How to Communicate With Guests After Check-Out
Post-stay communication is your opportunity to build guest loyalty and increase the chances of your guest, their friends, and their family booking with you in the future.
With post-stay communication, timing is everything. Aside from thanking your guest for their stay right after they leave, you’ll want to ask for a review, guide them to your direct booking website, and also strategically time referral promotions.
With the following tips, manage your Airbnb checkout messages like a seasoned professional and watch the direct bookings roll in.
Ask for Reviews at the Right Time (And Don’t Be Afraid To Follow Up)
Reviews are one of the main reasons to refine your post-stay communication approach.
The words of an individual reviewer can influence a potential guest’s choice of whether to book with you far more than your listing or your website. Knowing how and when to ask for reviews is the best way to harness this incredibly important factor in a potential guest’s decision-making process.
Be quick to publish your review right after a guest checks out. As you know, the guest receives a notification to leave a review as soon as you publish yours. While they would ideally write theirs the moment they receive the message, we all know it doesn’t always happen that way.
That’s why you need to be comfortable following up with guests as many times as necessary to get a review. Many guests do not realize how important reviews are to the success of a vacation rental business, so don’t be afraid to tell them. Explain how much reviews help you get more bookings and improve your properties.
If you list on Airbnb, for example, guests only have 14 days to leave a review, so make them aware of that deadline. People are busy (especially when they just return home after vacation), so don’t take it personally if they keep forgetting, but do emphasize that leaving a review only takes a few minutes and would mean a lot to you and your business.
Perhaps you had a guest that wouldn’t stop complaining and was clearly displeased with their experience at your property. If you sense a guest is going to leave a bad review, publish your review at the last minute. This gives them less time to write their review and decreases the chances of them doing so.
You can use guest messaging software to automatically manage your reviews and send reminders to guests.
Get rid of the heavy lifting on what can sometimes be a tedious task. Many software options can even help you automatically delay reviews when you sense a negative review coming on.
Guide Guests to Your Direct Booking Website
Getting guests to book directly on your website is short-term rental industry gold. While a guest may have found you on a booking portal like Airbnb or Vrbo, let them know they should head to your website if they want to book with you in the future.
The key here is to ask your guest for their email address before their stay (which is one of our recommendations for pre-stay guest communication). That way, you can send them marketing messages and encourage them to book directly on your website the next time they come to town.
You can even offer discounts on future bookings to encourage guests to book again with you. Just be sure you have the proper consent to use a guest’s email address for marketing purposes before doing so.
Time Your Emails Well
With post-stay communication, nailing your timing is the best way to get more direct bookings. We’ve already seen how you can time guest communication to increase the chances of getting a good review, but what is the best timing strategy for getting direct bookings?
Don’t send a guest a booking reminder or discount a month after their stay when they probably don’t need to use it. Instead, reach out to them 60 days before the one-year anniversary of their stay, which is when the booking window for that period opens.
Here are some examples of post-stay emails that can be conveniently timed to increase the chances of a guest booking with you again:
- If a couple booked with you to celebrate their anniversary, follow up with them about 10 months after their stay and offer a special package, which can include a booking discount and coupons for a local restaurant.
- Send an email detailing discounts or perks to a guest who booked with you to attend a convention or annual business event a couple of months before it takes place.
- For a guest that booked with you to attend a music festival or another local event, send them an email when the concert lineup or event details come out, and then again when the booking period opens (about two months before their stay).
People get a lot of emails, so while your direct booking discount email may get lost in a guest’s congested inbox, they’re sure to notice an Airbnb message notification on their phone. You can inform them in the Airbnb message that you sent them an email with a special promotion if they book with you the next time they’re visiting your local area.
Consider automating these Airbnb messages so you can be sure your message gets to them months after their stay without having to set a reminder for yourself to reach out.
Offer Discounts for Referrals
OK, you got a former guest to book with you again, and on your direct booking website no less. That’s amazing! Take it a step further and get their family and friends to book with you as well.
Offering family and friend referral discounts is an excellent way to multiply your bookings (and profits). Send a referral discount in a post-stay promotional email, but don’t wait until months after check-out to do so.
During the first few days after a guest has left your property, their experience is fresh in their mind. So once their review is published, thank them for staying with you and leaving their review, and share your referral discount with them.
How you want to structure your referral discount is up to you, so decide whether you want to offer the discount just to referred friends and family or the referring guest as well. What’s important here is that you’ll be upping your direct bookings and creating loyal customers.
Increase 5-Star Reviews, Direct Bookings, and Guest Referrals
With the right approach, post-stay communication can make a huge difference on your reviews, direct bookings, and referrals. Starting before a guest books until months after they check out, guest communication should be a key part of your operational procedures.
And remember, you can use automation tools to make post-stay communication a breeze. What’s important is that you make it a priority to keep reaching out to guests long after their fantastic stay.