6 vacation rental guest retention strategies

How to retain guests for repeat bookings


Whenever your guests check out, rest assured—that won’t be the last you’ll see of them. That is, if you play your cards right. Successful vacation homeowners know that each booking is more than just that initial stay. It actually marks the beginning of what could be multiple bookings.

Guest retention benefits both you and your guests. It’s easier (and cheaper) to nurture relationships with previous guests, versus acquiring new ones. And, your return guests get to book a stay at a vacation home where they already know they’ll have a wonderful customer experience.

You work hard to increase your vacation rental bookings. Now, let’s show you how you can get even more out of every stay.

What is guest retention for vacation rentals?

Guest retention, similar to customer retention, involves gaining additional value from every guest. The goal? To ensure each guest books again (and again)—multiplying the revenue generated beyond their first booking. Here’s why retaining guests should be a top priority for every vacation homeowner:

  • It’s less expensive reaching out to previous guests than it is to find new ones. In fact, ignoring your past guests could cost you, as it will require more and more money to market to a brand new audience.
  • Customer loyalty can help to grow your vacation rental business. Return guests are natural brand ambassadors for your vacation home and are more likely to refer your home to family and friends.
  • Own a second vacation home? Repeat guests already know and trust you as a host and will likely feel confident about booking another vacation rental of yours.
Modern vacation rental management

Your home is a success waiting to happen. We'll show you how.

1. Strive for 5-star reviews every time

Those guests who wrote 4- and 5-star reviews for your vacation rental? They’re prime to become repeat guests. So, a lot rides on their first experience at your home. After all, no incentive or discount will be enough to bring back guests who didn’t have a stellar experience in the first place.

Some ways to get 5-star guest reviews on Airbnb and Vrbo:

  • Ensure your vacation home is pristine and sparkling clean before every guest checks in.
  • Scope out the competition. Book a stay at a nearby vacation rental that gets great reviews. Take note of what they’re doing right, plus what can be improved.
  • Provide outstanding guest service and customer service, start to finish. When you work with Vacasa, we’ll assist guests 24/7 on your behalf. This includes welcoming your guests once they arrive, responding to any of their questions or requests, and checking in to make sure everything is up to their standards throughout their stay.

2. Over-deliver on amenities

After stocking your home with all the vacation rental essentials, offer comfy beach chairs, umbrellas, and roasting sticks at your beach house. Or sleds, snow tubes, and plenty of cozy throw blankets at your mountain cabin. It pays to invest in extra amenities. They can make you stand out amongst the competition and entice guests to return.

3. Leverage guest data

A detailed record of each guest’s booking will make it easier to personalize any gifts or communications, and make relevant recommendations for future travel. For instance, you can boost pet-friendly stays by sending out an email touting nearby pet-friendly restaurants and dog parks to your guests who previously stayed with their dog.

At Vacasa, all of our marketing is powered by data. We send out marketing communications to past guests based on their travel behaviors, preferences, and information. For example, we regularly:

  • Recommend vacation rentals within driving distance from a guest’s home to encourage quick weekend getaways.
  • Analyze which amenities the guest has booked the most (including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they booked), then encourage future stays at vacation homes within their state that meet those criteria.
  • Record a guest’s price range and past stays, then recommend vacation homes in the same price range that are also well-rated on Vacasa.com and Airbnb.

4. Email previous guests regularly

Sending out emails to your previous guests can help keep your vacation home top of mind. One way to boost your email open rates? Make sure every email is relevant. In other words, always have a good reason to reach out. Here are some ideas:

  • Give a property update letting guests know of any new additions or amenities at your home.
  • Send well wishes on their birthday or anniversary.
  • Share updates on upcoming events or new attractions nearby.
  • Tout year-round activities to inspire guests to visit during all seasons. Talk up local hiking trails in the summer, leaf peeping spots in fall, holiday festivals in winter, and fishing tips in spring. Vacasa regularly creates content promoting our destinations (and the vacation homes located there) in our travel blog.
6 Vacation Rental Guest Retention Strategies
6 vacation rental guest retention strategies
6 vacation rental guest retention strategies

5. Offer a discount or extra amenity

Discounts don’t have to be steep, but just enough to inspire previous guests to book another stay. For instance, offer 5% off to returning guests. Or, offer a gift or amenity exclusively for them—such as a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop.

6. Encourage referrals

Another way to get even more value out of every stay—especially from a satisfied guest—is to encourage word-of-mouth marketing. With a referral program, you can offer a discount to previous guests when they recommend your vacation home to friends and family. Plus, a discount for whoever they refer—creating a win-win for everyone.

Every stay lays the groundwork for even more bookings and more rental income. Boost your guest retention rate by better understanding what inspires guests to come back and how to tailor your marketing assets for repeat bookings.

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California licenses
Vacasa Seasonals Inc.
California DRE #02160171

Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc.
California DRE #01523013

Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.