Managing Your Vacation Rental

Pre-Arrival Communication with Your Guests

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
Pre-Arrival Communication with Your Guests
2 5

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 should be avoided at all costs! Your guests’ frustration, starting out their vacation on a sour note, creates resentment initially and ultimately can 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 travelling for a few days prior to their arrival at your home.

What to include in your email

Each of us homeowners does things a little differently, of course. But here’s a general check list of information and reminders to provide your guests:

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.

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.  In my experience, guests never pick up the house phone.

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 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 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 do everything in your power to alleviate any anxieties for them. This pre-arrival welcome to your home should set the tone for their experience there.

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. Email Elizabeth