Guest Communications Managing Your Vacation Rental

Welcoming Your Guests

Written by Joan Talmadge
3.7/5 - (4 votes)

Nothing sets the tone for a positive vacation experience like a warm welcome note or letter waiting for your guests.  You could leave a letter or just a short note welcoming them into your home and expressing your wishes for a relaxing vacation.

Equally important is to provide your guests with all of the information that will make for a smooth, easy check-in.

Welcome Note and Gift

If you leave a gift, a personalized note is a nice touch.  We have some welcome gift ideas, and these beautiful little note cards are a perfect accompaniment.

You can also post this Welcome flyer in your home right next to your own customized property i.d. cards.

In addition, we recommend that you call or text your guests within the first 24 hours to confirm they found everything in order and to answer any questions.

House Manual and Guidebook

A welcome guide should contain everything your guests need to know during their stay. This notebook contains info about the home, the area, some household tips, contacts, and local attractions.  You may have already sent your guests some of this information prior to their vacation, but it’s a good idea to repeat it.  House rules, for example, should be noted before they even sign the lease, and some of your house rules should even be included in the lease.

Here are the key elements to include:

  • Your contact info, including your phone number(s) and email address.
  • Emergency instructions and contact information. Provide the property’s exact street address.
  • Check-in and check-out times.
  • Remind guests to report any issues asap during their stay so you can take measures to address them.
  • Important household info:
    • Internet password and connection details
    • Media info – TVs, sound system
    • Trash and recycling
    • Kitchen – where to find things; appliance operation
    • Heating and air conditioning systems
    • Laundry instructions
    • Security system, locks, security cameras
    • Outside – deck, yard, outdoor shower
    • Beach info – access, how to get beach passes

Clarify your house rules regarding:

  • Pets
  • Visitors during the day and overnight
  • Areas of your home that are off limits
  • Noise level, particularly at night
  • Safety rules re. pool, fire pit, use of kayaks, bikes, etc.

Out and About

Guests unfamiliar with your area will especially appreciate your recommendations for the following:

  • Grocery stores, fish stores, liquor stores, coffee shops, ice cream cafes, and bakeries
  • Local pharmacies
  • Restaurant recommendations for dining in and take out
  • Tours (whale watches, seal tours), hikes, nature trails, kayak rentals, miniature golf (see Vacation Planner)
  • Local events that may take place during their stay (see Events)
  • Art galleries
  • Shopping
  • Beaches, including ocean and ponds (see Beaches)

Vacation’s End

Your guests will need to know what’s expected of them prior to checking out. Be realistic with your requests. (For example, asking them to wash and dry all of the linens and towels prior to a 10 am checkout might be challenging for most guests.)

Below is a sample check-out list that you can modify to your needs.

(Sample) Check-out Instructions

We hope you’ve enjoyed your stay. Check-out time is 10 am.

Before you depart, we would appreciate your taking care of these items:

  • Kitchen – Remove all food from the fridge and counters/cupboards. Unplug appliances (toaster, coffee maker). It’s ok to leave the dishwasher running.
  • Bathrooms – Remove all personal items.
  • Trash – Remove all trash, especially from the kitchen, secure in large trash bags provided, and place in the trash barrels.
  • Bedrooms – Leave used linens and towels in laundry room. Please put spreads on beds.
  • Beach towels – Wash, dry, and fold all beach towels and leave in closet in laundry room.
  • TVs – Make sure the remotes are left by the TVs and are easy to find.
  • Rugs and floors – Broom clean.
  • Deck – Return any moved furniture to their original positions, including the grill. 
  • Grill – Be sure the gas for grill is off, and clean grill grates with wire brush.
  • Check under beds, in closets, and outside shower for your belongings.
  • Turn off air conditioning and close all windows and doors.
  • Lock the house and put the key in the prescribed location.
  • Please notify us of any damage or not in working order so that we can get it fixed as soon as possible.

We would appreciate your posting a guest review on our listing, ID XXXXX, providing future vacationers with insight about your experience in our home.

Have a safe trip home!

Return their deposit

The final step is to return your guests’ deposit as soon as you or your cleaning staff determine that your home was left in good condition.  If they haven’t written a guest review yet, you might send them a guest review request using the form in your Homeowner Center.

About the author

Joan Talmadge

Joan Talmadge - My husband Jeff and I created WeNeedaVacation.com 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 WeNeedaVacation.com, 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