select their dates, then complete a booking form. Job done. No further effort is needed. Thanks to your excellent website, your visitor has leapfrogged the lead stage altogether.
That should be happening. Websites are a key part of the bookings process for holiday parks. Your website should convert a fair proportion of visitors on its own whether they are already leads when they visit or not. How many will depend on how effectively designed it is. Most leads, however, will need more persuasion before they are willing to hand over their hard-earned money.
Convert leads using marketing content
When a lead voluntarily submits their contact details to you it is a gesture that they have taken interest in your park. Well done, that means your awareness stage content – the marketing content that makes your target audience aware of your park – has done the trick. But a lead’s interest may only be vague. If so, you will need to do some nurturing if you want to grow that interest until it flowers into a booking.
Decision stage marketing content is another big part of the booking process for holiday parks. As the name suggests, this content is designed to prompt, coax or incentivise those it is aimed at to make a purchase. Special offers, availability notices, even simple guides to your accommodation can give leads that little nudge they need to convince them that your park is their best choice of holiday destination. That is the key here. This style of content should focus on making bookers out of leads. In other words, people who are already aware of your park and why they would want to holiday there.
Customer service for holiday parks
Conversion can and should also be entrusted to skilled customer service agents. Smooth speakers who are knowledgeable about their park and its surrounding area can and often do charm casual enquirers into paying guests.
Whenever an enquirer phones you, they can easily be turned into a lead if they are not one already. Or better still, into a booker. While an enquirer is on the phone you have their full attention, so make sure to let them know all about that special offer you have on. If, when you ask what type of holiday they like, they say walking holidays, make sure you describe the sweeping valley-length views of patchwork fields and ancient, church spire-tipped villages visible from the nearby ridge-top walking trail in brief but vivid, inspiring detail. Give them reasons to make a booking.
Follow-ups are another excellent tool in the customer service for holiday parks conversion toolbox. They are also a great excuse to ask enquirers for their contact details if you do not have them already.
Whenever an enquirer gives you an excuse to follow them up on something, make sure you act on it. For example, if you could not meet an enquirer’s requirement for a 2-bed, 4-person caravan, follow up on them with alternatives. What about the 1-bed with additional fold-out bed and stunning views over the lake? Follow-ups can be made by phone or by email. Better still, you can phone then email.
The customer service conversion process works in just the same way it does with your marketing content. Address the needs of your leads, appeal to their interests and frame your park as their ideal holiday destination. Then if they are still hanging on the fence, give them an extra little incentive to convert. A ‘just for you’ discount might seal the deal.
Good customer service also has a powerful soft conversion influence. Call a business and hear a friendly voice on a phone and suddenly it becomes human. As steadily more and more businesses neglect this simple effect in the online era, its power only increases. People are more inclined to trust a company they have had a positive person-to-person interaction with. When people trust, they are more likely to do business.
Remember, the pillars of effective customer service are politeness, friendliness, and helpfulness. It does not matter whether you are handling an enquiry or a complaint, the same applies. Timely responses are important too. Do not leave enquirers hanging. Do, and before you know it, they will go from interested to irritated.
Mistakes can be made, bad things can happen, and occasionally a guest will not enjoy their stay on your park. When this happens, there is a danger that that disappointed guest will leave you a bad online review. If they do, it falls to your customer services to save the day.
Here are some tips for dealing with bad reviews:
- Always post a reply
- But only reply after you know exactly what went wrong and why
- Explain in your reply what went wrong and what you have done to resolve the issues mentioned by the guest in their bad review
- Be apologetic and understanding
Get a bad review and deal with it well, and it may even add credibility to your nice collection of glowing ones. Posting a response based on the above tips will show that you are serious about the welfare of your guests and about improving the standard of the holiday experience they have on your park.
How to confirm leads
Your efforts have paid off. You have created a lead and converted them into a booker. Congratulations, you have earned yourself money and passed the biggest milestone. But there is still work to be done. Now that a booking has been made, you need to confirm it.
To confirm a lead, follow this process or one similar:
- Ask the booker to pay a deposit to secure their selected dates and accommodation
- When you receive the deposit, send the booker an email to confirm that their selected dates and accommodation are secure and state or reiterate the date by which final payment is due
- Make sure the booker pays the final balance on or before the stated due date
- If the booker does not pay the final balance by the agreed date, send them a reminder
All the details you need to know about the booker and their party should have been requested and collected by the booking form. Make sure personal details, the booker’s payment status and details such as chosen dates and accommodation are stored in your booking system.
When you send the booker their confirmation email, do not forget to say how much you are looking forward to seeing them. Do they have any special requirements? Make sure you ask. If they do, accommodate for them.
When your booker’s holiday draws near you need to send them their pre-arrival information. Extras such as guides on your surrounding area and nearby restaurant recommendations will be appreciated. They add fun to what might otherwise be an email worth of dry information and help build holiday anticipation.
Again, remember to say how much you are looking forward to seeing your booker. Then sit tight and await their arrival.
Delight your guests
The big moment has arrived. Your booker has passed through your gates and is ready to check-in. At this point the booking process for holiday parks is complete. The work then passes from your back office over to you and your front of house staff.
But there is an important point to remember at this stage: for all the power of effective marketing, it has yet to replace word of mouth as the swiftest spreader of messages and the strongest determiner of reputations.
If most of your guests enjoy their stay, they will tell their friends all about what a wonderful place your park is to holiday at. Word will ripple through extended social networks and your reputation will grow steadily bigger and better. But if lots of your guests do not enjoy their stay, expect your customer base to evaporate.
Attentive hosting and well-maintained accommodation and facilities should be your main concerns, but the process for making and paying for a booking on your website matters too. People like ease and simplicity. They also like to be treated well.
“Making the booking was easy and their customer service were a pleasure to deal with.”
Is what you want your guests to tell their friends. To get them to, ensure the booking process is easy and your customer service staff are a pleasure to deal with. All this will help polish that extra little sparkle into your reputation.
Satisfied guests are worth many times what they paid for their booking. Not only do they effectively become living marketing material, but you also have their contact details. This means that the moment they leave your park, they simply revert to being a lead. A much more easily convertible lead, too – they know first-hand just how great your park is.
Ask guests for reviews
If your guests have enjoyed their stay, you can be confident they will say good words about your park. That is great, but there is a downside… You have no way of capturing those words and making your own use of them. Luckily, this problem has a remedy: ask your satisfied guests to write a brief review of their stay.
Online reviews carry a huge weight of influence. According to Nielsen Holdings, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from people they know. For many, online reviews hold sway over their final decision whether or not to click the button that will process their payment. This is especially true of people who are purchasing from a business for the first time.
A collection of recent, positive reviews is a fantastic source of material to post on your social accounts and to decorate your website with. So do everything you can to help your guests enjoy their stay and be sure to ask the ones that clearly have, to write you a short review.
Independent review websites are the most trusted of all so encourage some of your happy guests to post their positivity on websites such as Feefo or TripAdvisor.
There you have it. Follow this advice on the bookings process for holiday parks, make sure your customer services are at the standard they should be, and you will get much better at turning leads into bookers, then guests, then repeat guests, then promoters.
There is no denying that the skills needed to streamline your booking process take a lot of practice to master. If you choose, you can save time and effort by getting professionals to do the job for you.
The Gold Standard Service
Michael Paul’s Gold Standard service is ready and waiting to provide you with a virtual back office staffed by a 17-strong team of UK holiday lettings experts.
The team includes industry specialist marketeers, marketing strategists, writers, designers and customer service professionals poised to handle all areas of your park’s bookings process and customer services.
If you wish, the service can also handle your digital marketing, traditional marketing and revenue management.
All work produced by your Gold Standard virtual back office will be done in your name, under your branding. You will be happy to know that the costs are guaranteed to be outweighed by what is likely to be £1000s of extra income that the service will earn for you.
To discuss how the Gold Standard service will benefit your business,
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