The Reservation Recession

CHAPTER 5

Guest Communication: How To Maximize Efficiency While Keeping Guests Thrilled

It’s time to take the stress out of communicating with guests

Listen to this chapter on SoundCloud.

Of all the tasks that fill up your day, guest communication can be one of the most time-consuming. When you’re bombarded with guest questions and requests, you can hardly find time to complete the basic tasks required for running your business, let alone think about expanding your portfolio and scaling your operations. 

 

But you still want to be present for guests, creating a positive rapport and being responsive when issues arise so you can give them a positive experience. There’s good news—you can offer five-star guest communication without it demanding the majority of working hours. 

 

Take a look at our recommendations for a guest communication strategy to increase efficiency, improve brand awareness and engagement, and enhance the guest experience.

With Operto, you can offer gold standard guest communication while saving hours per week.

Want to learn how?

Guest communication: Five scalable solutions for an optimized host experience

Having the right guest communication strategy is essential to running a successful business and hitting vacation rental KPIs. We’re going to cover five ways you can optimize guest communication to help grow your business and make your job easier, including: 

 

  1. Message flows for every stage of the guest journey
  2. House manuals to cut back on guest inquiries
  3. Digital guidebooks to engage guests and minimize cancellations
  4. Automated check-in and contactless access
  5. Centralized guest communication

 

1. Create a message flow based on pre-, in-, and post-stay communications

The best way to make your guest communication strategy work for you is by being proactive. That’s why you should create a systematic message flow based on pre-stay, in-stay-, and post-stay communication. 

 

When you meet guests where they’re at in the journey, they’re more likely to connect with you and become loyal customers. And when you build a process around guest communication, you can make it repeatable, efficient, and scalable. 

 

Take a look at an example of a message flow that covers all points of the guest journey:

Image showing the messaging points for the pre-stay, in-stay, and post-stay stages of the guest journey
Be sure to create an efficient messaging flow that includes the pre-stay, in-stay, and post-stay stages of the guest journey

As you can see, the pre-stay communication points are based around getting your guest prepared for their trip. The in-stay communication points help you ensure your guests are having the best experience possible, while post-stay communication points focus on reviews and guest loyalty. 

 

2. Minimize guest questions, messages, and calls with a digital house manual

If you want to scale your short-term rental business, you need to find a way to make guest communication more efficient. One of the best ways to do so is by providing a detailed digital house manual to reduce the number of inquiries you receive from guests. 

 

By providing guests with all the information they need about your property before they even arrive, you make them more independent and less likely to reach out with questions. The key here is to use a customizable solution that’s easy to roll out for all your units. 

 

Your digital house manual tool should integrate with your PMS so guests only receive what’s applicable to them—the right solution will allow you to customize your house manuals to each of your properties, personalizing property-specific content like directions, parking instructions, and WiFi passwords. 

 

In your house manual, include valuable information that will answer guests’ questions before they even have to ask them, like: 

 

  • WiFi connectivity directions and passwords
  • Directions and parking information
  • Detailed instructions for complicated appliances
  • Information on where to find extra linens and supplies
  • Seasonal information like fireplace instructions or pool guidelines

 

3. Engage guests in their stay with digital guidebooks to reduce cancellations

In addition to a house manual, you should also provide guests with a comprehensive digital guidebook. Share this guidebook during the pre-stay phase of the guest journey—by sending your guests helpful information about their stay before it begins, you preemptively answer their questions while engaging them and preventing cancellations. 

 

Again, you should look for a tool that integrates with your PMS so it’s easy to send your guests curated information about the property they’ll be staying at (without adding extra work to your to-do list).

 

Helpful information to include in a digital guidebook includes:

  • A packing list
  • Information about things to do in the area
  • Curated dining and entertainment recommendations
  • A guide to the amenities located at your property
  • Personalized upsell opportunities
Operto Guest digital guidebooks

Want to discover how digital guidebooks can improve your guest communication strategy?

Give Operto Guest a try.

4. Give guests control and independence by automating the check-in process

Many hoteliers are getting rid of their front desk, and short-term rental property managers can also enjoy the benefits of contactless check-in. When coupled with the right guest communication approach, smart locks can help you provide an optimal guest experience while maximizing efficiency. 

 

For contactless access to work, you need an advanced vacation rental technology solution that connects to your PMS and sends your guests their unique access codes before their stay. These codes should be automatically generated and deactivated after check-out to ensure the security of all your guests. 

 

And when you’re in contact with your guests throughout the pre-stay stage of their journey, not being present for check-in doesn’t seem cold or impersonal—rather, it gives your guest a smooth and relaxing arrival while making your processes more efficient.

Smart locks that connect to your PMS? Operto Tech offers that and more.

5. Centralize guest communication

Rather than relying on various lines of communication, like email, SMS messages, and messaging apps, make centralized, in-app communication a strategic component of your brand. Simon Lehmann, Co-Founder and CEO of the vacation rental consulting firm AJL Atelier, offers valuable insights about centralizing guest communication: 

 

Guests expect a fast and seamless communication channel… so unified inboxes and standardized communication channels are key.

 

By allowing your guests to contact you through a convenient guest portal, you give them a seamless, consistent experience. But on top of this, you and your team get a simplified, unified solution. 

 

When all your guest communication is hosted in one place, it’s easy to see all your conversations, including time-sensitive guest requests and inquiries. Plus, the right solution will centralize not only your guest communication, but also communication with your team and other operational information. 

 

That means you can speak with your employees in real-time, view the status of all your units, follow up on maintenance requests and repairs, and speak with guests, all within the same platform.

Operto Guest messaging dashboard
With Operto Guest, you can view all your guest conversations in one platform, helping you to keep in touch with your team and stay on top of operations.

Discover how a centralized dashboard can improve not only guest communication but all your operations with Operto Guest.

Effective guest communication for efficiency and excellence 

Become more efficient and save hours per week by implementing a repeatable, scalable process for guest communication. With the right strategy and tools, like smart tech for self check-in and a centralized communication platform, you can wow your guests while making them more independent and less reliant on you. 

Guest communication isn’t just about responding to questions—it’s part of a broader strategy to streamline your operations and make every guest’s stay exceptional. 

With Operto, you can make guest communication one of the easiest parts of your job.

Learn how today.

Frequently asked questions about guest communication

Why is it important to communicate with guests?

If you want to provide your guests a positive experience, properly communicating with them is essential. Guest communication ensures that you are on the same page as your guests, as well as helps you attend to any needs or issues that may arise. Plus, guest communication is an opportunity to build trust and rapport with your guests, which leads to customer loyalty and repeat bookings. 

 

How do you communicate with guests?

Nowadays, there are many ways to communicate with guests. While in-person communication still exists, more common forms of guest communication include via text messaging or email, on social media, through a guest communication tool, or within a guest experience app. 

 

What do you need to remember when communicating with guests?

When communicating with guests, you need to remember that it is your job to not only attend to but also anticipate their needs. Clear and proactive communication is the key to achieving this, which is why it can be helpful to use digital guidebooks and house manuals as a part of your guest communication strategy.

 

How does guest communication software work?

Guest communication software works by giving guests the ability to seamlessly contact a property manager or host when the need arises. Oftentimes, this takes the form of a native mobile app or web app. By giving guests and property managers a seamless communication platform, guest communication software facilitates guests inquiries and requests.  

 

What features should you look for in a guest communication solution?

When weighing different guest communication solutions, you should look for the following features: 

  • Seamless two-way messaging capabilities
  • A unified inbox where you can view all your conversations
  • Digital guidebook capabilities that allow you to answer guests’ questions before they have to ask them

Another interesting feature for a guest communication solution is automated messages, which can help save you time and keep your response time down. 

 

What are the benefits of communicating with guests?

Effectively communicating with your guests enhances their experience at your property. When done correctly, guest communication can offer numerous benefits, including:

  • Smoother operations
  • Higher guest satisfaction
  • Positive reviews
  • Increased guest loyalty
  • Direct bookings
  • Better hospitality cost control

Plus, considering the hospitality labor shortage issues many property managers are facing, having an effective guest communication strategy can help you reduce your staffing needs.