We have released two new features for the Inquiry Response Manager that work together to ensure the alternate vacation rental properties suggested to a potential guest when the requested property is unavailable are perfect matches!
The two new features are: configurable alternative unit matching logic and the ability to specifically assign alternate units to individual vacation rental properties.
The video below walks through these two new features demonstrating how they work by configuring the alternative unit matching logic and examining how the autoresponder changes its response based on the new settings.
Alternative Unit Matching Logic
When a guest submits an inquiry from VRBO, VacationRentals.com, HomeAway.com or FlipKey.com and the property is not available for their arrival and departure dates then the autoresponder attempts to identify 3 alternative units that the guest might be interested in that are available for their vacation. In order to ensure the alternative properties suggested meet the criteria your guests are most interested in we have added the ability to configure which details about the properties should match exactly and which details should potentially match. Matching logic provides many fields to choose from including (but not limited to) Bedrooms, Bathrooms, View, Location and Type.
An important factor in many vacation rental decisions is the number of bedrooms. If your collection of properties has a wide range of bedrooms then you can specifically configure the matching logic to require that the alternative units must have the same number of bedrooms to the one the guest inquired about. This will ensure that even if a guest submitted an inquiry with only 4 adult guests requesting a 4 bedroom unit that the alternatives chosen would not simply be able to sleep 4, it will be a 4 bedroom unit.
If you know your guests choose units based on the unit type and view but don’t feel like they should be required when matching alternatives then you can configure the autoresponder to use the property type and view fields as optional criteria which will ensure the autoresponder first attempts to find properties of the same type and view. If 3 alternatives cannot be generated then the single lowest ranking optional criteria will be removed. In this case the autoresponder would attempt to find alternative properties that match the same property type as the inquired unit. If after exhausting all the potential matches for unit type there are still not 3 available alternatives then the autoresponder will search again for units using the required fields as matching criteria.
To allow perfect accuracy when choosing alternative properties to suggest to a guest who’s requested a property that’s not available for their selected arrival and departure dates you can specifically select the properties that should be sent.
This feature can be used in an inclusive manner to ensure that the selected alternatives are prioritized before searching for others and are checked for availability first. If 3 of the selected alternatives are available then the autoresponder will respond with selected units. If less than 3 of the selected units are available then the autoresponder can fall back to the configured matching logic to search the entire inventory of properties to build a list of 3 available properties for the response to the guest.
This feature can also be used to ensure the response is exclusively comprised of only the selected alternatives. If you do not want any other properties except those specifically selected as alternatives for any given vacation rental then the autoresponder can be configured to only use the selected properties as alternatives.