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Offer Deeply Discounted Gap Night to Channel Guest With Contact Information Days Before Arrival

Triggers give you a powerful way to communicate automatically. You can respond to guests with personalized messages or notify third parties without lifting a finger!  To read more about triggers, check out our Trigger overview support article. We've created a small library of trigger examples to help get you started.

In this example, we're dealing with a booking for the following scenario:

Scenario: Offer Discounted Gap Night to Channel Guests With Contact Information

Gap nights are a big opportunity to juice revenue. One big thing in vacation rentals is maximizing nights booked and occupancy by up-selling your "gap" or "hole" nights between bookings. You can do this by getting more bookings, but if you can get a guest who's already booked to add a day to their booking, that's a win/win. You can discount it deeply because there are no additional fixed costs like cleaning fees or utilities, so you get a few extra bucks, and the guest gets to stay an extra day at a discount. Learn more by reading our Gap Management support article.

This article assumes that you already have your guest's contact information (real email address, phone number, etc.) from the channel booking. Thus, you can easily reach out to them by email, channel, or phone to send a personalized email offering discounted gap nights for their upcoming trip.

Note: Why can't you use a platform email or proxy email address like "joe.blow.12345@messages.airbnb.com" or "joe.blow.12345@messages.booking.com?" These platform/proxy email addresses aren't real. If you send messages to them, your message will be collected by the channel, stripped, re-formatted and displayed on the channel's message platform in various ways that typically don't work well for email.

By setting up an emailchannel, or SMS template and trigger, you can send a personalized message offering discounted gap nights to guests a couple of days following their initial booking. OwnerRez can do that for you with message triggers.

Here are the steps for how to set up a template and trigger for this scenario:

  1. Create a booking email template offering deeply discounted gap nights to channel guests with contact information
  2. Create a trigger that applies to bookings offering deeply discounted gap nights to channel guests with contact information
  3. Variations

Create a booking email template offering deeply discounted gap nights to channel guests with contact information

There are three choices for the type of template you can create - email, channel, and SMS.  These are the delivery methods that will be used for your response.  To send these types of templates, the booking must have contact information you can reply to.  For instance, if you want to send an SMS message as your reply, the guest must have provided a phone number with their booking.  Likewise, if you want to send a message on Vrbo, the booking must have come through Vrbo, to begin with, so that our system knows how to deliver your response back to the correct Vrbo thread.

Email Offer

First, we'll create an email template, so go to Settings > Templates > Email tab > click the Create Email Template button > select the "Booking" option. This will open an email editor with some sample field codes filled in.  For detailed information about how email templates work, check out the email templates overview article and field codes article. 

Copy and paste the following values into your new email template.

Name:

Offer 50% Discounted Gap Nights to Channel Booking Guest With Contact Information Email Template

From Name:

{MYCOFULL}

From Address:

{MYEMAIL}

To Name:

{CFULL}

To Address:

{CEMAIL}

Subject:

Last Minute Discount Offer for [Booking # {BID}] at {PDISPNAME}

Body:

Hi {CFIRST},

Thanks for booking {PDISPNAME}!

Did you know that the {BADJOPEN} your reservation is still available?

Would you like to add additional nights to your reservation for 50% off?  If you are interested, please reply to this email.

Talk to you soon and thanks for choosing {PDISPNAME}!

{MYFIRST}

If you're wondering what those field codes do, check out the field codes support article or use the "Preview" button on the bookings to take a live look.

Here's a quick preview of what the above email message looks like:

Offer 50% Discounted Gap Nights to Channel Booking Guest With Contact Information Email Template Preview

Notice how clean and personalized the content is.  The subject line is dynamic to the property name. The body addresses the guest by name, so it looks like the body was written by hand. It includes the available nights {BADJOPEN} field code that mentions whether it's the arrival night that's open, departure night, or both. In other words, it looks like a hand-written manual response, even though it wasn't.

After copying and pasting the above subject and body into your template, feel free to play with the words and styles to make it your own. Don't want to offer 50% off? That's fine; feel free to offer whatever discount you are comfortable with! However, remember that we are creating a message specific to a "booking" gap night offer. This message assumes that all bookings it is responding to have guest contact information, so make sure to customize accordingly. 

We are now armed with a solid email gap night offer for channel bookings with guest contact information. But what about channel messages?

Channel Offer

Channels like Airbnb and Booking.com don't provide an email address for the guest, so you need to be able to reply on channel messaging platforms as well. OwnerRez directly integrates with the native messaging platforms at Vrbo, Airbnb, and Booking.com, so this is easy to set up!

Note: Why can't you use a platform email or proxy email address like "joe.blow.12345@messages.airbnb.com" or "joe.blow.12345@messages.booking.com?" These platform/proxy email addresses aren't real. If you send messages to them, your message will be collected by the channel, stripped, re-formatted and displayed on the channel's message platform in various ways that typically don't work well for email.

For detailed information about how channel templates work, check out the Channel Templates and field codes support articles.

To create a channel template, go to Settings > Templates > Channel tab > click the Create Channel Template button > select the "Booking" option. This will open a message editor with some sample field codes filled in.

Copy and paste the following values into your new channel template.

Name:

Offer 50% Discounted Gap Nights to Channel Booking Guest With Contact Information Channel Template

Body:

Hi {CFIRST},

Thanks for booking {PDISPNAME}!

Did you know that the {BADJOPEN} your reservation is still available?

Would you like to add additional nights to your reservation for 50% off?  If you are interested, please reply to this email.

Talk to you soon and thanks for choosing {PDISPNAME}!

{MYFIRST}

Channel templates have a Preview button, so as you type, you can quickly check the preview window to get a sense of how the channel message will look.

Here is a quick look at how the above channel template looks in preview mode:

Offer 50 % Discounted Gap Nights to Channel Booking Guest With Contact Information Channel Template Preview

As you can see, this message is plain (no colors, images, or rich text), but that's good because it will be sent to the guest via the channel messaging platform, and the messaging platforms don't allow anything other than plain text. 

You want a concise message for the guest to read, and this does the trick!

Now we have your channel message template created! But maybe we also want to send an SMS message?

SMS Offer

Some bookings that arrive in your account will already include the guest's phone number or you have already Asked Your Channel Booking Guest Without Contact Info, to Provide Contact Info and Sign Renter Agreement. 

Using our SMS premium feature, you can reply directly to their cell phone via SMS. For detailed information about how SMS templates work, check out the SMS Templates and field codes support articles.

To create an SMS template, go to Settings > Templates > SMS tab > click the Create SMS Template button > select the "Booking" option.  This will open an SMS message editor with some sample field codes filled in.

Copy and paste the following values into your new SMS template.

Name:

Offer 50% Discounted Gap Nights to Channel Booking Guest With Contact Information SMS Template

To Phone Number:

{CPHONE}

Body:

Hi {CFIRST}, the {BADJOPEN} your reservation is available at a discounted rate of 50% off! If you are interested, please reply to the email we sent you. Thanks, and we'll talk soon! ☕

Once again, smack that Preview button to see how this looks live! SMS templates are similar to channel templates in that they are plain text with no colors or formatting options, but you can still dress them up with personalized field codes and light-hearted emojis.

Here is a quick look at how the above SMS template looks in preview mode:

Offer 50% Discounted Gap Nights to Channel Booking Guest With Contact Information SMS Template Preview

Not a fan of emojis?  No worries, edit that part out!

You'll notice that this SMS template differs from the email and channel templates in that it is much shorter. Instead, it's a quick sentence to notify the guest of the nights available at the discounted rate and refer to the email that you already sent. If you'd rather say something else - that's totally fine. 

Now that we have some message templates created, it's time to configure the trigger that will send them.

Create a trigger that applies to bookings offering deeply discounted nights to channel guests with contact information

Since each trigger can only send one message template, you'll need to create a trigger for each type of reply you send.  Above, we crafted replies for email, channel, and SMS, so we'll need to create three triggers to send each one.

First, we'll create a trigger to send the email message. Navigate to Settings > Messaging > Triggers > and click + Create Trigger to pull up the new trigger screen.

Here is a list of all the settings the trigger needs to have:

  • Type: Scheduled Time
  • Event: 5 days Before Booking has arrived at 9:00 AM
  • Add Condition > Email Address on File: Has Real Email Address
  • Add Condition > Adjacent Available Nights Status on: Either Arrival or Departure > Gap of > 1 to 2 nights
  • Add Condition > Listing Site is: Only Vrbo
  • Action: Email Templates > Offer 50% Discounted Gap Nights to Channel Booking Guest With Contact Information Email Template

Now, let's talk about what the above settings mean!

The Type and Event fields will make the trigger run 5 days prior to the arrival of your guest who booked on a channel. Guests often book their vacation months ahead but don't really think about adding additional days to their reservation until they get closer to their arrival. This discounted gap night offer email may arrive at just the right time--when guests know if they can take advantage of your offer. But maybe you want to want to send this discounted gap night offer 10 days before the guest books? That's fine, too! 

Keep in mind that channels like Airbnb and Booking.com don't provide an email address (or even a phone number) for the guest. See the Ask Channel Booking Guest Without Contact Info, to Provide Contact Info and Sign Renter Agreement support article for more information on that topic.

Of course, we added the condition of "Adjacent Available Nights Status on: Either Arrival or Departure > Gap of > 1 to 2 nights" because you don't want to send a duplicate email offer to a guest booking that doesn't have availability on either side of their reservation. You may want to add other conditions, but this is enough to make our trigger send the email message when you receive a channel booking and offer them discounted gap nights for their vacation.

Since we are targeting "channel bookings" for guests for whom we already have contact information only, we want to add a "Condition" to the trigger that will stop it from sending out messages for other bookings. Adding the "Has real email address" condition status covers that. We added the "listing site" condition of Only Vrbo, but you could add any of your listing sites to the list.

If users want to limit gap night offers to 1 night only, OwnerRez recommends changing the trigger configuration to only arrival; and to subsequently create a second trigger/template combination to match, which only has departure, with a gap night of 1 to 1. Then your guests will only be sent an email if either an arrival and/or departure has only one adjacent night.

Please note: Using this method, the guest may get 2 separate discounted gap night email offers, 1 for the night before arrival, and a separate email for the night after departure. 

Finally, the last thing we select is the "Action" for the email template we want to send. Since this trigger is supposed to send an email message, select the email template and be careful not to select a channel or SMS template.

At this point, your trigger should look like this:

Offer 50% Discounted Gap Nights to Channel Booking Guest With Contact Information Email Template Trigger Example

Nice and simple!

Click Save, and now you have a trigger ready to go. These actions do exactly what they say. The trigger sends your discounted gap nights offer email template 5 days prior to the arrival of your channel booking guests. That's it!

Variations

If you want to take a more personalized approach, go to Reports and pull the Availability Gap Report. It shows the gaps and your guest's phone/email, and you can write personalized email offers or even reach out via phone to upsell your discounted gap nights.

Or you can create a detailed schedule of discounted gap night offers with different discounts based on how close the booking is -- 15% off a week after booking, 25% off 10 days after booking, 30% off 3 weeks before arrival, and 50% off 5 days before arrival. You can create those templates and send them automatically on triggers!