Is Vrbo Making Customers Feel at Home With CRM Too?

Is Vrbo Making Customers Feel at Home With CRM Too?

Welcome to PostFunnel’s 28th episode in the Seven CRM Commandments series!

Today, we will be ranking the vacation rental marketplace: HomeAway – now known as Vrbo.

Vrbo, or Vacation Rentals By Owner, is a global community of homeowners and travelers, with unique properties around the world. And as they aim to match you with the perfect homes to stay in, can they also make customers feel as welcome through proper CRM practices? Their final score makes it very clear that they do.

Watch, book, and learn.

1. Be Transparent 9/10

Despite the merge with the HomeAway brand, and the ownership of a big company (Expedia Group), the brand makes considerable efforts to show their human side. And they do so by making their customers’ health a priority.

According to Short Term Rentals, the launch of Vrbo in the U.K. is meant to change the way British families travel during the coronavirus pandemic. To make it very clear to British customers, Vrbo has announced that it is taking extra measures to keep its properties clean and safe by closely following medical guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID. Vrbo is working with local governments to update its existing guidelines so customers can make informed decisions when booking homes. The brand has also introduced new tools and features, like a search filter for cleanliness.

“Holiday homes are the preferred accommodation choice for families wanting to go away again, after months of not being able to travel. And we are glad that we have the right measures and guidelines in place to provide them with a feeling of safety and security so that they can purely enjoy the change of scenery and the precious time together,” said, Vrbo president, Jeff Hurst.

2. Incentives and Perks 3/10

By subscribing to Vrbo with an email address, the brand promises customers special offers, travel inspiration, and additional perks/incentives. Asides from that, however, we didn’t receive any special offers such as a bonus code, deposit offers, discounted offer, or sign-up promo on the brand’s site.

3. Be Relevant 10/10

The homepage banner on the brand’s website is indeed relevant to the upcoming winter season – which is also, obviously, the holiday season – portraying that cozy Christmas feel:

Right underneath this banner, there’s a link to a dedicated webpage called Travel Safe. The page provides customers with all the info they need on how to travel safely during COVID. Obviously, for a product offering as such, not only is this relevant – but also rather – mandatory.

This next thing isn’t mandatory. Some might say it’s going above and beyond. Anyhow, according to WFMZ News, Vrbo and Lifetime have collaborated to create, “the real-life, one of a kind, Christmas movie-inspired vacation home that is available for stays for a limited time.”

It’ll be called the Vrbo “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” Holiday House. Located in Connecticut, the house will be available for booking this week!

“We’re having a lot of twinkly escapism fun with this, for sure,” said Lish Kennedy, Vrbo’s vice-president of brand marketing. “But it’s also a fit because Vrbo is all about family togetherness and Lifetime has put together a slate of holiday movies featuring all kinds of families. When we decided to bring a make-believe place to life in an over-the-top holiday Vrbo, we knew Lifetime would have the recipe.”

4. Be Helpful 10/10

The brand offers customers a Discovery Hub where they can browse through tips & resources, get inspired, see guidelines for homeowners and property managers, watch on-demand webinars, news & events, and access updates on the coronavirus.

In addition, the brand offers customers the ability to “Ask an Agent” questions that may be bothering them before booking.

They also have a “Book with Confidence” page as well, which helps the customer feel safe and secure to make a payment on their site. The page details “how to protect your trip before it begins.”

Finally, as mentioned above – through the brand’s “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” Holiday House – all proceeds will go to charity – which is the perfect initiative for this time of year to donate.

5. Realtime Personalization 6/10

When going back to the brand’s homepage after simply looking at one cabin near the town of Skaneateles – we were immediately prompted with similar stays in that same area – really personalizing our experience:

We were also offered to continue searching Onodaga County – our getaway of initial interest.

Finally, seems as if the brand took into consideration our interests in nature and beaches by providing us with the following personalized recommendations:

However, when exiting the site and logging onto our social media accounts, no realtime retargeting efforts were made by the brand – and they easily could have.

6. Master UX 10/10

The gallery grid view of categories is both a unique and helpful way to browse through the homes on offer – also creating an interactive and smooth UX.

When checking out a cottage that we were interested to stay in, there’s so much information available for the customer/guest – barely leaving anything out. Not only is this great for the customer but also for the Host/Brand who won’t have to deal with any of that redundant back and forth messaging before a possible booking.

Finally, the brand also has a virtual assistant chat and that’s actually helpful.

7. Leverage Social Media 10/10

Vrbo has 30k followers on its Twitter account. The brand does engage users here by tweeting funny content as well as posting images and videos that really get you into that getaway/escapism feel when scrolling down their Twitter page.

Obviously, all of it has been catered to very much suit these times in every way possible, too.

 

On Instagram, Vrbo has +265k followers and posts the same type of content as mentioned above. They also try to reach their audience on a personal level here by providing something for everyone.

A lot of their Insta posts tend to market to the user’s family – again giving that personalization feel here – allowing the customer to interact with the brand on a higher level.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Vrbo (@vrbo)

Finally, on Facebook, the travel company has 6 million page-likes. Once again, they post in high frequency here – lots of content filled with great visuals that make the user want to continue scrolling down the page and ultimately – yearn that next vacation/getaway. Well done!

 

Overall, Vrbo is getting a 58/70 here (83%) placing them in 6th place! Just a few tiny tips from us on realtime personalization as well as how to create the strongest, most long-lasting, and loyal customer relationships through promotional incentives (that make sense) – can really take Vrbo’s CRM results to the next level.

Here are the full rankings of all the brands we analyzed to date:

  1. Pets at Home 91%
  2. Lowe’s 90%
  3. Petco 90%
  4. Target 87%
  5. Uniqlo 86%
  6. Vrbo 83%
  7. West Elm 81%
  8. The North Face 81%
  9. Holland and Barret 80%
  10. Brooks Running 79%
  11. Best Buy 78%
  12. Etsy 76%
  13. The Body Shop 74%
  14. Gymshark 73%
  15. William Hill 73%
  16. Iceland Foods 71%
  17. Total Wine & More 70%
  18. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  19. Walgreens 70%
  20. Kohl’s 70%
  21. Buy Buy Baby 68%
  22. Fiverr 67%
  23. Next 63%
  24. Patagonia 61%
  25. Burberry 60%
  26. Zara 59%
  27. COS 57%
  28. Dream11 53%

We publish a new analysis every week, so watch this space for more brand analyses coming your way!

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