Bookings, Messages, and Response Rate

Bookings

Here is where you will see a complete history of every booking and booking request, whether approved/completed or not. It is recommended that you keep track of all concluded bookings and reach out for a review (more on this later!) and encourage repeat rentals by offering personalized offers for future bookings. TIP #15: Contacting renters with expired/canceled/declined requests is also highly recommended since they have already shown interest in your boat in the past. Messaging these leads with a special rate, package, or promotion is a great way to draw in more business and help your listing stick out to a renter who may be considering a boat trip soon but has yet to start a new search process all over again.

Messages

This is where a vast majority of your time will be spent on Boatsetter. A message from a renter means that your hard work in constructing an effective boat listing paid off and you got a lead!

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The first thing you will notice in most new messages or booking requests is the “Approve” (or “Pre-Approve”) pop-up.  TIP #16: Before you (pre)approve any booking request, be sure that both you and the renter are comfortable moving forward with the trip request; ask any and all questions, answer all of the renter's questions, and confirm that the booking details are satisfactory to both you and the renter. Respond the way you would expect any professional business to respond to you - with courtesy, excitement, clarity, and respect.

You are welcome to edit inquiries if you need to modify dates, times, or prices. Should a booking request ultimately end up not being the best option for either you or the renter, decline the request and have them keep you in mind for future bookings. When both parties are in agreement, click “(Pre)Approve” and the renter can proceed with paying and confirming the trip. Maintain contact with the renter and share any and all relevant details with them as needed - meeting location, driving/parking instructions, possible additional costs/fees/discounts, boat/marina dos and donts, and so on. Sometimes guests break your rules not because they have bad intentions, but because they didn’t know it was a rule in the first place.

It is best to communicate and pass on inquiries rather than (pre)approve and later cancel a booking, as too much of the latter will lead the Boatsetter algorithm to believe that you may be an unreliable owner. Canceling a booking when it could have simply been a “pass” can lead to frustration, disappointment, and discouragement on both ends.  

Keep in mind that renters may be shopping around with at least 2-3 boat owners at the same time, so take advantage of each message by putting your best salesperson hat on! Not every lead will result in an approved booking, but don’t let that discourage you. In fact, use every lost lead as an opportunity to learn what your prospective renters may be looking for and update your listing whenever possible.

Response Rate

Picture it: A renter spends some time searching the Boatsetter fleet and decides on your boat. Then he or she checks out your calendar to determine that your boat is available! Next, the renter touches base with his or her crew to see if they are available. Finally, they submit the request to book your boat for an upcoming boat rental. The less time they have to wait for your answer, the happier they will be (and less likely to cancel for any unknown reason)! Messages that are left unanswered for too long will lead the renter to (begrudgingly) look for another boat for their needs. Don’t let your leads get away!

Response actions allow you to stay in command of your boat by managing your messages and booking requests. As you work to increase your search ranking, keep in mind that the first 24 hours are crucial in impacting your response rate, so responding in a timely manner is important. TIP #17: Besides convincing the Boatsetter algorithm that you are an active host, replying to messages within minutes surprises the guest and increases their liking towards you as well. Even if you don’t have something to say to your guest, write a quick “Thank you for your interest, I will come back to you with more info ASAP.” This will not only improve/maintain your average response rate, but it will also let the renter know that their request is seriously being considered.

If you don’t respond to a booking request within 72 hours, the request will expire and numerous expirations will lower your response rate. To avoid expired requests, keep your boat’s calendar current and update your availability throughout the season.

Just like other platforms such as AirBnB, Turo, etc, Boatsetter wants renters to feel seen and heard when they reach out to owners with questions. Boat owners who respond to inquiries faster get a higher ranking in the listings, so remember to reply ASAP!