How to Ensure a Seamless Vacation Rental Check-In

The Evolve TeamLeave a Comment

There are three major issues guests run into most frequently when they rent a vacation rental: cleanliness, lack of amenities, and –

Getting into the property in the first place.

A smooth check-in process is essential to every vacation rental’s success. A rocky arrival with key codes that don’t work and hidden keys that can’t be found can ruin your guests’ stay before it ever begins.

We’ve put together some tips and tricks to give your guests everything they need for a pleasant arrival – and a blissful stay in your rental.

Be Descriptive

There is no more crucial time to give specific instructions than when explaining details of the check-in process to your guests. If your rental is in a confusing location, give them detailed directions, provide landmarks, and describe how they’ll be able to tell they’ve arrived at the right location.
Provide a pre-stay email with clear instructions on how to access the property. This gives guests enough time to voice their questions or concerns early, and arrange for alternative check-in possibilities if they need to arrive early or can’t use a phone app to access your electronic lock.

If you decide to meet your guests at your rental, you must be on time. Let them know what you look like and where to contact you if they arrive earlier than expected. You should also be sure to have a backup plan if you’re running late or are delayed; a neighbor or a service partner may be great resources for this duty.

If you plan on using a lockbox or keyless entry system, be sure to email or text the correct code to guests before they arrive, and test that you have the correct code in a pre-stay walkthrough.
Whatever your method, give clear instructions, and double-check frequently to be sure your instructions are still accurate. If they recently demolished that barn you’ve put into your instructions as a landmark, it’s going to confuse your guests when they can’t find it!

Be Available

Even when you’ve provided the clearest possible instructions and double-checked that everything is ready for your guests’ arrival, you’ll still have to contend with user error.

Your instructions for using the key code are clear as clear can be: hit “1234 and then the * key” to open the lock.

But there will still be that guest who enters “1234”, neglects to hit the * key, and gets frustrated because the lock won’t open.

You’ll have guests who can’t find the lockbox even though your directions couldn’t be any clearer. You’ll have guests who can’t try the key in the door handle even though you’ve written plain as day “only use the key on the deadbolt.”

If this happens with your guests, the difference between a ruined vacation and a saved guest experience is simply good communication.

The check-in is absolutely the most important time to be reachable. Keep your phone turned on and in ear shot, and answer right away. If you don’t hear from your guests, check in on them a half hour after they were due to arrive just to make sure they were able to get in.

If you can’t be available, designate someone else who can. Good communication on your part will put the guests at ease for their entire stay. You’ll have assured them that you’re available and ready to help, and that’ll give them a feeling of security throughout their stay.

Communicate Arrival Time

Timing is everything.

Check-in times usually range from 3:00 to 5:00, and check-out times are commonly between 10:00 to noon. Make sure to communicate to your guests when the property will be ready for them to arrive, and that they must let you know if they will be arriving outside of those hours.

This will be true even if your guests are using a keyless entry system or a lockbox to get in. If your guests arrive too early, they could get there before your housekeepers have finished cleaning the property – or worse yet – before your previous guests have even vacated the property!

If they arrive very late at night, you may not be available to help them if the usual user errors crop up – and you’ll need to make it clear that being without help is a possibility they’re accepting when they choose to arrive at midnight.

Make sure you know when you’re expecting your guests to arrive, and ask them to communicate with you if their plans change. Be sure they know you’re happy to accommodate a changed schedule, but that you won’t be able to do so if you don’t know their plans.

Be Detailed With Departures

Your guests arrived safely and got into the property without any problem. You can stop worrying, right?

Afraid not. You still have to make sure your next guests have a smooth arrival – which means paying attention to your current guests’ check-out procedure.
Be sure to communicate what your guests should do with the key, if you provide one. If they take it with them, your next guests won’t be able to get in! (Unless, of course, you have a backup – which you should!)

You should also be sure they know when they’ll need to be checked out so that your cleaning crew has enough time to turn the property over for the next arrivals. If your current guests stay a few hours later, you may miss your cleaning service’s window for a cleaning – which means your property won’t be ready for your next guests to have the seamless check-in process they expect.

Follow these tips and your guests will always be able to access your property seamlessly and effortlessly – and they’ll be sure to thank you for that in their review!

Evolve provides every traveler with a detailed pre-stay email that includes customized check-in and check-out instructions. To learn other ways Evolve is making vacation rental easy for homeowners, click here or call us at 877.818.1014.