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Do you ask your guests to contact you when they arrive? Phone call? E:mail? Or do you simply believe that no news is good news, that they made it safe and sound and all is well with the property?
About To Rent Our Property For The First Time
We just assume our guests arrive if we don't hear from them otherwise. They all have all our phone numbers, and I post them outside and inside the house in case they have any questions or problems upon arrival. They are also advised ahead of time that they will receive a phone call from me at 9AM the day after their arrival so that I can make sure all is clean and in order and if they have any additional needs. This has worked well for our 6 seasons of renting. Our guests often do email us to let us know that they've arrived.
I have the cleaning lady meet them to give them a key. Unless they are arriving after 10 at night. Then they have to call her to find out where she hid the key. Therefore, there is always contact that they have arrived or are on their way.
I do not ask for guests to call me to let me know that they have arrived. I mail them driving directions to the property along with instructions on how to gain entry. I include my home phone number, my cell phone number and my husband's cell phone number on these instructions, so I assume that if they have a problem getting into the cottage they will call.
I do call each guest sometime during the day after their scheduled arrival to make sure that everything is satisfactory with the property and to answer any questions that they might have. I hesitated to do this initially because I didn't want guests to feel that I was checking up on them or "bugging" them. Each guest, however, has seemed very pleased to receive a phone call from me making sure that everything is OK.
We have a keyless entry system with a date and time stamped entry/exit. I send them instructions for working the locks along with phone numbers if they need assistance. I do not call them. If I don't hear from them, I assume all is well.
Since I work with all our guests a good bit before they ever arrive I don't call them when they arrive. Our guests have probably got our phone number at least a half dozen times or more before they come. I mail and email rental guidelines and info and give 2 phone numbers they can reach us for whatever reason. We have our phone number posted in the condos in several places as well in our assigned parking spaces so we just decided to allow our guests to make that decision if they need to call us. We have lock boxes at the front door of each property and they are given the code several days before arrival. So many of our guests come from long distances and to try to meet them in person would become nearly impossible. Our guests arrive before check-in times, on time or they often can arrive late at night so meeting people after a long drive would be awkward to me.
I call every guest on the day they arrive, welcome them to my home and confirm all is well related to the property. Everyone seems to appreciate this personal touch.
I agree with Lipkindj - a simple phone call to make sure everything is OK is a key service differntiator for us. We've even had guests remark about this in our online reviews, so we know it's an appreciated gesture. Our properties have self-check-in using a Z-wave device that sends us a text message to our cell phones right when the front door is opened. After 30 minutes, we call the house phone and welcome them to the house and ask if everything is in order. We don't tell our guests that we have this feature (we don't want them to feel "Big Brother" is watching them). However, they all welcome the call and it's a great opportunity to answer any immediate questions. This small gesture is easy and starts our guests vacation off right.
I offer my guests a few options. Several days prior to their date of arrival I send them a short email that includes the weather forecast for the time they'll be staying, since most of our business comes from weekend or long weekend stays.
I ask if they know what time they'll be arriving and verify the contact phone # I can reach them at during their stay. I want to insure they've gotten inside and found all in order, so I offer to call them or they can call or text me to let me know all is well.
We're far from our VR, and have a lock box situation too. I've found that it's about 50/50- some want me to call, others either call or text me. I guess it depends on the individual- some get in, do a quick walk through and either head to the beach or the market, while others just want to relax and unwind. My guests always appreciate having the options, but what they all comment on is how nice it is to know I'm available and paying personal attention to them.
I'm with the "no news is good news" crowd. I priority mail keys and final documents, tell them about handbook, to put my tel. no. in their cell phones and that I check my e-mail several times a day. Sometimes I'm not sure what time of day they're arriving, and I've noticed that families are eager to get out and explore the island.
The day before arrival I EMail incoming guests to wish them a smooth trip, and I add when you are "'settled in", please send me a short EMail and let me know if everything is as it should be, or if there are any problems.
I have to admit that I started doing this defensively, rather than for the benefit of our guests, but it serves both purposes.
I read horror stories on VR owner forums about guests blackmailing owners threatening to leave horrible reviews if the rent was not refunded. I thought that having an EMail stating that everything was fine would discourage this practice.
If I don't get an EMail, I start to pester the guests. The following day a second EMail, the day after that I start to phone..
I learned that there is also a beneficial aspect to this practice. If there is a problem, the sooner that I know about it, the sooner that I can start to try to do something about it. Even when the problem really can't really be solved satisfactorally, the guests appreciate my efforts.
I send lots of information on the house in advance (Detailed Guest Guide included). However I also send an email on the day of arrival with phone numbers and contact information in case they find some problem when they arrive or during their stay. I often get a response telling me all is OK but never call unless requested.
It depends. If they seemed a little unsure during the booking process, then yes. I do if there is a language barrier too. We often have guests from Europe.
Ordinarily, no. I might send them an email to see if they are doing alright.
I send an email with very detailed instructions a few days before, tons of contact info, and request an acknowledgement of that email. Other than that, "no news is good news". If I don't receive acknowledgement, I call.
I have feel that most renters are not in favor of checking in upon arrival. I could be wrong about that, but it is the vibe I get in our particular market.
I do keep my phone practically glued to my hand when we have renters in case of emergencies, lockouts, etc.
In our confirmation letter, we ask guests to call us in the morning to let us know of their anticipated arrival time. At that time we can inform them of any road closures or weather conditions that might delay their trip getting to the ranch. At that time we can also let them know that they can check in early if they so desire. Upon arrival we actually walk our guests through the guesthouse and show them all the latest bells and whistles. Due to the layout of our property a guest needs onsite instructions to even get up to the guesthouse since it sits atop a mountain. Since we are on agricultural-zoned land we are required by county regulations to have an onsite manager. We make this very clear in the paperwork so they know that someone will be there to answer questions, etc. We are located in the middle of nowhere.
So each rental is indeed different...