How I have changed my guest communication over the last 12 months

I am incredibly grateful for what I have learnt from this forum, without it I would be seriously struggling. Therefore, in the spirit of sharing what I have learnt I thought I would share my pre-arrival messages. I am still constantly tweaking and learning and appreciate any feedback (as long as it doesn’t say I give too much information!).

I am a “deal with it now so the job is done” type of person. In the past I have had two messages I sent to confirmed guests in quick succession.

1/ Welcome message
2/ A copy of their itinerary.

In the past in the welcome message I told them to check their itinerary before they checked in as it would contain any updated information they needed. A couple of months ago I discovered that guests only receive the information that was uploaded when they booked. They don’t receive updates.

Now I send the welcome message at the time of booking and then follow up with the itinerary message on the morning of check in. It works so much better as things are always changing. It took me a while to fine tune the timing. I would think: “I’ll send it in a few hours closer to check in”, then, before I knew it it was 3.30pm and I had missed check in! So now it’s the first thing I do at the start of the day and I am confident the guests have all the updated information they need. Of course, they should already have it but I have found it’s better to triple check.

Welcome message on booking:

Hi …,

Thanks for choosing to stay at “…”, please download the Airbnb app so that you receive your check in code.

The front door has a keyless, electronic door pad. Your personal pin code (complete with photos to make the check in process easy) will be available in the “Check in instructions” section via the app about 48 hours before your stay.

I strive to offer a 5 star experience, therefore please message me here so that I can assist immediately (rather than letting me know later in a review) if there is anything that makes your stay less than 5*.

For extra information about the villa choose the House Manual option.
My online guide book (you will find it in your itinerary and at the bottom of the listing page just above the map) contains personal recommendations of wineries, restaurants and things to do in our area.

Enjoy “…” and the complimentary bottle of sparkling waiting for you in the fridge!

Wishing you a beautiful and relaxing stay.


My message on check in day:

Thank you for your booking of … - Villa … at … …

Google maps: …


I respect my guest’s privacy so will not contact you unless it’s important. Please message me here (this is the best way to contact me) if there is anyway I can help.

Airbnb TOCs’ requires all our communication takes place via this message platform.
Please be aware that I can’t offer after hours assistance, if there is an emergency please call 000.

Check in:

Self check in (we are not there to meet you) is any time from 3pm.

The front door has a keyless, digital electronic door pad. Your unique pin code is… Don’t forget the * after the code!!
This code is valid for the duration of your stay & changed on check out.
Check in link: …

To lock the door close it behind you and then push any key on the keypad.

Early check in/late check out:

I am sorry we cannot offer late check outs or early check ins. The housekeeper has her little one in daycare for the hours she is contracted to work. We require this small window of time between 11am -3pm to turn the villa around. We have to clean, wash the linen etc, complete maintenance and make sure it is up to standard for the next guests.


There is free, safe parking for one car in the parking space next to the villa (on the right just past the front door).

Pedestrian access is needed to the garage door so please leave enough space for someone to walk between the front of your car and the garage door.

The parking space is used by the housekeepers so isn’t available until check in time, the garage isn’t for guest use.

There is ample, free, safe parking on the street – watch out for the bus stop.


We do not live at the villa; you have the entire place to yourself.
Everything you need for your stay is included, that means linen, towels, kitchenware etc, as well as some consumables to get you started.

Check the amenities section of the listing for other inclusions and the online House Manual has more comprehensive information on the villa.


On check in you will find a Welcome Kit with all the information you require to enjoy your stay, including personal recommendations and descriptions of the local restaurants, wineries and activities in our area. You can also find this online in my Guide Book in your itinerary and at the bottom of the listing page just above the map.


It is important that you follow the instructions for the spa, otherwise there is the possibility of expensive repairs. Please use only the natural bubble bath provided.


If you are staying on a THURSDAY night please put the BINS out for Friday morning (if they aren’t near your car then they have already been done). The recycled is every second week, please check out the front and see whether the neighbours have put out recycled this week. Please bring them back in on Friday morning.

Check out:

*The housekeeper will be there at 11am on check out day to start work.
Please treat …with love, respect and care and leave her as you’d hope I’d leave your home. That means clean and tidy (with the dishwasher put on and rubbish disposed of in bins), or an extra cleaning charge may apply.

Let us know if something is missing so we can drop off what you require, or if you break something so we can replace it for the next guest.

Please relax and enjoy your stay!


It’s a good list and I expect everything is there for the guests that read it. Which begs the question: Do guests read it? It’s long and I’m wondering how often you get messages asking about stuff that’s clearly written there?

The message doesn’t actually define the hours where you ARE able to provide assistance. Is that an oversight or is it on purpose so you can make your own hours flexible?

Do guests actually put the rubbish bins out on Thursday evening? As a guest, I can honestly say that I would be put off by this, more or less depending on exactly what it entails. As a host, this is something I couldn’t leave to chance because if the bins don’t get put out, there won’t be enough space for rubbish for the next week, and of course there are the odors.


@Poppy Poppy I suppose you shared the communication that you send to your guests because you welcome feedback. If that’s the case, I hope you don’t mind if I mention to you that, from my perspective, your communication is way toooooooooooooooo long. I can’t imagine that your guests are reading it…If it’s working for you, then wonderful. If it’s not working for you, then I suggest you share it with a good friend who is a clear and objective communicator.


Yes guests do read it! I do not want to hear from a guest, ever, it’s rarely with good news. And I rarely do. I think it helps that it’s in sections with headings. The only thing I still get asked about a lot is personal recommendations, so they definitely skip over that in both my messages.

In relation to the rubbish, I only leave that bit in if they are staying on Thursday nights and no, they never take the rubbish out. If no one can do it then I will send them a message asking them to do it but they still rarely do. Luckily our neighbour covers it for us.

After hours usually means outside 9-5, but I answer messages until I go to sleep. I put that in as I got blasted in a review for not answering a 12.30am message until 7am. Also we are not a fly in location, people come here with a car to see the general area so have well and truly checked in by 7-8pm.

On a side note don’t you love this message I just got from a guest with no reviews when I asked him to complete his profile:

I have completed my profile is there anything else you would like to know? I have used air bnb before in New Zealand through a freinds phone when I travel with them for work. So I understand how it all works

I really have to bite my tongue not to say: wow, I use it all day, everyday and don’t know everything about how it all works!

I am very interested in feedback and knew people would say it’s too long. However, it does work for me. I rarely hear from a guest, I am a remote host who is often not even in the same country and I deal with about 12 groups of guests a week over a few properties.

I am confused. You say you send the first message upon booking, and the second message the morning of check-in. So where does this 48 hours before your stay business come into play? Aside from that I’m not sure what type of feedback you’re looking for.

Airbnb releases the check in information to the guest via the app 48 hours before the guest check in. They don’t get their code until then. I send the itinerary on check in morning (they already have access to it) because many guests, for reasons I can’t understand, can’t find it. So that message is just back up.

I thought it might provoke a conversation where remote hosts discuss how we manage making sure our guests receive the information they need from us.

I am always altering it, earlier this week my welcome message said: your code will be available via the app closer to your stay. But two days ago I had a guest pestering me 30 hours out saying he couldn’t see it. So I changed it to 48 hours. Airbnb is constantly changing so I am constantly tweaking. Anything to make it clearer and easier for guests so I don’t have to get involved.

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I see now. I don’t use the check-in feature on Air; sometimes I don’t want guests to have their access code before check-in time at all. We don’t have a lock that has the code only work after a certain time, so usually I’ve put the codes for the upcoming week into the door on my weekend. I send a thank you message immediately after booking saying they’ll receive further instructions and information closer to their stay. Then a few days before I send a message asking them what time they plan to arrive, where to park and to message us when they arrive (or text if they don’t have access to Airbnb). I also send them an e-mail with additional information about the unit, and my guide which contains sightseeing/dining recommendations, etc., and information about transportation options getting to our place and for during their stay. All of the e-mailed information is also in print within the unit. Depending on their answer to the message on their timing and the timing of our cleaner, etc., I will either stick with the personal check-in, or I’ll send them self check-in instructions. I just don’t want folks knowing their code ahead of time and risk them showing up early.


I used to use the check-in feature but stopped doing that once I learned that they sent the message 48 hours in advance. I had a guest think he could get to house because “it must be ready if ABB gave me the codes”. Um … No. And, no surprise, he was an ABB “regular”. Made me wonder how often he tried that and got a free day off an unsuspecting remote host. It didn’t work with us.

Now I send all the information they need (directions, codes) the morning of their stay. I’ve not had anyone complain (yet) because my initial message after booking states they will not get that information until then “for the safety & privacy of all guests”


How did you deal with the rascal?

Yana posted recently that a person showed up at her house that she rents but doesn’t live in and let herself in not knowing Yana was there. She didn’t have a reservation but Yana thought it was a previous guest. When Yana confronted her she just turned and walked back out. I just can’t imagine the nerve of some folks. What if someone else was booked in at that time?

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The guest that showed up unannounced would have told the legitimate guest a lie that blamed the host.

You don’t have to put the code in the check in instructions if you don’t want to. I put it in because I worry that I will forget to message them in the morning. It is brilliant because you add photos on where to park, the front door etc.

We change the codes about once a month. With us the most they are going to get in is an hour or so as the house keepers are there until then. They say that’s one of the best things about the job getting to tell early check ins that it’s not ready for them yet!

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You don’t have to put the code in the check in instructions if you don’t want to.

I had one complaint where she said she “was away from her phone for the day” and didn’t get my message so slammed me in check in. Funny how it was my fault she didn’t check her messages.

Oh I don’t think my cleaner would enjoy that at all and would prefer not to put him in that position, but if it’s working for you that’s great!!


They are the ones that have to deal with the mess and late check outs of entitled guests so they enjoy having a little power over rude guests who try to check in early.


Depending on the type of “code” lock you have you could possibly set it so that that code will not actually work until their actual check-in time. I do realize though that not all code locks work that way.

I have the August Smart Lock where they don’t necessarily need a code (but I do provide one if they do not have a smart phone - only one set of guests in almost 3 years now). I set their access for 2359 hours (11:59PM) the day of their check-in until I here from them what their exact check-in time will be 30-60 minutes beforehand. They need to give me 30-60 minutes heads up so I can meet them (if I am able) so it works out perfectly.

My current guest actually never did tell me that so when he showed up (I was there doing yard work) he asked about his access not being until almost midnight. I explained that I do that so people have to give me the 30-60 minute notice. In that case I had been leaving the emptying the dishwasher and vacuuming of the entryway rug until he had given me the notice. He decided to make a grocery store run and then come back. I had updated his access for 30 minutes later and when he got back we proceeded with check-in.

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Yes, I said in my post that I don’t have that type of lock.

Right. That’s why acknowledged that. Maybe it might be a good idea to get a new one? Or at the very least I was trying to help inform other readers of the options as well.


Just wanted to say I think it’s great that you give your cleaners/housekeepers this kind of control. I’ve seen so many off-site hosts/property managers complain about their cleaners in such a derogatory manner (not on here, other sites and fora). It always struck me that they’re missing the crucial point: if you treat your employees like crap, they won’t work well. Doh. Good for you that you’ve established such a respectful relationship with them.

(yes, I liked one of your posts - don’t faint!)


Thank you so much, without the cleaners we don’t have a business. I treat my cleaners like friends and repeatedly tell them to charge for everything they do, like popping down to the shops. Unfortunately, I can’t same the same about my owners. My cleaners aren’t stupid people who can’t get any other kind of work, they do this because it fits in with their lives at the moment. We actually call them villa managers as they are responsible for managing every part of the villa on the ground.

They all take such ownership of the places, it is delightful. I let one stay for free on an empty night last week, she told me the next morning she was moving in! She also discovered that the plug in the spa was leaking so it was a win for all of us.