The guide to improve your guest experience

Steps to more bookings, better reviews, and repeat guests.

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The competition for guests is real. In your area alone, you could be up against hundreds of other vacation rentals and Airbnbs (and even hotels). What ultimately helps you stand out? A stellar and memorable guest experience.

Simply put, your guest experience is all the interactions and moments before, during, and after the stay. That can include how (and how quickly) you respond to guests when they have questions, how you decorate, the amenities you offer, follow-up communication, and more.

At Vacasa, delivering a phenomenal guest experience is our never-ending aim. And, we’re always drumming up ways to make guests love staying at our homes over anywhere else. Here are our expert tips to improve your guest experience.

The pool area of a vacation rental in Palm Springs, CA.
Modern vacation rental management

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

Why you need to deliver a great guest experience

It’s rare when something comes with zero downsides. Delivering a better guest experience is one of them. Not only will your guests benefit, you’ll get a ton of advantages too. These include:

  • Higher rental rates: Guests tend to pay more for better, quality experiences.
  • Repeat business: The more your guests are satisfied, the likelier they’ll want to come back.
  • More guest referrals: Happy guests tout their experience to family and friends.
  • Better reviews: Impressed and happy guests leave 5-star reviews.
  • More bookings and revenue: Better guest experiences attract more guests, which leads to more bookings.

Cater to your ideal guests

It all starts here. First, determine who’s most likely to stay in your home. Families drawn to the area’s kid-friendly attractions? Couples looking for a romantic getaway? People traveling with their dogs? (By the way, pet-friendly rentals can make 10–20% more rental income.)

This vital first step should guide the rest of your guest experience, from your marketing messages to what vacation rental amenities to offer. Customizing your home to attract your target audience will lead guests to view your vacation home as an ideal fit.

Offer the right amenities

Offering the right amenities for the right type of guests can help drive even more bookings by those guests. And, could make them want to return. Some amenities to consider:

Set the right expectations

Honesty prevails here. Don’t exaggerate your home’s appeal or hide any pitfalls. The truth will come out eventually in the form of a bad review. Is the road leading up to your mountain cabin bumpy, rough terrain? Explain that it’s best for travelers with four-wheel drive, instead of putting guests at risk. Is your condo next to a boisterous bar? Being upfront will make it easier to keep complaints at bay and still keep guests happy.

Learn how to write persuasive Airbnb and vacation rental listing descriptions that will compel guests to book.

Highlight your best features

One way to be distinctive? Tout the amenities and features you have that others don’t. Have a fire pit or an outdoor hot tub? Located walking distance to a popular restaurant? Have paddleboards guests can use? Find what makes your home unique and lead with that.

Pay attention to the details

The little things matter and eventually make their ways into guest reviews.

Design a memorable stay

Interior design isn’t just nice to look at. It’s also great for business. It sets the scene for your guest’s experience and your success. After all, today’s guests are often willing to pay more for a beautifully designed Airbnb over a home filled with bland colors and mismatched furniture.

Some top tips from the Vacasa Interior Design team (who exclusively work with Vacasa homeowners):

  • Consider who you’re designing for
  • Anticipate how your guests will use and move about your space
  • Select durable materials that will withstand multiple uses
  • Stay away from outdated trends

Make sure the home is cleaned and fully stocked

A clean home is paramount. Make sure your home is pristine right on arrival. Full-service vacation rental management companies—like Vacasa—have trained housekeepers who thoroughly clean after every stay.

We also keep your home stocked with starter essentials, including hand soap, trash bags, and paper towels.

Make sure your home is well-maintained and in tip-top shape

Maintaining your home consistently can make the difference between getting a good guest review and a mediocre one. Travelers want vacation rentals that are well kept, inside and out. Here’s how to stay on top of your vacation home’s maintenance to keep it in prime condition all year long.

  • Start with a thorough home inspection
  • Prioritize fixing and improving the bigger systems in your home, like air conditioning, heating, plumbing, etc.
  • Use smart home tech to monitor home maintenance issues, such as devices that will tell you if your pipes are about to freeze or if something goes awry with your HVAC system.
  • Schedule regular maintenance check-ups.
Vacation rental with elegant design and fireplaces in Avon. Co.
The living room with elegant design at a vacation rental in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Elevate your guest experience

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Open the lines of communication

​​Good communication is a hallmark of hospitality. It can help make guests feel cared for, establish trust and rapport, and leave a great lasting impression.

Respond promptly

Guests are bound to ask questions. Stays are often short, so you can’t wait for the next day to solve whatever issue has come up. Make sure to respond quickly and support them however is needed.

Even better than a fast response? Being proactive and checking in on guests before they have to message you. At Vacasa, our local team sends a personal welcome message to guests once they arrive. This is a great and efficient way to get ahead of any concerns that could otherwise lead to bad experiences.

Personalize your messages

Using your guest’s name signifies they’re more than just a booking, but a valued guest. Plus, it lets them know that their host is looking out for them and is willing to make sure their stay is seamless. This type of personal communication goes a long way in persuading Airbnb and Vrbo guests to leave a glowing review after they check out.

Create a welcome book

Answer your guests’ questions before they even ask them. What’s the WiFi password? Any good restaurants nearby? How on earth do I use this remote?

A vacation rental guest book compiles all the pertinent information guests want to know in one tidy package. When you have a comprehensive and well-designed guest book, you’ll notice your guests will have fewer questions and more time to just enjoy themselves. You can also have a digital guidebook on your website or attached to your Airbnb and Vrbo profiles.

Be available 24/7

Easier said than done, especially if you’re managing the vacation rental all on your own. But, things can happen anytime. Problems don’t just arise during office hours.

This is where you can instantly see the benefits of working with a vacation rental manager. With Vacasa, guests can call, text, or email us 24/7 for immediate help.

Make things easy with tech

Guests love convenience. No one wants to fiddle with keys or struggle to figure out the thermostat. Instead, replace outdated items with smarter, digital versions. Not only will your guests appreciate the hassle-free experience, it means less burdens for you too.

Some smart technology to offer include:

  • Digital lock: Vacasa provides and installs a smart lock at every vacation home. We’ll generate unique door codes for each stay (or home care visit), ensuring no one else can enter your property outside the specified time.
  • Smart TV: Let guests watch their favorite shows and movies using their own streaming accounts. Another option: Buy a streaming device, like Roku or Amazon Fire TV stick.
  • Seamless WiFi connection: At Vacasa, our guests can log in with just one click via the Vacasa app. Even better: our WiFi hotspots (included in our full-service offerings) continuously monitor connectivity, so we’ll know of any interruptions before guests are ever inconvenienced.
  • Smart speakers: Let guests listen to music or even control the lights with an Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

Gather feedback and constantly improve

Take your reviews seriously. Reviews expose the truth into how guests think about your home and inevitably can help or hinder attracting more bookings.

Ask for feedback

Not every guest will remember to leave a review. So, don’t be coy about asking for one or even reminding them days later.

At Vacasa, we stay in regular communication with guests. A few days after they check out, we send out an email directly asking for their review. Even better, we make it easy for guests to post that same review to popular review sites, including Google and Trustpilot. (We’ve seen our own reviews increase by doing this.)

Make the changes necessary

So your guests say it gets too drafty in the bedroom. Or, that the bathroom lights are too dim. Inspect all the issues mentioned in your reviews and fix what needs fixing.

At Vacasa, our reputation management team forwards complaints to our local teams, who then discuss the issue with the homeowner and arrange for inspections or needed repairs.




The battle for bookings is always on. Delivering a great experience—versus a mediocre one—can make a sizeable difference in your reviews, your bookings, and your rental income. By following the tips in this post, you’ll boost both your guests’ satisfaction and your bottom line.


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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.