I like to be made to feel special.
I am just tickled by a thoughtful person mentioning how cute my new slippers are that I wore to work today (gray and white striped with bright yellow soles, a Christmas gift, from a wonderful sister-in-law, that I wear every day to work).
Why wouldn’t you want to make your guests tickled pink with your thoughtfulness then?
Why not create a custom experience just for them, an experience that helps to make their stay at your place not just a passing thought of a great vacation, but a milestone of a fabulous vacation?
More value for their vacation dollars.
The custom app from Glad to Have You™ has become one of those “extras” I am now using for that edge. To create a milestone in my guests’ vacation memories.
You have most likely read the latest advice from the big blogs in the vacation rental industry about being a local travel guide (Rent More Weeks), adding guidebooks to your offerings (My VR blog), and to help your guests, not just sell to them (Vacation Rental Marketing Blog).
This new app fulfills the above advice, what timing! It is exactly what I have been waiting for, and I have been super duper excited about putting it to the test this past fall with my guests.
So here are my thoughts on the Glad to Have You™ app:
Simple. Intuitive. Easy to navigate. You really can't mess it up when setting up your property.
The app requires only the pertinent property information to make the app experience the best possible for you and your guests – property name, address, verify the location on a Google map, and the check-in / check-out times.
Next, you set up the messages that your guests will receive. A nice touch is that the Glad to Have You™ gurus have the invite, welcome, and other messages already written and ready to go for you in the app, but you can also tweak those or completely change the messages to better reflect your voice if you would like. I chose to tweak the words slightly, as their friendly messages mirror my voice to our guests already – a lighthearted and enthusiastic tone.
The fun stuff is next.
There are blocks for each type of key information you want to make sure is available to your guests. Each block has an appropriate icon and a colored band behind the title so that the guest can easily scan the app to look for the info they need.
Before arrival blocks include car directions, check-in details, parking locations, pets, a what to pack list, and even a what’s provided list.
I like that I am able to use bold, italics, underline, and a few other formatting options in the text when I input the information.
What I don’t like is not able to hyperlink some of the text to other websites. For example, I have a no pets policy. But some guests ask if there is a boarding house nearby for their furry friend. I list the nearby pet boarding houses inside the Pets block, but would like to link the website so that the guest could simply tap the link and go directly to the boarding house site for additional information.
The Glad guys say they are working on this capability, so I am looking forward to that in an update.
Then there are the rental instructions blocks. These cover nearly everything. Seriously. I only use maybe two-thirds of the available blocks because they don’t all apply to my vacation rentals.
Here are a few that I use:
The coffee maker block includes Keurig troubleshooting tips.
The helpful tips block mentions that they should buy more toilet paper if they run out of the 3 rolls per bathroom the housekeeper stocked, as well as where the extra light bulbs are located in case a bulb goes out during their stay.
The TV/cable block lists the TV channels that we have with our cable subscription.
Other blocks that I don’t use include ocean tides, skiing, elevator, rainy days, and more.
And if you have buy imitrex more than one property that has identical information, simply create each property and then the modules can be saved for one property or across the board for all of your properties.
For example, the block with coffee information is the same for both of our properties. I enter it once, and then click to save to all properties. Boo-yah!
Each property set up took me maybe 10 minutes each. I had all of the info for each of the app's blocks handy on my website already, so it was super easy to pull the info into the app using copy/paste.
The only thing you can't copy over from one property to another are the local suggestions. I had to highlight our fave restaurants on each property. Not a big deal, but it did take a couple minutes extra.
You can also recommend the closest grocery stores, gas stations, best bars and coffee shops, movie theatres, area attractions, and more.
At minimum, you will need to enter the guest name and email address. I also enter the guest phone number and mailing address. Why? The app sends me an email the day of the guest’s arrival, and this email includes their name and phone number. I can then open the email on my iPhone, click the phone number, and call the guest to make sure they arrived safely. I love not having to go look up the name and phone number of the guest arriving that day. It's right there at my fingertips.
So downside of the app is that it does not import or export info with the HomeAway ReservationManager™ at this time. It would be awesome if that were possible, so you will have double entering guest info currently if you use RM.
Same with the calendar. HomeAway does not allow imports on the calendar for us individual owners, only exports. The Glad guys are working on one day getting the capability to have the Glad calendar sync into HA, but it's not here yet.
This app is for owners with just one to ten properties. If you have buy ativan more rentals, you will want to check out the professional version of Glad, which does do more syncing from what I understand.
What the guest sees
When does the guest first receive the email to download the Glad app? Usually about 10 minutes after I enter their reservation into the app. At first I was concerned that the guest would have access to all of the info immediately, including the directions and security code. Guests make reservations up to 18 months in advance, and I want a signed rental agreement and full payment before they have all of the sensitive info.
The app is smart. It does not include the directions, map, or security code until three things have been met in the app.
1. Marked as paid in full.
2. Marked that the contract is signed.
3. There are 14 days until arrival (or less if you enter the info closer to their arrival).
Sweet! No longer do I need to send out the code or directions. I just need to let the guest know that it will magically appear in the app two weeks before their arrival.
Two days before arrival, the app emails the guest again to make sure they don't forget to download it to their smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android). They can also open it on their computer if they like. I have noticed that this is also the time that the guest remembers to invite others in their group to download the app as well. So this means that the friends and family have the info at their fingertips, too.
As the guest’s stay proceeds, the blocks of information move around a bit, pushing the important information to the top of the app screen. First, the welcome info and directions are on the top. After arrival, the activity and house info will be on the top. And then before the guest departs, the check out instructions are on top.
While the guest is there, the app will even send push notifications for things like trash day to make sure the guest remembers to get the trash to the curb if they need to.
Other features that you can integrate into the app include syncing with the BeHome247 and LockState door locks or the house cleaning notification option. I have not used this feature since we currently use the Schlage LiNK locks with the Nexia system.
The Glad app will auto send a review request to your guest if you like. And the guest can easily tell you how much they loved your place and even include a photo.
However, I did turn this feature off as it is not hooked up to any of the big listing sites. I prefer to have my guests leave a review on my property listings with the listing sites like VRBO.com. After the stay, I send my guest an email thanking them for staying and request that they leave a review, including links directly to the review forms.
Thank you message
I do like the thank you message that the Glad app sends to the guest. It's a simple note that the guest receives by email the day they depart. What I would love to see is the ability for this email to have embedded links so I can include the request to leave a review on the listing sites. But for now, I will continue with my follow up email the day following their departure.
The app won't replace my welcome book at my properties, but it does reinforce the info and give additional information so that my guests can have a more custom experience while on vacation. It also puts the info more easily into their hands.
The wifi code, Keurig troubleshooting, and what paper products we provide are all right there, answering the guest's questions without them having to ask me. I also list the types of towels provided, the kitchen appliances, and extra items we provide for guests to use at our places, as well as important notes about the AC so the unit doesn't freeze up.
Would I recommend the Glad to Have You™ app to other vacation rental owners? Yes, absolutely!
Now, this app is not for you if you are wanting a complete reservation management system that syncs all calendars and tracks payments and downloads to your QuickBooks. Check out the professional version for all of that.
My guests have loved having the information so easily available to them. And I have succeeded in letting them know that we appreciate our guests so much that we have invested in this custom app just for them to use.
Oh, I forgot to mention the price of the app!
It feels like nearly nothing at just $9.99 per month. I was actually able to cancel a different guest management subscription that was costing me $24.99 per month when I started using the Glad to Have You™ app. Score!
And if you sign up for a year, you get a 20% discount, making the price right at $100 per year. Note that it is not per property, but per account.
BONUS: Use my link to get a 90 day FREE trial.
Marketing gurus tell you not to skimp on your marketing budget. No need to skimp here – just do it. You will be glad you have Glad to Have You™.
In case you missed the link to the Glad to Have You™ website, click here. (Update 3-6-2014: HomeAway has acquired the Glad app and made it FREE to all of their subscribers. Sign up here if you are on HomeAway or VRBO. Note that it is US properties only as of right now.)
Comment below to let me know if you use the app also and what you think of it.
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P.S. I send out a vacation rental marketing tips email a few times each month. You should sign up for it right here:
P.P.S. The links above let Glad to Have You™ know that I sent you over to them. Thanks!
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