Guest Communications

It’s Time to Reach Out to Your Guests

Written by Joan Talmadge
5/5 - (2 votes)

Updated January 2024

Homeowners new to the world of vacation rentals often ask me for my advice about dealing with renters.  “My best advice,” I always tell them, “is to think of them as guests, not tenants, and yourself as a host, not a landlord.” The more they feel like guests, the greater the likelihood that they will treat your home the way your friends would.  Also, given the importance of guest reviews, a little extra TLC on your part will more likely result in your receiving many glowing reviews for future vacationers to see! 

The importance of pre-arrival communication 

Every year, our office receives calls from frantic vacationers who have arrived at their rental home and can’t get in. Or they’re not sure they are at the right house. Or the home doesn’t provide sheets and towels, and they weren’t aware of that. 

These unfortunate situations can lead to your guests starting out their vacation on a sour note, which may ultimately result in complaints or a negative review. Communication is key.

When to email your guests 

Send your guests an email a week or two prior to their arrival.  You want to give them ample time to pack and plan accordingly in case they are traveling for a few days prior to their arrival at your home.

Even if you have already sent them information months ago, they may misplace it or even forget that they ever received it. Always stay one step ahead! Guests appreciate reminders when they are making final preparations for their trip. (You’d be surprised how many calls we get in the summer from panicked vacationers who are checking into their rental in a few days and can’t reach the owner and have no idea how to get into the home.)

What to include in your email 

  1. Address and directions to your home: Yes, most vacationers use GPS, but they may not have your street address. Or in some cases, their navigation app doesn’t show the correct location of your home.
  2. Instructions to access your home:  There are many ways to lock and unlock a home. Just make sure that your incoming guests know what your process is! 
  3. Your contact information: Make sure they have your cell number so they can reach you at any time. Also, make sure you have theirs!  It’s strongly recommended that you check in via phone or text after they’ve arrived to ensure everything is okay.  Guests rarely pick up the house phone since they assume a call is not for them.
  4. Linens reminder: If you do not provide bed linens and/or towels, be sure to remind them of this and provide the sizes of the beds so that they can bring the appropriate bedding.  Some vacationers assume that linens are always included and may show up without them 
  5. Other amenities: Remind your guests of the amenities you provide, such as beach chairs and umbrellas, beach toys, bikes, kayaks, etc.   
  6. Information about bike rentals, restaurants, beach passes, etc.:  It’s a big help if you provide website links or phone numbers to businesses like bike and kayak rentals, whale watching tours, or restaurants so that your guests can make arrangements or reservations prior to their arrival.  Tell them how or where to get permits or passes for shell fishing or to the beaches in your area. 
  7. Information about local events and things to do during their stay: Perhaps there is a fair or festival taking place while the guests are at your home. For regularly-updated information about what’s going on near you and when, simply forward them a link to our Events Calendar. 

Let your guests know that you are excited for them! Encourage them to contact you if they have any questions or concerns. 

The goal is to connect with your guests on a personal level and to anticipate and alleviate any stresses for them. This pre-arrival welcome to your home will set a positive tone for their experience! 

Helpful links to share with your guests:
  • WNAV Vacationer Blog – Excellent information for your guests regarding things to do, rainy day activities, vacationing with pets, etc.
  • Beaches Guide – A comprehensive guide to the beaches on Cape Cod and the Islands

About the author

Joan Talmadge

Joan Talmadge - My husband Jeff and I created in 1997, shortly after buying our Cape home. My background includes teaching fifth grade for 8 years and writing and editing educational publications for 15. I get great joy from helping fellow homeowners successfully rent their homes. Jeff and I are proud to have two of our three grown children working for, truly a family-run business. For me, the Cape and Islands are magical all times of the year -- whether it's walking on Nauset Beach, playing golf, or enjoying family and friends. Email Joan