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:
8 message suggestions from hosts
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].
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.
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.
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.
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]
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).
“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]
House manual: [link or instructions]
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]
[Hikes for the more ambitious]
[Good places to eat, on the way]
[What Marathon Runners want to know]
[Wedding guest activities]
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.
p.s. Here’s a link to the closest beach to our house.
“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!
“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.
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.
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.
@Lynn332 - I would recommend the removal of formatting for Word documents by using the Windows Notepad program as an intermediate step. That means typing and editing the text in Word, but then copying (select-all or Ctrl+A on windows, then copy or Ctrl+C on windows), and pasting (left-click in Notepad, then paste or Ctrl+V) into Notepad.
The notepad program does not retain any of the formatting, but that also cleans off any code garbage inherited from Word.
Repeat the procedure of select-all and copy from Notepad, and then paste the contents into Airbnb into the message template form. That is done by left-clicking into the text box and then right-clicking and then selecting paste, or using the Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut.
There is no place to put variable codes for the guest's first name, so you might place that wording somewhere that can't be missed, such as at the beginning of the template.
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.
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.
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 ?"
Good Morning everyone...... got to learn a lot of things. Thank you very much Good People for sharing your lovely knowledge.
SAMARJIT [Surname hidden]
Guwahati, Assam , INDIA
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?
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?
I agree ferrying messages through the airbnb site can cause delay (or excuses for delay).
When I send my long pre arrival saved message I also type a brief text and send it directly to their phone via text message. I started doing this when on my own trips I saw the need for just the address, door code, and wifi pw without sorting through the longer message. Once we are in touch via text they can quickly let me know of any concerns, and vice versa.
sometimes I get guests who don't have the app on their phone, they book it throught the web site
so in my house rules I ask if they don't have the app installed to please provide alternate method
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!
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.