Managing Your Vacation Rental

Expediting the Booking Process

Written by Carrie Hillman
4.2/5 - (5 votes)

What’s the best way to convey the rental agreement to your guests? You can save both your guests and yourself valuable time by emailing or using an e-signature service.

The NOW vacationer (see our earlier post) is looking for the swiftest confirmation of their rental. And homeowners are looking to confirm the booking and update their availability Calendars. Expediting the lease becomes particularly important if the rental date is imminent or multiple requests are being made for the same week.

There are many options, but where do you start? Here is our quick and easy summary:

Emailing a lease

Many homeowners want a step up from the paper lease but aren’t ready to go fully electronic. Emailing a lease can still be clunky if the lease is being printed at some point in the process. In this case, the homeowner emails the lease to the vacationer and requests that they sign and return it by:

Printing, signing, and snail mailing it back
Printing, signing, scanning, and emailing it back

Scanning the lease back to the homeowner

The vacationer can take a photo of the lease and email it back, or they can use a phone app like Genius Scan

This blog may be helpful. It compares different phone scanning apps.

Requesting an electronic signature

Requesting an electronic signature is by far the quickest option for sending and receiving a lease. And electronic signatures are the enviro way to go—saving trees and shipping fuel!

Here are some ways to request an electronic signature:


Signer’s experience with DocuSign

How to send a DocuSign document


Adobe Sign 

Quicksprout compares some electronic signature options, including some that are free. 

Capterra compares a few different options. 

Snail mail

Some homeowners still print and mail two paper copies of a lease to the vacationer. The vacationer signs one copy and then mails it back to the homeowner. This option takes some time and, with recent delays with USPS, could cause the vacationers to worry if they are anxious to confirm their summer vacation rental. Another consideration is that this is not a viable option for last-minute bookings.

Ultimately, it is up to the homeowner to decide which option is the most efficient. But if you are flexible, you could offer a few options to your guests and see which they prefer!

For information about accepting electronic payments, see our post about the Benefits of Offering Online Payment Options and Online Payment Options for Your Guests.




About the author

Carrie Hillman

Carrie was born and raised in the Northeast. She currently lives on the Cape with her two children and husband. They are a family of four who love to travel, play in the sun, hike and canoe. They enjoy sharing the beauty of the Cape while hosting guests at their home when they are traveling.


  • I have used this process for years with no complications. I request personal information (no Postal boxes) from the client, prepare a two page lease agreement and email it to the client. I request they review it, sign it and return it snail mail with a personal check for the deposit. Until I receive both, the time is not reserved. I want a personal checks for tracing purposes in case of a nasty law suit, which gratefully has never been required. I take no credit cards. The client can cancel the charge if I get a problem tenant that never was going to be happy anyway. I then return their security deposit with my personal check and a kind note thanking them for there visit. Personal contacts with my guests are of utmost importance to me.

    • Hi, Jerry, good for you! We couldn’t agree more with your prioritizing personal connections with your guests. It sounds like you’ve got a successful process in place for booking them. It really depends on the time of year, though. If you are getting multiple inquiries for the same weeks, it’s really helpful to take that initial deposit using some form online payment. (See our Blog post about Online Payment Options for Your Guests.) There are great online options now, other than credit cards, that are free and cannot be reversed by the sender. The speed, security, and convenience are such a great alternative to personal checks – which many young vacationers don’t even know how to use these days!