Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

Administrator

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If you’re feeling a dose of deja vu whenever you open a message from a guest, you’re not alone. There are some topics hosts are asked about again and again, such as exceptions for pets, wi-fi codes, directions, best places to eat, and more. Well, there’s an Airbnb template feature that can help: saved messages.  

 

“I love [saved messages] and use them all the time,” said host Sally, of Snoqualmie, Washington. “Templates save me a lot of time—I was able to answer four guest inquiries in less than 10 minutes! [They also] prevent me from forgetting some key bit of information, and allow me the time to create a well-crafted response—one that has been well proofread, is crystal clear, and, if appropriate, is especially sensitive to our guest's needs.”

 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use the saved messages feature, along with some great responses Sally and other hosts always have on hand.

 

How to create a saved message

 

On the web:

  1. Go to a message thread you have with a guest
  2. Click "Use a Saved Message" in the message box. If you don't have any saved messages yet, you'll be prompted to create your first one
  3. Create a title, write your message, and then click “Save”
  4. Your saved messages will appear when you click “Use a Saved Message.” Simply choose the message you’d like to send and click “Send message”

 

On mobile:

  1. Go to a message thread you have with a guest
  2. Tap the “Document Icon” next to the message box. If you don't have any saved responses yet, you'll be prompted to create your first one
  3. Tap "Write a new response" and create a title
  4. Tap "Write response,” write your message, and then tap “Save” and “Done”
  5. Your saved responses will appear when you tap the “Document Icon” next to the message box. Simply choose the response you’d like to send, tap it, and then click “Send”

 

 

8 message suggestions from hosts

 

  1. Thank you for booking

An immediate “thank you” lets guests know you received their request. John, of Westcliffe, Colorado, says, “I usually edit the first few sentences to personalize it a bit. So far, all guests have reacted well and seem to like having all the info upfront.” Emily, of Italy, shares this example:

 

Dear [guest name],

Thank you for confirming your reservation.

Do you happen to know what time you will arrive?

If you need directions to reach my home or some advice about [home city] do not hesitate to ask me. I will do my best to help you.

Have a nice day, see you in [month of stay].

—Emily

 

  1. So sorry we can’t accommodate

As much as hosts want to accommodate everyone, sometimes you can’t. And that’s okay. Still, “these responses have to be worded delicately, respectfully, and clearly,” Sally said. “So when someone asks you to make an exception for them, you don't have to think about it or feel guilty—you just click.” She also offered up a few of her saved messages:

 

Hi [guest name],

I am sorry. For the well being of your child, we are unable to host young families.

—Sally

 

Hi [guest name],

I am sorry. Our dog is male, and we do not want there to be any problems between our dog and another guest’s dog.

—Sally

 

Hi [guest name],

We are so sorry we have had to cancel your reservation. We hope that you will have an opportunity to visit us another time.

—Sally

 

  1. How to get to the listing

A couple of days before guests arrive, you might want to send directions. (Airbnb automatically sends directions to guests, too, so you can keep your message short.) Ionnis, of Artemida, Greece, offers this example:

 

Hello [guest name].

We’re looking forward to hosting you. Here are directions to our home via…  

Google maps: [link]

Other GPS systems: [link]

Driving directions:

Public transportation directions:

Any other transportation options:

We have plenty of suggestions in the “Getting around” section of our listing and we encourage you to read it and make the most of your trip.

The weather during [stay dates] is expected to be [weather forecast].

Before you arrive, please feel free to send us your flight details, ship name and port arrival times, transportation decisions (taxi, public transport, own car). And let us know if you’re using cellular roaming and your preferred method of communication when you arrive (voice calls, SMS text message, Viber, WhatsApp).

—Ionnis

 

  1. Welcome message and kit

“In my pre-arrival message, I send the door code, wi-fi code, detailed directions and reiterate my rules and policies one more time as a gentle reminder,” said John. (Airbnb also has check-in instructions, so you have another way remind guests of details.) John offered up some more particulars:

 

Dear [guest name],

By now you’ve received directions to our home. Here are a few more things you’ll need for a great stay:

Contacts: [phone numbers or user handles]

Meeting place: [at the house, port, airport, or other meeting points]
Door code: [entry code, or last for digits of your cell phone number]

Wifi: [password]

House manual: [link or instructions]

—John

 

  1. Things to do

When it comes to activities, hosts have local knowledge no travel guide can rival. Heather of Stowe, Vermont suggests having a list of “Rainy day activities” and “Popular reservations” at the ready. Sally injects some humor into her recommendations, advising, “Send what sounds like this chatty description you have given off the cuff”:

 

Gee, [guest name], I think you would love one of these activities:

[Great hikes in the area]

[Easy hikes]

[Hikes for the more ambitious]

[Good places to eat, on the way]

[What Marathon Runners want to know]

[Wedding guest activities]

—Sally

 

  1. Did you sleep well?

After the first night, hosts recommend sending another welcome message asking if everything is okay. “Very important,” Ioannis said. “If they stay longer, I repeat this every two to three days”:

 

Good morning, [guest name],

Did you sleep well? We hope you are having a comfortable stay. Please let us know if everything is okay and if you need anything.

—Ionnis

p.s. Here’s a link to the closest beach to our house.

 

  1. Checking out

“One [saved message] I have found quite helpful is the one I send the day before departure to remind my guests of the checkout time,” said Kate Mary, of Kiev, Ukraine. Here are more details she suggests reminding guests of:

 

Hi [guest name],

Is it that time already? We hate to see you go. Just a friendly reminder about check out:

Checkout time: Tomorrow at [checkout time]

Directions: [to the airport, port, or other transportation confirmation numbers]

Please remember to lock the door. Thank you for staying and we look forward to hosting you again!

—Kate Mary

 

  1. Thanks for being a great guest

“Sometimes I wonder whether guests worry they are receiving a bad review if I leave one too quickly after they leave,” Heather said. “Hopefully [a thank you message like this] alleviates that concern and encourages them to leave one in return”:

 

Dear [guest name],

Thank you for choosing our home during your trip to [city]. We hope you had a five-star stay and safe journey home. When you get settled, please review your stay.

—Heather

 

Dear [guest name],

Just a friendly reminder to review your stay with us. Thank you again for choosing our home. We hope you had a safe journey home.

—Heather

 

Tags (2)
59 Replies
Christine in
Glenbrook, Australia
Level 10

Thanks for this reminder and how to guide with suggested templates and drafts. 

I do use modified and saved messages and it's very handy.

Closer to the guest arrival time I also send guests an sms image so that they have a clear idea of what they are looking for when they are approaching the accommodation. My property is very private and not easily visible from the street, so this has been effective in assisting guest arrivals without compromising my privacy or security. I feel that sending the image direct to the guest is a better option than putting a recognisable image of the outside of my home on the internet, as it prevents people from seeking out my premises with a drive by. 

Thanks for this thread. It will be good to hear further ideas about how other hosts use these host tools.

Wende in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 2

I was wondering if the brackets [guest name] really work and put the correct guest name there or if you need to type that info over and over again :-)

Christine in
Glenbrook, Australia
Level 10

Hi @Wende, in the Airbnb saved messages feature you will need to manually insert the guest names. It does not recognise the guest to whom you are writing. Saved messages acts as a clipboard only. But it is still a handy feature. 

I hope this answer is helpful. 

Christine in
Glenbrook, Australia
Level 10

Quote:

Hello [guest name]. We’re looking forward to hosting you. Here are directions to our home via…   Google maps: [link] Other GPS systems: [link]

In my experience including web links, phone numbers and even the word Google in Airbnb emails tends to get screened out. So unfortunately I don't use these options as I would like to. They might sometimes make it through in post reservation emails, but as I can't be certain,  I don't make use of them. I find myself unable to confidently send a hyperlink to the website guests can use for planning their travel via public transport. 

But if this tip is being recommended by an administrator, how can I send weblinks and even phone numbers for tourist services or venues without having to wonder if they will remain intact when they arrive at the guest inbox? I would appreciate any advice on this.

Regards Christine 

Level 2

Nice post.

Matt in
Minneapolis, MN
Level 3

Does anyone know how to change the order of saved messages? I'd like to re-arrange my saved messages so they are organized better. 

If this doesn't exist, Airbnb can you please implement this?

Wende in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 2

Hi Christine,

 

I think it only blocks these things when a booking is not accepted yet. This because otherwise people will book directly and use airbnb only for fincing guests and AirBnB will lose commision.

As soon as the guests have booked the urls become visible is my understanding.

 

Good luck!

Wendelien

Ana in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2

Great post. We've used most of these templates with an automation tool ( cohost.club). Thanks for the additional templates.

Karen Anne in
California, United States
Level 4

Thank you for all the great details! 

Level 2

Here is a sample of my pre-arrival email to my arriving guests.  I always send it about one week prior to arrival so they have time to review and ask questions.  In this email I attach a very detailed house info packet with wifi, door code, etc...  Hope this helps!

 

Hi (Guest Name),

 
I hope you guys are excited for your trip!  I have attached the information for our home including accessing the apartment.  The main entrance is on the ground floor on the left side of the front steps. The apartment key will be in an electronic lock box on the entry gate above the entry door knob.  Your unique code is *****. A suggestion during your stay; keep the key in the lock box while you are out, this way it will be there when you return and you don't have to carry it with you and risk losing it! The apartment will be ready for your check-in on (Date and check in time). Checkout time is before (check out time and departure date) . 
 
Should you need assistance when you arrive do not hesitate to text me, my cell is , but it is very easy accessing the key and getting into the apartment.  We will likely be out when you arrive, but again, I am available by text, and I also use WhatsApp.
 
Please let me know that you have received these instructions.  If you could provide your flight arrival and departure times, that would be helpful as well.  For our international guests, as a reminder, make sure to bring any charging adapters and/or converters for your personal electronic devices as we do not supply these.  Have a safe trip!
 
Best,
Peter
Conrad & Robert in
Cathedral City, CA
Level 2

I see in one of the above "template" samples there are "links," however, message does not allow Host to send links to guest!

 

In order to send good informative links that I think my guest would like/enjoy, I have to /was informed by AirBnB staff, to use the long email link. 

 

Who's telling the truth here? 

Deborah And Daniel in
Sacramento, CA
Level 2

This is very helpful. I have a standard message greeting, but never had it saved, just type it in each time. On my phone it's easy, but if at the computer these saved messages are a real help.

Bridget in
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Level 1

I would like to attach information to my responses to guests but the Airbnb email address does not seem to allow for attachments.  Can you assist?

Antonios in
Thera, Greece
Level 2

I'm pretty surs once you passed the cancelation period you are free to send any lincs, google maps etc. I usually explain that the system will allow it just a couple of days before their check in and I will text the location just then.

For the brackets, it would be quite usefull if they will make it work like the most of the hotel online travel agents!

Magda in
Athens, Greece
Level 2

Hi ! thanks for the  helpful templates. I wanted to know if a word file , which is my Athens Guide, can be saved as a tempalte and sent to my guests after booking, through the platform.

 

Adria in
Page, AZ
Level 2

I wish that AirBnB would revert the saved messages to show the title and a brief line or two on the app rather than causing me to scroll through every single entire message!

Jane in
Sarnia, Canada
Level 2

Wende, you can use your message, then before you hit the send button you can put your curser anywhere that you need to change something. My message just says Dear Guest, but you could put your curser on Guest and backspace it out, then add the guests name, I also do this by adding the door code in my prepared message. so you can have a nice welcoming message to click on quickly, and just enter the name, and door code in its proper place. Easy peasy.

Evelyn in
New York, NY
Level 10

You can use a company (for free) I'm not an affiliate with them.. that will merge the names, dates, etc. 

I talk about this here and you can view it for free on the autohosting module

https://thehostingjourney.teachable.com/p/the-ultimate-guide-to-guest-communication

 

Michelle in
New York, NY
Level 5

Ohhhhh. Same theory as my colleague @Evelyn's templates. I think she offers a more comprehensive package. 

 

.. my only concern is are these too awkward? I wouldn't want someone my senior getting a message that says "I hope you've slept well!" It's too informal!

Beth Durtschi in
Driggs, ID
Level 2

I've never had trouble sending links once a reservation has been confirmed. 

Evelyn in
New York, NY
Level 10

Yes, once your guest books you can send links, etc. Note that once the reservation is over those links get removed again. 

Helene in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 1

Hello Admin. I have been saving pre written messages for over two years now. I have contacted Airbnb about this several times but never got the issue resolved. One day, on my airbnb app  after an upgrade the Green head titles were gone from being bold and green high lighted text to  regular looking text. The text was no longer compressed to a shorter text, it was the full size message. This might not be a big deal for a host with one ot two listings but for me with 8 listings it’s a major problem. I then had to scroll and scroll to find my stuff, all I see is a roll of continuing text and are having a hard time finding what I am looking for. Before I coild easily reply to a guest at a streetlight but niw it takes several minutes and reading glasses to find. I never receives answers from you as to why this happen, anyways would love to hear back. Helene 

Diane in
Snow Hill, MD
Level 2

I’m so glad to see an article about this. I love this feature and have a question. I have a few saved templates that I’d like to delete. I know how to edit them. I want to delete them entirely.  I have tried all kinds of ways to do it without success.

 

Can anyone one help Please? 

Paul & Emily in
Colorado Springs, CO
Level 2

Sending my guests messages their first day and any days after that asking them how they slept, just seems unneccessary and annoying. When I'm on vacation staying at an Airbnb, the last thing I want is to be on my phone and bothered by messages that I have to reply to. 

 

This is a great article! I've been using the saved messages since I started and find them very useful especially when specific information needs to be given. It would be wonderful to have auto messaging or messages where you can select the time/date to be sent to that guest. I would appreciate that especially at check-out time. :)

Valerie in
Las Vegas, NV
Level 4

Once you click on "Use A Saved Message", scroll ALL the way down to the bottom.

Then click on "Edit Saved Messages at the bottom, highlighted in green on my screen.

 

Once you click in that section, you have the option to click on "Edit" or "Delete" for each individual Saved Message that you have previously saved.

Bryce in
Spokane, WA
Level 2

While I was hoping for news of some improvements that have happened to the message templates, here are two suggestions:

1) Let us rearrange the message template order.  The newest messages are at the bottom and the oldest are at the top. That's probably because they're sorted in the unique row number of the database. Just add an arrangement variable to the mix, so we can customize it later.

2) Start using variables, like HomeAway/VRBO does.  Since I usually use my cell phone to do the canned messages, I need to scroll up to the top of the message draft just to put in the first name.  Since the cell phone app only shows three lines at a time when editing a message, it can be very tricky.

Lynn in
Buffalo, NY
Level 2

Is there any way for a completed document to be uploaded? I have already spent time creating documents about things to do in the area and operation of the home so I would like to be able to send that document easily to the guest.

Ken in
Washington, DC
Level 1

SAME HERE!! Would love to see this change!!

Ken in
Marietta, GA
Level 1

I use templates all the time for all the reasons stated.  I wish that airbnb would allow us to send attachments in our messages.  I see that we can use links, which is new to me and will help, but sometime an attachment is the best solution.  I used to be able to do that through Gmail, but now the link in the Gmail message goes to the airbnb message page.

 

Cindy in
Las Vegas, NV
Level 1

Can Airbnb screen guests to ensure that know how to read? One of my guests gave me 4 stars for accuracy  because She didnt read the Wifi code in the House Manual, notebook in condo or the Personalized letter that I emailed her with

Detailed information including the wifi info. She thought I should have a big sign in the condo.

 

 

Morag in
United Kingdom
Level 1

Further to Matt’s query. Not only how do you change the order of the Saved Messages, but how do you delete Saved Messages? 

 

(I hate untidy files!) ;-)

Level 1

Loved this!! Will be so helpful as I’m just getting started. THANK YOU!

Toni-Ann in
Kingston, Jamaica
Level 1

good idea will try it out

Steve in
North Bondi, Australia
Level 1

I agreee with you about messaging guests the next day. It seems intrusive and unnecessary. I just leave a note in the apartment with my phone number, and wishing them an enjoyable stay, and telling them if they need anything at all to please message me. 

Chamaine in
Shalimar, FL
Level 4

Yes they do as well as phone numbers. 

Anita in
Queensland, Australia
Level 2

My gripe is the "send" button using my mobile.  Many a time I've typed up a message, realised I'd like to amend it, scroll up, or across, or down and my finger inadvertently touches the "send" button. The unfinished message automatically gets sent.

 

I feel like an idiot when I have to explain to my guest what happened.

 

Can there be another control added here like "Are you sure you want to send this message now ?"

 

Thank you

Sarah in
Charlotte, NC
Level 2

Agreed!! Completely. I get annoyed when I get messages like that. I send my guests all their check in information and remind them what time check out will be at the end of their stay and to let me know if they need anything, along with all my contact information and a back up contact. If I have stays longer than 6 or 7 days I might send them a message before check out, but definitely not for short stays. One time I got 6 messages during a one night stay.. it was so off-putting and has influenced my hosting style. 

Samarjit in
Guwahati, India
Level 2

Good Morning everyone...... got to learn a lot of things. Thank you very much Good People for sharing your lovely knowledge. 

Regards 

SAMARJIT [Surname hidden] 

GOOD PEOPLE 

Guwahati,  Assam , INDIA 

Wende in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 2

Thank you, that's how I use it now, I was just wondering

Andre And Joel in
Seattle, WA
Level 2

We have nearly 100 canned answers for our guests, wish the ability to use merge fields was there to eliminate guess work and typos.

Andre And Joel in
Seattle, WA
Level 2

This is all nice, but when you have nearly 100 of templates, not being able to sort, categorize or search through answers becomes a pain. When can Airbnb roll out these UI improvements?

Jean in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2

I have a 3 pm to 10 pm check-in time at my place and I get multiple guests who message me when they instant book that they will arrive at noon.  When I message them back to let them know that check-in is not available until 3pm and ask them to confirm they understand,  most of them  never respond! How can I get through to these guests that I will not be able to accommodate what they seem to assume they can get for early checkin?

Patricia in
New South Wales, Australia
Level 2

This is one of the many reasons I stopped using Instant Booking!

Yazid in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 1

It's not free. It's charge USD $89.

Amy in
Toronto, Canada
Level 2

I remember a few years ago there was an algorthim for inserting something like [Guest Name] where the template message will insert the name of the guest you're messaging. That was a really useful feature - saved me time and also avoided any typos or mistakes. Hope airbnb brings it back soon!

Steven And Paige in
Atlanta, GA
Level 2

Thanks for these great tips. I have several saved messages but there are some suggestions here that I plan to add. Also, I did not realize that directions were sent via Airbnb---not sure how I have missed that little tidbit but happy to be in the know now!

Valerie in
Ohoka, New Zealand
Level 3

I use the saved message to send arrival details to my guests. Unfortunately it seems not all read through it properly and I now send an additional message to stress that they must read the first message carefully or they will be confined to the garage area! I have called it an Easter Egg Hunt, courtesy of a guest, and have had no problems since. Funny thing is the guests I have had the most problem with are those that English is their language! Great idea to use Whatsapp or similar as a lot of the guests I have don’t seem to receive messages or don’t bother checking.

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Thanks @Valerie for sharing how to delete a saved message. 

 

@Diane, just checking, if you have seen Valerie's reply here? It would be great to hear if this works for you. 

 

Lizzie

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

It's always great to hear ideas, thanks for sharing these @Bryce

 

Do you use this feature quite a bit?

Diane in
Snow Hill, MD
Level 2

Not sure if it makes a difference, but my “edit “ button is at the top of the page 

 

i have tried this many, many, many times. And I just tried it again. If I delete all the content in a saved message, I get a pop up that tells me I have to have add content in order to save the ... now blank ... message. 

 

I haven’t ever seen a separate way to delete the whole saved message. 

 

Thanks for your attention to this. It has been frustrating. I even called customer service several months ago. I was told that this was not a feature on the AirBnB platform. Instead he suggested it was my browser. Tried another browser .... nope. 

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