How to share welcome guide PDF now that email option has been retired

Hi everyone. I’m a seasonal host with an off-grid cabin and have put together an extensive guest welcome guide detailing how the cabin works, local things to do, etc. etc. It’s lengthy but organized by category so easy to navigate. When AirBnB retired the email option a few years ago, I applied for an exemption so that I could send guests the guide. Of course messaging only allows me to upload an image. I was about ready to send my 2024 guide to this year’s guests and discovered that the email option is now gone for good. How do you fellow hosts send documents that can’t be attached to a message? I looked back at historical posts and saw that @muddy was using email to send a hand-drawn map for guest navigation. How are you sending the map these days? Anyhow, I know I can send a document link but I don’t know how to do that other than google drive and I would rather not do some real-time experiments with guests to see if they’re getting my link or not and whether they can access it (for google drive, I’d probably have to share the document to their email addresses anyhow or they wouldn’t be able to access). Okay, thanks for any tips on how I might share the guide in advance.

I don’t do it often but when I have, I’ve uploaded a PDF to the back end of a website and sent the link to the guest.

But usually, I just have the local guide and house manual in the apartment, appliance instruction manual in a closet and point out both of these during the house tour - encouraging the guest to get in touch if they need anything at all.

@COCabin My map is a jpeg file and I just attach it to an Airbnb message. But I also ask guests for their email address, if they want to print it out and have it with them. If their phone is out of charge or they don’t have a data connection, or something like that, they have the paper map as backup.

I even did that when Airbnb had the coded email option, because it was glitchy- some guests said they got the email, but the attachment wasn’t there.

No guest, except one weirdo, who ended up cancelling 6 hrs before check-in, has ever balked at giving me their email address (and I give them mine, too, so they don’t think an incoming email is spam).
Airbnb doesn’t block exchange of email addresses in messages once a booking is confirmed.

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We created a Linktree, which is a collection of links under one main link.

Easy to update, change, add and remove. Best of all, it’s free. It just takes some time to set up.


I ask all guests to provide an email address like VRBO supplies as standard. My confirmation message is detailed with formatting and includes links to pages on our website so guests can read details relevant to their stay prior to arriving and two video links on how to use digital lock to enter. Airbnb messaging destroys our careful formatting. I chase guests with message follow up once or twice, then text message and finally phone call until they supply. I make sure they respond that they have received and read the detailed confirmation and access email, and keep chasing until they confirm. Too many problems in the past where guests have read nothing in my Airbnb listing and wait until they are in the car on the way and then worry about what they need to bring, how to find the accommodation and how to get in etc, but I am out of contact on a plane or out of mobile range and they are frantically contacting Airbnb. Now since I insist on email address and confirmation of receipt problem solved 99.99%. They are happy to give me their mobile number, I trust them with a house worth $1.0 m they should be happy to also trust me with their email address. They get one more email from me after departure offering a loyalty10% discount for a return visit off our direct rates which are at least 15% than booking through Airbnb saving a total of at least 25% compared to re-booking through Airbnb.


Guests phone numbers are visible as soon as a booking is confirmed.

Thanks everyone. It certainly is much easier on VRBO where you can attach a PDF and email directly. I think I’ll write each guest with a google drive and dropbox link and let them know they can send me their email to get the guide directly. I always leave a hardcopy at the cabin but my guide has a lot of local recs and things to remember and some of them seem to appreciate having it in advance. @RomeoRetreat fantastic resource!

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I had this exact same problem, and I found the answer thanks to my sister. After staying there she said, why don’t you just share info with guests by QR code, everyone uses QR codes now .

I had no idea what she meant but did some research, and I’ve been doing it for a month now and the guests love it.

I did it like this (there are probably other ways):

  1. create your guide \ map in MS Word or pdf and save to your Google drive (or one drive, Dropbox etc)
  2. create a QR code to the link to your guide (a brief Google search will tell you how to do this, it’s very easy)
  3. send the QR code as an image file (jpeg) to the guest in the Airbnb\Vrbo chat, it works in both
  4. send an accompanying template message explaining to them that they should scan the QR code
  5. whenever something needs updating (eg a restaurant you have recommended closes down) just edit the original file in your Google drive. Anyone scanning the QR code will always see the latest version.
  6. print out the QR Code and put it in the apartment (in case they need it again)
  7. the QR code itself never changes so it’s just a 1 time setup

My experience is that guests don’t open attachments nearly as much as they read an email. For instance, I have a document on renting a vehicle or hiring a driver service, including a decision matrix, and I send that to guests. About half of our guests still ask me whether they should rent a car or hire the service.
So I have an email that goes out a little over a week before their arrival with anything I deem critical. That seems to get read.

Mine is, and this is probably an old-lady response, that increasingly hosts avoid face-to-face contact with their guests. Even calling seems to be avoided being replaced by texting.

This was fine in the pandemic of course, and many hosts probably started using these non-contact methods during that time.

House tours seem to be pretty rare these days too.

I am not averse to the use of non-personal methods if its required but I still prefer the personal touch.

Semi-rant over.

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Good info on how to use QR codes, but I don’t agree that only having the QR code to information in the rental is a good idea- there should be a hard copy, too.

Only relying on things like QR codes to impart info makes the false assumption that everyone is tech-oriented, that tech never glitches, that everyone uses a smart phone, and that their phone is always available.

I was in my dentist’s office and wanted to connect to his internet while waiting my turn. He had the internet QR code posted on the wall, but I had no idea how to use that to connect, he had to show me. Not everyone is tech savvy nor do guests who aren’t want to spend their holiday time trying to figure it out.

QR codes require a camera to open them and presuming they are reading the message app on their phone it might make it more difficult because the QR code is on the phone too. They’d have to borrow someone else’s, right?

I stop at what I recall as your step 2. I have my guide in the cloud and send them the link to open it. For me the cloud is OneDrive, but it could easily be Google Drive or Dropbox.

Don’t get me wrong, I love QR codes and use them a lot but it’s always the case where someone has their phone in their hand and can scan the image with it.

We only have hard copies. In addition to the text, they have attractive photographs of the area and we encourage guests to take their copy home as a souvenir.

This is extra advertising and encourages repeat business.

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Not as far as I’m aware. You can have multiple tabs that you can toggle between on a phone just like on a computer.

No, they don’t need a camera, they just need a phone.

Many years ago, 2012 or thereabouts, we had a QR code cake made for a client’s promotion. The QR code led to the client’s website about a special event.

In those days, a QR scanner wasn’t a necessary part of all phones. Nevertheless, the cake was a great success. :slight_smile:

Don’t you scan the QR code with the phone camera? That’s what I had to do to scan my dentist’s internet QR code.

On my phone it’s just part of the general utilities - flashlight, time, lap counter, screen lock etc.

What’s truly daft is an ad on TV that shows a QR code - as if I’m going to grab my phone and run over to the TV and scan it… :slight_smile:

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I have to use the camera to scan QR codes on my android unless I were to download a QR code utility app.

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Kind of old-lady here, too. I’d be happy to call all our guests after they book. I used to offer to call them at a time convenient to them. Only a small handful actually wanted to talk to me so I gave up even making the offer.


But my point is they are ON their phone looking at a QR code someone messaged them. That doesn’t work.