Managing Your Vacation Rental

Pre-Arrival Communication with Your Guests

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
5/5 - (3 votes)

Updated April 2024

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 even at the right house. Perhaps the home doesn’t provide sheets and towels and they weren’t aware of that.

These unfortunate situations should be avoided at all costs! Your guests’ frustration, starting out their vacation on a sour note, can create resentment initially and may ultimately result in a negative review.

When to email your guests

Send your guests an email around a week or two prior to their arrival.  The trick is to send it close enough to their arrival that they won’t misplace or forget it, but with ample time to pack and plan accordingly in case they are traveling for a few days prior to their arrival at your home.

What to include in your email

Directions to your home: Yes, most vacationers use GPS. But they may not have your street address. Or in some cases, Google Maps doesn’t get the exact location of your home right.

Instructions to access your home: There are many different ways to lock and unlock a home, but just make sure that your incoming guests know what it is!

Linens reminder: If you do not provide bed linens and /or towels, be sure to remind them. Some vacationers (wrongly) assume that linens are always included. Be sure to remind them of bed sizes!

Your contact information: Make sure they have your cell number so that 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 make sure everything is okay.

Information about bike rentals, restaurants, beach parking passes, etc.: It’s a big help if you provide website links or phone numbers to businesses like bike and kayak rentals, whale watches, 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 beach 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 guest is at your home. For regularly-updated information about what’s going on near you and when, simply forward a link to our Events Calendar.

Stay Connected

Let your guests know that you are excited for their arrival. Your pre-arrival welcome to your home should set the tone for their experience. Encourage your guests to contact you if they have any questions or concerns before and during their stay

The goal is to connect with your guests on a personal level and to do everything in your power to alleviate any anxieties for them. Guests that feel you are invested in their experience are more likely to care for your home and are certainly more likely to return.

Do you have any other suggestions of what to communicate to your guests prior to their arrival?

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.