As a vacation rental manager, you’re running a 24/7 business where every aspect of your guests’ journey, from the moment they make a booking to the moment they leave, reflects upon your brand. While your online listings reel in future guests, your first chance to add a personal touch comes at the very beginning of their stay.
In today’s ever-evolving industry, it’s no longer practical, and often unnecessary, to personally greet each guest upon arrival. Times have changed, and hosts and property managers now have the power to create an equally warm and welcoming experience without physically being there.
So, how can you make that crucial first impression and ensure your guests feel truly welcomed? Enter the vacation rental welcome letter. With a well-crafted welcome letter, you have the opportunity to create a genuine connection and demonstrate your commitment to their comfort and enjoyment. It’s a chance to convey your excitement about their arrival, provide essential information, and offer a glimpse into the unique experiences they can expect during their stay.
The vacation rental welcome letter serves as the bridge between you and your guests, regardless of whether you’re physically present or managing remotely. It’s a powerful tool that leaves a lasting impression and ensures a worry-free visit, positioning you as a caring host throughout.
We’ll teach you how to craft the perfect welcome letter. From personalization to property information, contacts, house rules, and local tips, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to craft a welcome letter that truly embodies the spirit of your brand. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets to creating an unforgettable first impression for your guests.
What is a vacation rental welcome letter – and why do you need one?
A welcome letter is a personalized message or communication that hosts or property managers send to their guests before their arrival. It serves as a warm and friendly introduction, aiming to make guests feel welcomed and comfortable during their stay.
The welcome letter is your chance to make a more personal and genuine connection with your guests, letting them know that you are there for them, and that you sincerely hope they have a wonderful experience. But it’s also a great opportunity to stress the most important details that could save both you and your guest time and frustration during the stay.
A vacation rental welcome letter should not be confused with the confirmation letter your guest received at the time of booking (either from you, or from your OTA partner). A welcome letter should not be a summary of financials or a detailed outline of policies. A vacation rental welcome letter should reflect how you would greet a guest face-to-face, because that personal bond and friendly introduction are what you’re aiming to achieve here.
You may want to send it via email just prior to your guests’ scheduled arrival, or perhaps you would prefer to leave a printed copy to greet them as they enter the home – you can always do both.
By getting your vacation rental welcome letter right, you will likely see an increase in not only positive reviews, but personal and meaningful ones. You’ll also find an increase in return guests – and when they book direct, your profit margins will increase too.
What to include in your welcome letter
Beginning with a blank sheet of paper can be overwhelming, so here’s our recipe to create a killer vacation rental welcome letter. Follow these tips, add your own personal touch, and you’ll have a perfect welcome letter in no time. We’ve also thrown in a few examples to help you along the way.
While it may seem a daunting task to tailor each letter to each guest, adding a touch of personalization to an established template can make the whole thing seem personal. Take advantage of whatever guest information you received from the booking to add a personal spin.
Sometimes, you will only have a name and travel dates:
“Hi, Bob and Sue! We hope you enjoy your week away, and find our city to be a great place for fun, relaxation, or whatever it is that you need to return home refreshed and full of wonderful new memories!”
Other times, a guest may have shared some information at booking that comes in handy when you want to make a kind gesture:
“Hi, Smith Family! We hear that Mary is celebrating a birthday this week!”
“Congratulations on your 25th wedding anniversary, Chris and Tina!”
Aside from making a connection, you’ve just let your guests know that you pay attention to details and that you honestly care about their visit.
Whether you’re sending your welcome in advance or not, always provide the guest with an address and directions – a google maps link will do the trick too. Your guest may keep this with them throughout their visit, and as they explore, they will be reminded of their warm welcome whenever they check their welcome letter.
Important tip: be sure to include any access information, such as gate codes or smart lock codes. If you have a smart lock, provide a set of clear instructions on how to use it.
Are there unusual features or aspects of your property that may be confusing? Clarify these details in advance rather than waiting for a frustrating call from your guests. A few guideposts to the finer details of your property and the basic necessities are a big step toward being thoughtful and proactive!
Besides, your guest may not realize that you have things like board games in a cupboard or access to paid sports packages on TV if you don’t point it out!
Don’t let the little touches and extra efforts you took to make your property special go to waste. Lead the way with clear instructions to ensure appreciative guests don’t become flustered and frustrated.
Being new in a new place can feel like a very isolating experience. Let your guests know that they are not alone by providing a reliable way for them to contact you or one of your staff.
If guest communications are taking up too much of your time, services like Guesty’s Guest Communications Services provide 24/7 guest support, so that you’re guests can get everything they need without you having to pick up the phone.
Whether you’re using a service, a staff member, or doing it yourself, provide clear contact details so that your guests know who they can reach out to. You should also provide a contact for matters like maintenance, cleaning, and general assistance.
Lastly, you should include emergency contact information for local fire, medical, and police services. Although 911 may be obvious to you, you may be hosting guests from an area of the world where 911 does not exist.
While your policies were probably outlined in detail in your property listing, and again in your booking confirmation, you should take this opportunity to share the key takeaways in a more concise manner.
What are your prominent concerns when it comes to daily maintenance of your property? Here are a few potential issues you may want to address:
- Remind guests to lock up and turn off lights when they leave.
- Check-out procedures – like gathering trash by the by the front door, or turning off A/C units.
- Local rules the guests should be aware of – like quiet hours, parking on the street, or whether dogs are allowed off-leash in the area.
The welcome letter is a great place to share your favorite spots and local suggestions. While you should only name a few, you’re saving them the time and trouble of finding the information online – and they’ll love being able to experience the area like a local.
You can always be helpful, even if your knowledge of the guest is limited.
“No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find unique ways to experience the area. Consider stopping by the State Park for some quality time with Mother Nature. It’s only 15 minutes away, and it’s bustling with wildlife this time of year. If you’re up for some activity while you’re there, you’ll find a great kayak rental and launch site right beside the parking area at the lake. They offer discounts when you rent more than one kayak – but only if you ask!”
Again, if you have a little insight on your guests and their travel purpose, you can customize this with a personal touch.
“If you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate Mary’s birthday, Brown’s Diner offers a free meal for the birthday guest, along with a cupcake and a song!”
“Might I suggest a romantic picnic at Lake Tahoe, just five minutes away from home! The sunsets are spectacular, and it’s a local spot that not many have discovered yet!”
Crafting a well-written vacation rental welcome letter is a powerful way to make a lasting impression on your guests and ensure a delightful stay. It provides an opportunity to establish a personal connection, convey essential information, and showcase your commitment to their comfort and enjoyment.
A well-crafted vacation rental welcome letter can lead to positive reviews, increased guest satisfaction, and even repeat bookings. It exemplifies your dedication as a host and leaves a lasting impression on guests, regardless of whether you greet them in person or manage remotely.
So, take the time to create a personalized and informative welcome letter that reflects the spirit of your brand. With our tips and examples, you can wow your guests from the very beginning and ensure they have an unforgettable stay. Now, it’s time to create a remarkable first impression and elevate your vacation rental business to new heights.