How To Automate Communications for Vacation Rentals? ᐅ Guide
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To communicate with guests is crucial to your success as a vacation rental owner and short-term rental host. Here is how you can automate your guest communications, avoid mistakes and save valuable time.

What is guest communications?

Guest communications is any form of communication that takes place in a hotel or vacation rental between hosts, owner or landlords and guests. This includes phone calls, emails, text messages, social media posts, letters, etc. Personal contact with guests is important to make your customers feel comfortable, give good reviews and come back.

The customer journey (the guest journey) already starts with the booking request or direct booking. Newsletters that are sent to former guests after their stay are also part of guest communications. Guests have different needs, while some like to chat and prefer to ask once too often, others are more reserved. With a good communication strategy, you as a host ensure that your guests receive all the necessary information and avoid misunderstandings.

Stages of the guest journey on vacation rentals

  • Booking request or direct booking
  • Booking confirmation
  • Digital guest guide (Wifi password, parking, facilities etc.)
  • Email with request to fill online check-in form
  • Key handover on arrival
  • Key handover on departure
  • Email thank you message incl. request to write a review
  • Newsletter (special offers for regular guests, Merry Christmas, update on renovation or additional accommodations, etc.)

Different forms of guest communications

Communication with guests can be direct, written or digital. Direct or personal contact is the case, for example, at check-in, when the hosts meet and greet personally and hands over the key to the guest. But written communication in paper form or digital communication via email or via mobile apps such as Airbnb or Booking.com are also part of Digital Guest Communication. Large establishments sometimes even use a chatbot to relieve the burden, answering frequently asked questions.

Enhance relationship with your guests

It’s important that as a host, you build a positive relationship with your guests. The easiest way to do this is through personal contact on the phone or small talk when giving over the keys. But you can also make your guest feel comfortable with digital and automated communication. With digital guest communication, it is especially important that (at least) the lead guest feels personally addressed.

After all, there is no physical contact here and misunderstandings can quickly arise. Automatic emails sound much more personal if the guest is addressed by the name. This may sound complicated, but it is technically quite simple to implement. Contactless communication is also advantageous from a hygiene point of view.

This is how successful communication works

  • Consistent communication strategy: always stay friendly and make everything clear.
  • Perfect timing: send booking confirmation immediately after booking; send arrival schedule shortly before arrival, etc.
  • Always be available for guests (emergency number).
  • Short reply times: Even if you can’t solve the problem immediately, you should at least give short feedback that you are taking care of it.
  • Provide all necessary information: Wi-Fi password, check-in and check-out times, house rules, directions, Covid19 rules, important phone numbers etc.

To make sure you don’t forget anything, you can create email templates based on different triggers and automate most of the events.

Save time by automating digital communication

When communicating with your guests, it is important to respond quickly and remain friendly, even after the third inquiry. In addition, you should make sure that someone is always available in case of emergencies and that guests don’t have to wait long for feedback. If you manage your vacation rental with Smoobu, you can automate guest messages. After all, guests usually have similar questions.

This is how Smoobu can help you with your guest communications

  1. Unified inbox (manage all messages through Smoobu)

    You can read and reply to messages from the Smoobu cockpit. So you don’t have to login on Airbnb or Booking.com when a guest asks you a question about it.

  2. Send messages automatically

    With Smoobu you can also send automated messages. You can set trigger to exactly when and which messages should be sent. It makes sense, for example, to send an automatic booking confirmation after booking or an email with directions and parking information two days before arrival. You can also send a thank you email a week after departure and ask for a review on the booking portal that was used for the booking (e.g. Airbnb or Booking.com). If you work with external service providers such as cleaners, you can also automatically notify them when new bookings arrive.

  3. Automated email templates

    Here are a few examples of automated templates:

    • Booking confirmation after the booking has been received
    • Reminders for yourself
    • Additional information during the stay
    • Check-ups during your stay to make sure everything is okay
    • Inform service providers about arrivals and departures
  4. Online check-in: Climate-friendly & contactless check-in

    With the online check-in function, your guests can check in before they arrive. All relevant data such as passport number or nationality are encrypted and securely forwarded.

  5. Digital guest guide

    With Smoobu you can create an individual digital guest guide for each guest. This can be accessed via a link and can be sent automatically by email. In addition to all relevant information about your vacation apartment or vacation home and the surrounding area, you can also offer additional services such as a filled refrigerator upon arrival, rental bicycles, etc.

  6. Manage your Airbnb reviews

    On the Airbnb booking platform, reviews are the be-all and end-all for your success as a host. After all, if you have a lot of positive reviews, you’ll get more bookings. With Smoobu you can not only manage messages from your guests, but also read and reply to Airbnb reviews from former guests.

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