Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

Administrator
41,171 Views

20160727_SeasonalQ2_John_San-Francisco_Elliott_3690.jpg

 

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)
61 Replies

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

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.

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 3

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 🙂

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Sarnia, Canada
Level 5

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.

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 3

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

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Arkport, 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

 

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level 1

It's not free. It's charge USD $89.

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Arkport, NY
Level 10

You can get the first module which is the automation.. the templates which is my language and what I use with my guests isn't free. 

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

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.

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Asheville, NC
Level 2

Do you have one for single night stay where they have over stayed the check out time? and you have another guest coming in that you promised an early check in?  And they are not responding to you.  The second and third part of that is one specific example I am dealing with right now. 

 

 

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

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!

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Glenbrook, Australia
Level 10

Hi @Wende5, 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. 

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

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 

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 3

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

Re: Tips for messaging guests: Save time & set expectations

in
Arkport, 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. 

Comment