A Gracious Host from Afar: Reaching Out to Renters

Your vacation home is more than an investment property. You love spending time there, making memories with your family and friends.

You may not have met your renters, and how you market your property to renters (hello VRBO) wasn’t exactly a personal invitation to visit, but in many ways, they are your guests, and you want them to enjoy their stay.

This is why so many people with vacation homes they rent to others leave a book for guests to sign, and encourage them to make comments about their stay. “Loved watching the sun rise from the front porch every morning!” from Nancy and Jim, of Houston, Texas, who rented your place in the Florida Keys for a fun week in April with their college age sons. “The fireplace in the bedroom was perfect after a full day skiing!” shared by Margo and Patricia, the honeymooning couple from New York City who loved your place in Colorado. Even though you may never meet, it’s nice to know people were enjoying the place you love so much.

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And that personal connection can make visitors better tenants, too. It’s one thing -- and not a particularly nice thing -- to not bother to use a coaster to protect the furniture in a hotel. After all, they probably replace it fairly often anyway, right? Most people are a lot less likely to be so dismissive of a private owner’s home and belongings. If they have an idea of who you are, if they’re aware of your existence, your renters will take better care of your place. But how can you get to know them if you live hundreds or thousands of miles away?

Leave that book for them to sign.

And write a little opening paragraph. “Welcome to our beach cottage! We’re so glad you could make it. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.”

Call or email the day after they arrive.

Check in to make sure they have everything they need and let them know you’re available to answer any questions they might have.

Leave a laminated list posted on the fridge or a bulletin board with some tips about the area.

Is the best seafood available at that place on Seabrook Road, but only on Tuesday? Do all the nearby wine stores close at 6 pm on Saturday? Where’s the best place to eat if they want to take a break from cooking? Is it kid friendly? Let your guests in on all your secrets. You can also leave a binder full of local restaurant menus, with or without notes on your personal favorites.

Your vacation home is more than a hotel. It’s an extension of you. Making your guests feel welcome is a great way to remind them what the place means to you!