Guest communication can be one of the most time-consuming parts of being an Airbnb or Homeaway/VRBO Host. If you become a manager of more than a few properties you may want to consider using a receptionist service and yet, for those full-timers who want to maximize their profits, here’s an easy loophole: Saved Replies!
Airbnb calls them Saved Messages and you can find them at the bottom of the message box in the message history with any guest. If you click on Saved Messages, a few will already pop up if you have filled them out in your listing, such as:
House Rules - This is where you want to include such basics as: no smoking, no parties or events, please remove your shoes and the like.
House Manual - Under the “Basics” section in the “Manage Listing” area you can cut and paste in a digital House Manual. This is highly recommended as every guest will automatically be sent a link to the manual in the confirmation email upon booking.
Directions - Is your driveway a little tricky to find or are you in a large apartment complex? Detailed directions or helpful tips can be saved in the “Location” section of your listing.
Wifi - You can enter your Network Name and Password in the “Basics” section to also have that auto sent to guests and for quick access in the saved replies.
With Homeaway/VRBO I suggest just using templates, there is a Hospitality Manager that unlocks and auto sends a bunch of messages to guests a week before their stay, but it is super time-consuming to set up. They may have made it better since I last used it but I grew frustrated with it rather quickly. The one positive I remembered is that they allowed you to save details from multiple listings, so if you have homes all in the same town or area, this could be a time-saving setting. Good luck with whichever method you choose to use on their site!
To create templates in Homeaway/VRBO, go to the inbox, click on a message, in the reply box you’ll see a dropdown menu that says “select a template”. In that menu you will see, customize templates. From there you can edit current templates and/or add new ones. The best part about this is once you update a template, you automatically have access to it on every single listing. Quick and easy!
Both websites give you the option to access these feature from their desktop websites and phone Apps.
The Save Replies that I suggest you add in addition to what you will find Airbnb providing you are these below (of course you don’t need to cut and paste my exact words, make it your own):
5. Booking Confirmation (i.e. I send this the moment a client books, it cuts down on them asking a million questions) - Airbnb: “Thank you for booking our home, we are excited to host you! Please take a moment to review the House Manual before your stay. It can be found in your confirmation email from Airbnb, online or in the app under the “Your Trips” section.”
Homeaway/VRBO: “Thank you for booking our home, we are excited to host you! Please take a moment to review the House Manual before your stay. I have attached your House Manual to this email.” (you can save your house manual in a PDF form and then attach it. Once you’ve attached it one time, it will alway be available in your attachments on the message threads).
6. Evening of Check In Date - “Hi there, just checking in to see that you got into the home smoothly, I hope you are settled in and enjoying the space.“
7. Day Before Check Out (this can be tricky for 1 night stay, so you can create a combo of the check in and check out message or times them strategically)- “I hope you had a great stay! Just a reminder, check out is before 11am (or whatever time yours is). We hope to see you again in the future, have a safe trip home!”
8. Review Request - “We hope you had a smooth transition home. We are so pleased that you choose to spend your holiday with us! If you could, please take a moment to leave us a review. We are close to Superhost status so your 5 stars really mean a lot! Thanks again and we hope to host you in the future.”
*If you are going to ask for a review, it’s best if you have already reviewed them yourself. I always suggest waiting for feedback from your cleaner before leaving a rave review.*
Tips for Making Saved Replies work for Every Listing
Use the word “Home” or “space” to describe your place, saying “House” or “Condo” would require you to change it for each listing based on the dwelling.
Do not write “Let me know if you have any Questions” in your replies. If they do they will ask. Asking this makes them look for questions, you are not aiming to prolong the conversation. Use the FAQs from guests to make your Ad and House Manual super thorough so guests won’t have questions.
Use exclamation points! They read as excitement and enthusiasm, which somehow translates into friendliness. Trust me, people love it!
When to Send Them
If you really want to be on it, you can set reminders in your phone, and yet, please know that it is not the end of the world if you forget, these are merely a suggestion. I recommend updating the calendars and adjusting pricing daily, so that is a good opportunity to see if any of these saved replies make sense to send out when you are already on the site.