If you’re a short-term rental operator and you aren’t automating your Airbnb guest communication, it’s time to change. You do not need to spend cumulative days answering the same questions over and over.
If I had a penny for every time I had to re-explain how to connect to the WiFi or where to get the best pasta in town, I’d be a millionaire by now.
Before I began using an Airbnb messaging app to automate guest communication, I would keep templates of the answers and copy and paste to try to save some time. At one point Airbnb added an option to save your messages (which they still have).
But that still took a lot of time. I was thrilled when I found out AI could solve this problem for me.
My favorite way to automate Airbnb messaging is with Hospitable. It’s simultaneously intuitive and sophisticated. Hospitable is an app that uses AI to learn how to answer guests’ questions in a way that is relevant and makes the guests feel like they’re talking to a human.
But you still need to configure it. Each rental has different aspects and rules, and therefore different questions that guests might ask. If you haven’t set up automated guest communication yet, it might be hard to guess in advance what your guests are going to ask.
So I’ve broken down what questions you may want to include in your messaging flow. You’ll have so much more free time after you automate your guest communication you won’t even know what to do with it.
Want to swipe the message flow I use for Hospitable that you can just copy and paste?
Why guest communication is important:
Before we go into the messaging flow, I want to make a point about why guest communication is so important. It’s often one of the more overlooked aspects of the short-term rental business. Guest communication is important at every step of the process: from inquiry to the closing of the review window.
Not only does it help you provide information to your guest, but it’s how you build a relationship with them — which is essential to your success as a short-term rental operator.
This is not where you want to skimp your efforts. And this is also why you want to take the time to configure your Hospitable messaging flow properly so that your guests (a) never feel like they’re talking to a robot and (b) always have their questions answered promptly.
Why automated guest communication will change your life:
You might feel hesitant like I first did about automating your Airbnb messaging. Like it might create a barrier between you and your guest and that the AI might understand the question wrong. I’m here to calm those concerns.
I could never imagine going back to manually communicating with my guests. Frankly, it was busywork that took up a huge amount of my time. Now, I know it’s being taken care of properly. Even better than when I was doing it myself, actually, because now my guests get answers to their questions even while I’m sleeping.
So let’s see what potential questions you could include in your message flow.
Standard Airbnb Message Flow
The first message flow you’ll have to set up is the one that applies to all of your guests, even those without any questions.
This will include:
- Inquiry approved (after receiving an inquiry)
- Inquiry acknowledgement (immediately upon receiving an inquiry)
- Inquiry follow-up (a day or two after receiving a booking inquiry)
- Booking response (when you confirm the booking)
- Booking extension (if there’s a gap between the current guest’s end of stay and the next guests’s start)
- Pre-check-in follow up (two days before check-in)
- First day check-in (day after check-in)
- Post check-out (day after checkout)
- Review reminder (one week after checkout)
These are all pretty standard messages you should use with any guest. However, you can setup Hospitable to answer other questions that your guests might send you through the messaging app.
Plus, it trains its AI to learn based on real-life examples and the examples you provide it. It’s pretty smart.
Automated Airbnb messaging outside of the standard messaging flow
You can train the app to recognize certain kinds of questions and have it answer in a specific way based on what stage they’re at in their booking. For example, if they ask about WiFi before they book, you can ensure them that there will be WiFi at the listing. But if they ask about it during their stay, they’re most likely asking about the connection info.
Here are some ideas for you to use in your message flow.
The kitchen is one of the first things people are going to ask you about. A lot of people like renting Airbnbs because it allows them to cook at home and save on restaurants.
In your automated Airbnb messaging, you can explain your guests the logistics and rules for kitchen use here. For example, you can explain that they can use anything in the kitchen (coffee, tea, pots, pans, etc.) or how to light the tricky stove.
And you can also set up the timing and fine-tune the preference so you’re sure you’re answering in the right way.
People are almost always going to ask you about WiFi. Before they book, you can tell them that it’s available and at what speed.
But if they ask you a question about WiFi during their stay, you would instead answer with information about how to connect to the WiFi. The AI in Hospitable's automated Airbnb messaging can be configured to send the right message depending on the time the question is asked.
A lot of times, people arrive earlier than they expected and they want nothing more than a nap in their Airbnb short-term rental. Or they already know they’re going to arrive before your established check-in time. In any case, you’ll want to have a rule set up in case they ask you about this.
Tip: If you don’t have early check-in, you can still use this message to recommend nearby restaurants or shopping.
If people are coming with their infant children, they’ll normally be asking about safety concerns: is there a fence around the pool? Do you have a crib available for them? You can configure Hospitable to give this information when it detects and questions about infants. Or simply tell them you don’t accept children under a certain age.
If people have had a late night out, they might not be ready to crawl out of bed yet by the time check-out time rolls around. When they ask you about late check-out, you can automate an instant reply. Here, you can explain whether (and if so, where) they can leave their luggage or where they can leave their keys if they check out late.
People may be coming to your rental with a car, in which case they’ll need a place to park. If they ask you this before, you can let them know that you do (or don’t) have parking available. If they ask this during or right before their stay, you can give more details about where to park their car.
Some people like to travel with their dogs or cats. Hospitable can be configured to answer about whether people can bring their pets with them or give them any information they may need about dog toys, where to put the cat’s litter box, or anything else.
According to an Airbnb Asia Pacific (APAC) Travel survey, 71% of travelers highlighted the importance of trying local cuisine. And even though Airbnb has an in-app functionality that gives guests restaurant recommendations, some guests feel it’s more ‘authentic’ if they get recommendations from you, the local.
And giving recommendations that make your guests have an awesome experience is a great way to get 5-star reviews. Give your best recommendations here!
Hospitable is exactly that. Smart automated guest communication. Some listings will be more particular than others, or you may have different niches. There might be a neighborhood cat that your guests need to feed or plants they’ll have to take care of if they stay a certain amount of time. You can fully configure it to answer any questions they may have.
If you want to learn more, read my detailed SHospitable review & tutorial.