If you’re looking to get into the hospitality business without having to talk to (and be pleasant with) people, this may not be the business for you. There are countless communication strategies you could adopt for staying in touch with your guests, but in this post I will talk about mine.
If you think of the traditional “sales cycle” of business trying to nurture a relationship with a customer, you’ll likely remind yourself that the communication starts before the potential guest even finalizes their reservation. Rather, the relationship begins when the person is just looking at the offerings and trying to choose how they will fill their need. This is how you should think of your short-term rental operation as well. You will communicate with your guests before they even become guests and you should continue the conversation after they have left.
I will walk through each of my touchpoints with my guests – First giving a high-level label of the interaction and then listing the main intentions and topics of the message.
My Communication Touchpoints, In Order
Keep in mind that all of these messages are sent via the booking sites’ messaging systems. With contactless check-in, I never actually meet my guests in person.
Note: The following list is NOT extensive. There are always other communication points that happen between myself and guests. There are payment issues, cancelations, and unique questions that arise. You need to be available to respond to all of these possibilities. The following is just a high-level timeline of communication that occurs between myself and my guests. Your roadmap may look completely different! Don’t take this as a prescription for guest communication. Rather, use it as a mental exercise to make sure you are ready to nurture your customer and provide them all of the information they need.
Contact Point #1: New Booking Inquiry
Timing: When a potential guest sends an inquiry for a stay (but has not booked)
- To confirm the potential guest’s intended dates and the total price of the booking, so we’re all on the same page
- To let them know that the dates are available
- To place urgency on the request, letting the potential guest know that the dates may get booked very soon
Contact Point #2: New Pre-Approval
Timing: When a potential guest has been preapproved to book my home for a stay
- To give the guest the all-clear to book their stay for the given dates
- To let them know they have 24 hours from that point (pre-approval) to book, or else the pre-approval will expire
Contact Point #3: New Reservation
Timing: When a reservation is confirmed!
- To thank the guest for choosing my home
- To confirm the dates of the stay
- To confirm the number of guests, which was stated when the guest made the booking
- To let the guest know I will be in contact with more details on the home closer to the check-in date
Contact Point #4: Check-In Instructions
Timing: 1-3 days before check-in
- To give the guest the full address of the home and any special instructions on how to find it
- To give instructions on how to get into the house (lockbox, smart lock code, etc.)
- To state/reiterate the house rules
- To let the guests know about any accommodations provided (WiFi, coffee, soaps, etc.)
- To give recommendations for things to do in the city/town
- To give check-out time and instructions (which will be reiterated in a later message)
Contact Point #5: First Morning
Timing: 18 hours after check-in
- To let the guest know I hope they had a great first night
- To remind them that I am available for anything they need during their stay
Contact Point #6: Check-Out Instructions
Timing: 18 hours before checkout
- To remind the guest of the date and time of their checkout
- To reiterate checkout instructions
Contact Point #7: Requesting a Review
Timing: 24 hours after checkout
- To thank the guest, again, for choosing my home for their stay and ask them to keep me in mind for future visits
- To let them know I will be leaving a review of them as a guest
- To ask for a review as well as any suggestions on how to improve the experience
Summing It All Up
As stated, the list of touchpoints you just read are things that I decided to implement in my operations. Yours may look completely different and that is great. Tailor your communication strategy to your style and your guests’ needs. Regardless, I hope this gave you some ideas and made you think about the type of relationship you are trying to build between yourself and your guests.