8 Vacation Rental Guest Communication Strategies + Templates

Lizzie Griffin
Lizzie Griffin

April 11, 2024

With questions about parking, keys, and WiFi access on repeat, guest communication isn’t only time-consuming—it’s often frustrating and inefficient. 

If you struggle to immediately respond to guests on a check-in day, they can be left with a negative impression of your hospitality. Yet, more often than not, they’re asking questions you’ve already answered.

In this guide, we look into eight strategic approaches to managing vacation rental guest communication, so you can exceed guest expectations, reduce your manual workload, and make your processes more scalable.

With the following insights, automation software examples, and message templates, you’ll increase guest satisfaction, have fewer messages to answer, and be better placed to grow your portfolio.

Reduce your workload and increase guest satisfaction
Use Breezeway to automate your guest messaging and work coordination processes.

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Key objectives of STR guest communication strategies: Better guest experience & fewer manual tasks

Your ratings on online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo have a big impact on your occupancy rates. So, the quality of the guest experience you provide is directly linked to your business performance. 

But, in an industry of tight profit margins, you need to carefully balance the quality of your service with the efficiency of your operations. So, you need to anticipate guest needs, automate repeated processes, and consolidate tools.

If you do this successfully, guests won’t only enjoy their stays more, but also they’ll have less need to reach out to you with questions about arrival, property access, and in-stay issues. Plus, automating manual tasks makes your processes scalable—so you can add units to your portfolio without affecting your workload or placing a strain on your operations.

By focusing on both guest convenience and operational efficiency, you can develop an approach to guest communication that:

  • Minimizes guest questions
  • Saves you hours of work
  • Makes you more responsive
  • Enhances the guest experience
  • Helps you grow your business

8 guest communication strategies for vacation rental management

Use the following guest communication strategies to improve the guest experience, reduce your guest management tasks, and make your operations more scalable.

1. Create a vacation rental message flow that reflects the guest journey

A comprehensive message flow is pivotal to aligning your communications with the guest journey, from pre-arrival to post-departure. By including the right information at the right time, you’ll empower guests, making them feel informed and independent, and also streamline and reduce your workload.

5-step vacation rental message flow

Pre-stay messaging

Kickstart a positive guest experience with pre-stay messaging that reassures the guest and engages them in their stay. This minimizes their need to send you questions and reduces the chance of a late cancellation. 

Your pre-stay messaging should include essential details for the guest’s arrival, such as:

  • Directions
  • Parking information
  • Property access instructions
  • WiFi password
  • A link to your digital guidebook

In-stay messaging

Send a friendly message to check in with your guest after their first night to make sure there are no issues. This helps ensure a great stay as you can quickly address any problems as early as possible.

Also, send a reminder during the guest’s last day to explain your check-out instructions.
For example, you might ask guests to wash up glasses and plates, remind them to check under the beds for personal possessions, ask them to turn off certain electrical appliances, and confirm the check-out time.

Post-stay messaging

Finally, thank guests for their visit, ask them to leave a review, and encourage them to book again in the future. This also gives you the opportunity to share details about any referral incentives or direct booking discounts.

Message flows are an important communication strategy in hospitality, but they’re only practical across a large number of units and bookings if you have a way to automate them. The first step to doing this is to create message templates, which we look at next.

2. Create personalized message templates

Using templates streamlines your communication process, ensures every guest receives all necessary information, and helps you maintain a professional and consistent brand voice throughout their guest journey.

One issue you may need to consider, though, is that message templates can sound robotic and impersonal.

To address this, you can use vacation rental software like Breezeway to personalize message templates with shortcodes.
These shortcodes pull in stay-specific details from your property management systems, like names, dates, passwords, and check-in times.

Below you’ll see example message templates for different stages of a typical vacation rental message flow.

Pre-stay message: One or two days before check-in

Dear [Guest Name],

We’re so excited to welcome you to [Property Name]! Here are some details to ensure a smooth arrival:

- Directions: [Insert directions]
- Parking Information: [Insert parking details]
- Property Access: [Insert access instructions]
- WiFi: [Network Name, Password]

Also, please see our digital guidebook where you can find all this information as well as local recommendations on what to do: [Insert link]

Feel free to reach out with any questions. We wish you a safe journey!

[Your Name]

Early stay check: Day after check-in

Hi [Guest Name],

We hope you’re settling in well at [Property Name]. If there are any issues or if you need assistance, please send us a message right away and we’ll make sure you have everything you need.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Check-out reminder: Day before check-out

Dear [Guest Name],

We hope you've enjoyed your stay! Here are a few check-out reminders for tomorrow:

- Check-out is by [time]—as you know, we have a smart lock, so all you have to do is kindly make sure the door is properly closed.
- Before you leave, please wash any used glasses, plates, and cutlery.
- Also, check under the beds and sofas to make sure you have all your personal items.
- One more thing, we’d appreciate it if you’d turn off the aircon, all the lights, and fridge.

Thank you for staying with us! We hope to host you again in the future!

[Your Name]

Review request and promotions: Day after check-out

Hi [Guest Name],

Thank you for choosing [Property Name]! We hope you had a wonderful stay. We'd be grateful if you could leave us a review [link to review platform]. 

And remember, if you book directly for your next visit, you can enjoy a special 10% discount. Also, if you refer a friend who books a stay with us, you'll both receive [specific incentive details] off your next booking. Just have your friend mention your name when they book.

Hope to welcome you again soon!

Best wishes,
[Your Name]

3. Use STR software to schedule messages

With a carefully structured message flow and personalized message templates, you can now automate and schedule your communications. This ensures the timely delivery of each message and keeps your processes highly efficient, even as you scale your operations.

You can use Breezeway to do this using a simple dropdown menu in your dashboard. This lets you select the type of scheduling event and a specific time of day for each message to be sent. 

With this set up, your message templates can spring into action and start providing guests with helpful, personalized information throughout their stay.

Breezeway scheduled guest messagingBreezeway’s message scheduling keeps guests informed and minimizes your manual tasks.

4. Auto-share a digital guide to make guests independent

We mentioned above that you can include a link to a digital guide within your pre-stay messaging. In doing so, you can ‘train’ guests to independently find the information they need without having to contact you directly. 

This is, of course, a huge timesaver for you and your management team. Also, it gives guests autonomy and engages them in their stay.

As well as providing all the information that you should include in your pre-stay messages, (such as arrival information, access codes, and WiFi details), your guide can share:

  • Interactive maps
  • Local recommendations
  • Instructions on how to use appliances and amenities
  • House rules
  • Check-out instructions

With a user-friendly solution like Breezeway Guide, you can auto-share a link to the guidebook within all your message templates. Guests can then access it without having to download an app or enter any personal information.

Breezeway digital guidebook: Local recommendationsWith essential insights, house rules, and local recommendations, Breezeway Guide can save you hours of time by allowing guests to independently find the information they need.

5. Connect guest messaging with your team coordination & ops management

With an automated message flow and digital guide, guests will be able to easily answer the vast majority of their own questions—meaning the bulk of messages guests send you will be due to maintenance issues and special requests.

In both cases, you’ll need a streamlined process for managing your response, which you can achieve by integrating your guest and team messaging, and task coordination.

Breezeway does this by allowing you to create and track tasks from the guest messaging view of your dashboard. This way, if a guest requests flowers and balloons, notices a leak, or finds a wobbly step, you can quickly address the matter without having to switch from one platform or device to another.

Breezeway work order creation from the guest message viewBreezeway lets you manage your team from the guest message view of your dashboard.

6. Use bulk messaging for emergencies

Another area of guest communication where you can save time is during unexpected situations or emergencies. 

Bulk messaging allows you to quickly share crucial information with all your guests—for example, in the case of a severe weather warning—simultaneously, ensuring everyone is informed and can take necessary actions without delay.

Breezeway’s bulk messaging featureBreezeway’s bulk SMS messaging can save you important time as you share urgent information with guests.

7. Automate extended stay upsells

Where you have gap nights in your booking calendar, there’s an opportunity to reach out to guests before or during their stay to offer them an extra night at a discounted rate. By integrating your operations management platform with your property management system (PMS), you can automate this process.

For example, if there’s an available night following a scheduled check-out date, Breezeway identifies the opportunity by pulling booking data from your PMS, and automates a personalized message to your guest based on your customized rules.

This saves you time, makes sure no opportunity is missed, and gives you the chance to increase your occupancy rates.

Pro Tip: Leverage Breezeway's automated messaging to fill more gap nights. 
Since 2022, Lake Tahoe Accommodations booked over 195 additional nights via gap night messages, resulting in $35,000 in additional revenue. 

Start Driving Gap-Night Revenue

Breezeway gap-night offer collageAutomated gap-night offers are an easy win for your vacation rental business.

8. Outsource guest management for after-hours support

The modern vacation rental guest expects hotel-level service, which includes you being responsive to their messages and calls 24/7.

With a trained team of hospitality professionals, you can provide that round-the-clock service to guests without having to anxiously check your phone throughout the night. This not only enhances the guest experience, but it’s also a scalable solution that allows you to expand your itinerary without having to make compromises to your quality of service.

For example, Lake Tahoe Accommodations uses Breezeway Assist to take guest calls and messages from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am. 

The vacation rental business, which has grown to manage over 100 units around Lake Tahoe, initiated the service by providing Breezeway with details about its properties, processes, and policies. Now, there’s no need to man the phones until late and the manager on duty is only contacted in emergencies.

“The Assist team has created templates for troubleshooting locks/wifi/thermostats, so most issues are already solved when we are alerted to them in the morning. Also, everything is transparent. We have a record on the dashboard of the communication with guests, unlike your typical after-hours answering service." 
-Annie Schnaubelt, Vice President, Lake Tahoe Accommodations

Guest communication strategies for better business performance

Clear, effective guest messaging is just one aspect of a successful guest communication strategy—what’s most crucial is to build your processes around your core objectives, which should be to:

  • Increase responsiveness
  • Reduce your manual workload
  • Improve guest satisfaction
  • Reduce guest questions
  • Be a scalable operation

You can do this by:

  1. Creating an automated message flow that aligns with the guest journey
  2. Using personalized message templates
  3. Creating a digital guidebook that increases guest autonomy
  4. Integrating your ops management solution with your booking systems
  5. Using third-party services for through-the-night guest support

With specialized vacation rental software, you can have a guest communication strategy that helps guests get more out of their stay and drives better ratings, occupancy, and operational efficiency.

Reduce your workload and increase guest satisfaction
Use Breezeway to automate your guest messaging and work coordination processes.

Book a Demo