Updated March 2023
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 always appreciate reminders when they are making the 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
- 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.
- Instructions to access your home: There are many different ways to lock and unlock a home. Just make sure that your incoming guests know what your process is!
- 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 with them after they’ve arrived to ensure everything is okay. In my experience, guests never pick up the house phone.
- 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. Some vacationers (wrongly) assume that linens are always included.
- Other amenities: Remind your guests of the amenities you provide, such as beach chairs and umbrellas, beach toys, bikes, kayaks, etc.
- 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.
- 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!