The Vacation Rental Pre-Arrival: Setting The Stage For A Stellar Stay With Messages

What’s in it for me?

Every guest coming to spend their holidays at your vacation rental property comes with a certain set of expectations. Hence anticipating those in advance and preparing your visitors regarding what to expect is significant from the get-go. Making them feel at ease, right from the pre-arrival stage in the guest journey cycle, goes a long way in rendering smooth and seamless the rest of the stay. Knowing how to communicate effectively and sending the right messages can be a life savior in providing them with a mindblowing experience!

the vacation rental pre-arrival stay for your guests

Where are you? 

The lock isn’t opening!

I’m not able to locate the property!

Do you just sit and wait for your guests after they have booked your rental for a riveting holiday experience? Or do you rise, go into action and start preparing the best way you can to make the vacation rental pre-arrival smooth and seamless for your rental home guests?

Irrespective of the type of hospitality property, i.e. whether it is a hotel or a vacation rental, it has become significant to target your audience at the pre-arrival stage. Therefore, the pre-arrival along with effective utilization of technology, especially related to communication has become essential to deliver a stellar stay. 

Importance Of Communication 

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

The effectiveness of communication is an already established phenomenon, especially in the context of the hospitality industry. Effective utilization of communication technology like guest messaging and emails for short-term rentals is the need of the hour for running hospitality properties. 

The first step in developing effective communication skills is to listen and anticipate the expectations of the guests. Guest expectations are constantly changing and it has become important to remain attuned to this ever-changing paradigm of expectations. 

Emotions play a significant role in the holistic well-being of a person. The hospitality industry must therefore create experience-oriented services that are associated with emotions. In order to create conscious and positive emotions for guests, the entire sensory spectrum must be activated, and verbal and non-verbal communication must be taken into account which is especially important for the vacation rental pre-arrival phase. 

What Is Pre-Arrival Communication?

pre-arrival communication for vacation rentals

Pre-arrival communication with your guests provides you with an opportunity to enhance the holistic experience of the guests by establishing a line of communication even before they leave home and walk through your property’s doors. Pre-arrival communication is beginning to play a significant role in the context of the hospitality industry as the demand and expectations of guests are constantly changing. 

Nowadays, the majority of guests are not only tech-savvy but expect a personalized experience during their vacation. Hence, it is important for you to have the perfect strategy to deal with this particular aspect of pre-arrival communication as it can both lead to delighting guests and enhancing the overall revenue.

In order to ensure a memorable and long-lasting guest experience, operational efficiency and communication can be regarded as key prospects. Hence, enhancing operational efficiency and allowing smooth communication is a must in order to provide a top-notch and faultless experience during the vacation rental pre-arrival stage in the guest cycle.

What Is The Pre-Arrival Stage?

vacation rental pre-arrival travelers

The pre-arrival stage is one of the most important phases in connecting with your vacation rental customers. It is the first point of contact between the guests and the vacation rentals and can be considered a significant touchpoint in the entire cycle as it forms the initial impression of yours in the minds of the guests. 

A great first impression at the holiday rental pre-arrival touchpoint paves the way for a stellar stay along with impacting the online reputation of your rental in the long run.

Guests prefer personalized service and quick responses to their queries. Vacation rental text messaging can help you in this regard by allowing you to create a great first impression on your guests by responding to their queries instantly. These queries may range from a wide variety of issues- from something as obvious as navigating through the property, asking pertinent information about the stay, the type of breakfast to weather details, fun things to do in the area, restaurant recommendations, etc. 

Connecting With Guests Through Texting At The Pre-Arrival Stage

A personalized and smooth stay is an expectation and a norm for guests nowadays and for you, the vacation rental pre-arrival messaging is perfect to stay a step ahead. Guest messaging can be an ideal way of dealing with this particular issue as it can help you in creating a great first impression on your guests by instantly responding to their queries, all of which could be handled very well by simply creating a list of pre-arrival instructions in the form of FAQs.

Again, tools such as text messaging can pave the way for better utilization of resources that are usually scarce for small properties and vacation rentals. 

Setting The Stage For A Stellar Stay With Messages

pre-arrival stage for vacation rentals

When a guest makes a reservation, you’ll typically send them a ‘reservation confirmation’ email. In the vacation rental pre-arrival email or SMS, a short description of the services and the possibilities can also be provided by you so that the guests have clarity on what to expect.

Following are some of the uses of messaging and how it can help you provide an enhanced guest experience:

  • Sharing relevant information and handling early guest requests: At the pre-arrival stage, guest messaging can be leveraged to be proactive to the requests of your guests. In other words, you can inquire about the needs or wants of the guests by sending them messages. 

Your guests will feel good about your customer service and you and your team won’t be overloaded with last-minute requests once the guests arrive.

Another key capability of this particular solution is that it allows you to get your guest excited about the things they can enjoy during their stay, like your top amenities, pre-arrival activities, local attractions, etc., and help them plan their visit.

For most guests, it will also be important to know that, although fully automated, your messaging tool can connect them to you for live support, should they need something beyond what it can do for them. This way, the vacation rental pre-arrival is perfect for sharing all the information and touching base.

  • Providing instant answers to guest queries: Prior to checking-in at your property, your guests are bound to have some questions about various aspects such as parking options, transportation, and local tourist attractions among others. Instead of wasting time by browsing through the website, automation can be implemented to deal with this particular endeavor. It is the perfect channel for handling FAQs instantaneously. 

In addition, various notifications like sending your guests updates about their rooms or suggesting local tourist attractions can also be sent. As you can see, there are numerous opportunities to engage and better serve your guests in the pre-arrival stage by leveraging conversational AI. You can also compile a digital amenity page or online concierge service for your property with all the necessary instructions at the pre-arrival stage.

  • Help them know you better: Sometimes, a brief idea about who’s hosting them tends to put the guests at ease leaving no room for unwanted surprises. Introducing yourself a bit and your vacation rental- the area and the surroundings, what’s special about your holiday home, what got you interested in this profession, what makes your rental different from the rest, etc. through messages can pique the guest’s interest further.

  • Let your guests know what to expect beforehand: One cannot underestimate the power of simple check-in instructions at the time of vacation rental pre-arrival. Before your guests arrive at your property, they should have all the basic information in place such as where to park, how to unlock, how to navigate your property, whom to contact, etc.

What Your Pre-Arrival Email For Hotel Guests Should Include

the vacation rental pre-arrival instruction email

Once a booking is complete, should you just lean back and wait for your guests? Not quite, as the pre-arrival stage can be regarded as the perfect opportunity to build anticipation and break the ice by dispatching an enticing pre-arrival email. Hence, it goes without saying that optimizing your pre-arrival communication is key to succeeding in this domain. Therefore, your vacation rental business should be including the following points at the pre-arrival stage:

  1. Creating a unique and attractive subject line: Your email subject lines must be captivating if you want high open rates. Email marketing experts have shared the best practices to improve open rates which are as follows:
  • Apply Scarcity 
  • Keep it as short as possible 
  • Create a sense of urgency 
  • Unleash your creativity 
  • Personalize subject lines

  1. Don’t forget to personalize the message: The primary purpose of pre-arrival messages is to forge a relationship with your guests. Personalized vacation messages for email play a critical role in this particular context. 

In addition, looking to include the guests’ names in certain instances during the pre-arrival stage makes the message feel more personal and less like a generic email blast.

Enhancing Guest Experience Through Messages 

personalizing guest experience through text messaging at pre-arrival

It has become critical for you to establish pre-arrival contact with guests and keep them engaged right from the very first point of interaction and remain connected throughout the guest journey. Vacation rental pre-arrival messages can lead to an enhanced guest experience merely with help of messages. 

Home rentals need to map the guest's journey so that the most important touchpoints can be identified and improved. Guest messaging can help you deal with this situation by providing tailor-made solutions according to different situations. Some of the sample pre-arrival messages are as follows:

  • Booking Confirmation: Guest messaging can be a great tool for you and your guests’ preferences in pre-arrival stage. In order to provide a seamless and hassle-free guest experience, automated guest messaging can be utilized by vacation rentals to send booking confirmations via text.

“Hi Sam, hope you are doing well! We have just confirmed your booking on 26th February at Lex Holiday Home. We hope that you will have a great time with us.  We are looking forward to your arrival”

  • Reminder Message: Yet another pre-arrival example of the usefulness of text messaging is that it can be used to send a reminder to the guests as the date of arrival approaches. Hence, the vacation rental pre-arrival stage experience can be enhanced with messages.

“Hi Jade, this is to remind you that you have a booking with us on 26th February. Kindly let us know if there will be any changes in your check-in timings or in case if you’re running late. This will help us make the necessary preparations accordingly. We look forward to welcoming you soon!”

Other Important Pointers:

  • Sharing a brochure or digital book of instructions can be helpful
  • Instead of providing scattered information through various emails and sets of text messages, try compiling it all in a single book of instructions. This way the guests won’t have to rummage through multiple modes of communication to locate specific information.
  • Compiling a set of frequently asked questions or FAQs related to breakfast, WiFi, pet policy, local eateries, local attractions, etc. will literally lead your guests to thank you and will prove to be beneficial beyond doubt.

Conclusion

Vacation rental properties have thus turned out to be a popular alternative to hotels due to a host of advantages it has over hotels. In addition, the rise in prominence and dependence on technology has amplified over the past few years, especially in terms of communication and guest experience. 

The radical developments in technology have also enabled vacation rental owners to get the guests hooked right from the pre-arrival stage and ensure a memorable experience with the help of messages. 

The time is ripe to invest in technology (if you are yet to do so) in order to deliver a smooth and seamless experience to your guests who prefer personalized and one-to-one communication. 

Leave No Unexpected Surprises For Your Guests During The Vacation Rental Pre-Arrival Stage Of Engagement

vacation rental pre-arrival faster responses to guests
  • Communicate with guests during the booking process with AI WebChat.
  • Personalized guest engagement from pre-arrival, check-in, and check-out to post-stay
  • Connect with your guests and provide a contactless experience during the stay
  • Staff messaging to stay on top of your game

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Posted on
February 6, 2023

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