Ever get a call at 2 am from a guest who is having trouble getting settled into their much-anticipated vacation experience? Or, even worse, are having trouble getting into their rental? These are the types of calls you DON’T want to get, right?

So, how do you ensure that the check-in process is as smooth as silk and that your guests truly feel welcome? Getting that much-coveted 5-star review starts at minute ONE of their stay – and these strategies will not only get your guests’ stay off to the right start but will increase your chances of getting that super 5-star review when they leave.

Embrace Technology for a Seamless Entry

In an era where technology is king, make it your best friend. Nothing says “We’ve got our act together!”’ better than a smart lock. By giving guests the ability to unlock the property using a code or their smartphone, you eliminate the hassle of physical key exchanges. Just ensure you regularly update codes for security. (And a backup spare “real” key, stored in a convenient-yet-hidden-away lock box is always a good idea!). There are so many options for smart locks, and more every day – read this post on my current recommendations.

You’ll also want to arm them with detailed arrival instructions: Before your guests set foot on the property, send them a comprehensive check-in guide. (And check our store to see the templates you can use to send this out automatically!) This should include photos of the entrance, parking instructions, and step-by-step details on using the smart lock or keyless entry system. Finally, consider creating a virtual tour of your property.  This allows guests to become familiar with the layout before arrival, ensuring they feel right at home from the get-go.

Include Some Personal Touches

We’ve said it before: you only have one opportunity to make a first impression! And sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Do you have a welcome basket on hand? Place one filled with local goodies, snacks, and perhaps a personalized note in the living area. It’s a delightful surprise that shows guests you care about them. You might want to tuck in a hand-written greeting card, when possible. Now that would definitely make you stand out! A local guidebook would be a fun and engaging tool to help your guests get their bearings in the area. Create a booklet or binder of your favorite local spots – cafes, restaurants, attractions, and hidden gems. Not only does this save your guests the research time, but it also offers them an authentic experience. Bonus tip: include some coupons or deals for those venues, too, but just make sure they haven’t expired!

Be Accessible but Not Overbearing

Communication truly is at the heart of any successful business. You want to ensure that your guests have multiple ways to reach you or your team. Reassure them that help is just a message away. 

Here are some practical opportunities for guest communication, along with a timeline:

A week or so before your guests arrive, send them a detailed email. Include essential information like the property address, check-in time, parking details, and any other specifics they should know. This not only sets expectations but also gives your guests ample time to ask any questions. (You can purchase easy-to-use templates here.)

A day or two prior to arrival, send them a gentle reminder about the check-in process. This ensures they have all the information at their fingertips.

Finally, just after check-in, reach out to ensure everything went smoothly. This not only shows your guests you’re proactive but also gives you a chance to rectify any unforeseen issues early on.

Of course, while the property itself is a huge draw, the experience you curate for your guests is what they’ll remember and share with others. The hospitality business is all about enhancing guest satisfaction! It’s not just the business of hosting; it’s about creating memories

Make your guests’ arrival the first of many memorable moments! 

Happy hosting! 🏡✨