I am going to share with you my introductory message to an inquiring guest. Each vacation rental unit is going to have different unique needs and you will need to tweak yours for your introductory messages. Of course you want to make it as welcoming as possible and then get any important factors to discuss out of the way.
For me, because I run my vacation rental in the State of Hawaii, I need to collect the Hawaii Transient Accommodations Tax from each guest. My first message explains this procedure very clearly so that there is no misunderstanding down the line. Since I predominantly use Airbnb, There isn’t a way to collect the tax on the platform yet, (they are working on implementing this for our area). So I collect tax separately using a feature called “Airbnb money request.” To find this feature, go into your Airbnb app and go into a booked reservation, then scroll down and see a button that says “Send or request money.”
Side note: Even if you don’t need to collect tax for your area, knowing about “Airbnb money request” is a great thing! It makes it easy to collect or pay money to a guest if they broken something or had to buy something for the unit.
I write a little blurb about the tax right at the top of my condo profile description. It let’s people know about it before booking and I ask them to message me acknowledging that they have read it so that I know whether they did or not. Here is that blurb:
“Note: We do have to charge the Hawaii State Transient Accommodations Tax that we collect separately before arrival with an airbnb money request. It needs to be done separately for our bookkeeping. Please write in your first message to us that you have read this and understand it. Thanks!”
If they did not say anything in their first message to me about it, I have a message prepared copy and paste style in the Airbnb saved messages icon that explains the whole thing again so that I know that they understand it before they confirm their booking. Like I said earlier, you want to start by making them feel very welcome and express your gratitude for their interest in your unit. Always add something to your copy and pasted message that makes it personal to them. Guest are very excited about their vacation and it’s nice to reflect that excitement back to them.
I have gotten an inquire from a young lady who wrote me that she was interested in staying in the condo and told me that she was going to propose to her boyfriend on her vacation! She said she was breaking gender roles and going for it!
So I started by commenting on that and then added my normal message. She responded very positively to my encouragement and said that the tax was no problem! If they do state in their first message that they seen and understand my notice, then my message to them is different.
Here is my response to one lady who said she already read about the tax and understands. She also said that she has lived in Kihei before so I started by making it personal to that.
“Great, thanks for your booking. That’s so cool you used to live in Kihei! I will send you the Airbnb money request to your email inbox for the taxes closer to your arrival date. The total taxes are: $75.99 Please send me your flight arrival and departure times when you get a chance as it is helpful for me to have. I will be sending you instructions on how to get there and into the condo as well as my Maui recommendations closer to the date not that you need them since you have lived here before!
After I accept the booking, I go straight to TurnoverBnB to message my cleaner saying that I have a new booking. That way she schedules it right away and that helps us so much with our monthly scheduling!
And for those of you who are curious about the young lady and her boyfriend in my condo, he said yes.
About the Author: Angie is a professional Airbnb and VRBO host that operates on the island of Maui, Hawaii.