Guest communication at your small property: A guide to using emails

Hello! Everyone loves clear and concise communication, right? It’s certainly one of the biggest priorities you should have at your property, because it can go a long way to influencing whether your guest has a good or bad experience.

One of the best ways to communicate effectively and enhance your guest’s satisfaction is by using regular, personalised, emails. 

Let’s look at why emails are so useful, the best types of emails to use, and how you can get your emails right.

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Ways to communicate with your guests

Every piece of content your guests might see should be treated as guest communication, because anything they read could affect their experience or their impression of you or your property..

Although email is a tried and true method of communication, there are many ways your hotel might reach out to guests for different reasons.

For example, email is very useful for giving guests key information and a more detailed rundown of anything they may need to refer back to. On the other hand, a messenger app or service is convenient for quick and simple queries or updates.

Here are some of the best ways to communicate with guests:

  • Email – A great way to market to travellers, keep guests informed, and boost guest experience.
  • Social media – Perfect to post updates and news, create a fun environment for guests, and to respond to queries.
  • Website – Houses everything your guests need to know about your property and your brand, and will be the main way you win your bookings.
  • Chatbot – An easy way for guests to get quick answers or to make requests at any time
  • Text messaging – Simple and effective method for sending guest quick reminders or confirmations.
  • Phone – Sometimes guests really need to talk to a human and get that personal touch.
  • Handwritten notes – Primarily something you would leave for guests to welcome them in their room, making them feel appreciated and comfortable.
  • Business profiles on Google or online travel agents – These profiles need to be treated with as much detail and care as your website to ensure guests get a consistent experience.

It certainly takes time to establish the most effective ways to communicate and to ensure guests are getting a positive experience with your property. 

What are the benefits of using emails to communicate with guests?

Emails are a great way to inform guests of key details about their stay, welcome them, make them feel valued, and serve them value-added offers.

Email is the most common and reliable way to communicate with your guests, and it’s something they expect. In fact, if they don’t hear from you by email immediately after booking they might start to worry that you haven’t received their reservation and that their booking hasn’t been confirmed.

Across the many different types of emails you can send, you property has the potential to benefit from:

  • Increased guest engagement
  • Increased guest satisfaction
  • Increase in reviews
  • Increased revenue
  • Increased guest loyalty

And it doesn’t have to take a lot of work to do all of this well, which is why email continues to be such a popular marketing and customer relationship tool. Especially nowadays, with many email communications able to be automated, such as reminders, pre-stay, and post-stay emails to your guests.

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The types of guest emails your property should send

Broadly speaking, marketing emails and non-marketing emails are the two ways in which you’ll communicate with travellers. 

However since we’re talking about your guests, let’s focus on the non-marketing emails. These are the communications you’ll use when a guest has booked with you, is staying with you, and after they have departed your property.

Some of the most common and useful emails you should send to guests include:

Booking confirmation email

This is an email that should trigger automatically when a guest books with you online, or that you can customise quickly and send if they book with you offline. It should include and confirm all the details of their booking such as: 

  • Their personal details
  • Dates they booked
  • The rooms they booked
  • Any deposit or fees they have paid
  • Any other key information such as cancellation policies

It’s crucial that this email is delivered in a timely manner to reduce guest friction.

Pre-arrival emails

It’s important to keep in touch with guests prior to their stay. Before they travel, they’ll have high anticipation for their trip and will be excited and even anxious to hear from you. Use pre-arrival and arrival reminder emails to:

  • Let them know you’re excited to welcome them
  • Re-confirm their arrival dates and booking details
  • Inform them of key details such as transport options, directions, weather updates etc
  • Make them aware of check-in and check-out processes
  • Offer them extras and upsells
  • Ensure they have your contact details for requests or queries
  • Ask them to follow you on social media

Depending on the lead time of your guest, you could send your pre-arrival email in the month prior to their stay and the arrival reminder email the week before they are due to arrive.

These emails are vital for making a good first impression on your guests, and making sure their needs are met. Always remember, their experience with you begins well before they step foot in your lobby or reception area.

Emails during their stay

Once your guests have arrived, you’ll naturally be focused on building a positive relationship in person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also use emails to further foster goodwill.

For example, an email you could send on the first day of your guest’s stay is a local guide email. This will give guests all the tips and insights they need for exploring the local area. 

Include details such as:

  • Best restaurants to eat
  • Best wineries or bars
  • Popular local attractions
  • Hidden gems
  • Shopping recommendations
  • Best activities for adventurous travellers

This kind of email will show guests that you’re constantly thinking about how to improve their experience.

Post-stay emails

How you communicate with guests after their stay is just as important as before. Their experience with you doesn’t end and needs to be nurtured once they depart. It’s important to use a post-stay email to:

  • Thank the guest for their stay
  • Ask them for feedback
  • Offer them a discount or deal on a future stay
  • See if they want to join your loyalty program or newsletter if they haven’t already done so

You don’t need to send this email immediately after departure. In fact, you’ll see more engagement if you give your guest time to get home, recover, and reflect on their trip.

How to perfectly structure your guest emails

No matter what email you’re sending, there are some key elements that you need to include and get right in order to get your message across clearly.

The way you structure your content and how you use images or calls-to-action can make a big difference on how your guest perceives your email.

Focus on the following elements when crafting your emails:

Subject line

This is what guests will see when they look at their inbox, so your subject needs to catch their attention, be relevant to them, and preferably be personalised to include their name.

Preview or sub-header

Generally this will also appear within or below the subject line. Here you could ask guests a question that relates to the content of your email or state something that will get them interested in reading more.

Body of email

Here’s where all the good stuff goes, including your email copy and any images or graphics you want to include. Try to keep things as clear, relevant and concise as possible so guests can easily digest the email without it taking too much of their time. If you do use images, make sure they have a purpose and aren’t too large otherwise you’re wasting space and loading time.


Any time you ask guests to do something, or offer them anything, make sure  you’re including links or clear direction on how they can undertake the action. A CTA can be an image banner, or a simple text link.


Ensure you include a thank you and all your contact details in case guests need to make a request or ask a question.

While every email will differ slightly, it’s a good idea to stick to a consistent format. This will help you easily automate and personalise your communications, saving you a lot of time.

Best practice tips for guest communication at your hotel

As we know, not all emails are made equal and not every guest has a great experience when they book with a hotel. To ensure your guests are always impressed, take a look at these tips:

  • Ensure your brand is consistent – If you send a really enthusiastic email but then guests feel none of that warmth when they arrive at your property, you aren’t delivering a consistent experience and guests are likely to feel disappointed.
  • Think like your guests – They may not know much about your hotel or the area so share as much helpful information as possible such as your information about your hotel (amenities, services, events etc.), blogs, upcoming events in the area, or news updates that could impact their stay.
  • Always personalise – Guests know when they are receiving what seems to be a generic message that everyone gets. To ensure they don’t dismiss your emails, try to include some kind of nod to them personally. One of the best ways to do this is to find out why a guest is travelling to your property so you can make your email especially relevant. At the very least, always use the guests’ name in your email.
  • No radio silence – Make sure that when you send an email, you keep guests informed of when or how often they’ll hear from you. If they don’t want to hear from you they can make that decision but don’t leave them hanging, especially when it comes to pre-stay emails.
  • Keep it simple – Guests don’t want a mass of text to read and they don’t want to consult a dictionary. Keep your sentences short and clear, while breaking up text with headings so your emails are easy to skim read.
  • Timing is everything – Just as you shouldn’t send too few emails, you shouldn’t send too many or send them at the wrong time. When guests feel like they are getting spammed, they’ll often disregard any future communication from you.
  • Stay in touch long term – Even after you have sent your post-stay email, you can still make guests feel special by keeping in touch with them. How? Why not send a birthday email letting you know you’re thinking of them and would love to have them back?

If you work hard to perfect your emails, you’ll see big rewards. There’s often a reason travellers keep choosing small properties over larger brands. It’s because they value the authenticity of small properties and the personalisation that comes along with it. That’s why it’s crucial to get your guest communication right.

Should you use templates for guest communication?

Running your property keeps you extremely busy, and writing and sending emails can be very time consuming. Without a lot of staff on hand to help out, it’s the kind of task that could suck way too much time out of your weeks.

Establishing templates for your emails, that you can easily customise with key guest details and other quick updates, can make your communication a breeze.

With templates you’ll:

  • Increase efficiency
  • Make fewer mistakes
  • Improve the clarity of your communication
  • Maintain brand consistency
  • Boost guest satisfaction
  • Streamline admin tasks

If you aren’t confident in creating your own templates, there are some ready-made ones for you here.

Software for guest communications

Technology can also support you with guest communications, with many hotel management software solutions offering built-in email automation, web chat services becoming more sophisticated, and a range of guest communication apps available on the market.

Hotel management software

If you want to skip all the hard work completely, check out how Little Hotelier can help you master communication and guest experience at your property. You’ll be able to set up and send automated and personalised emails to every guest who books with you.

guest communication at your small property a guide to using emails

Guest communication apps

Hotel apps are a great way to solve any guest communication kinks you might have. Apps are designed for simplicity and effectiveness, making it easy for you to engage with guests directly. Not only will they improve how you talk to guests, but apps can also help you win more revenue and boost your review scores. Check out the Little Hotelier app store to see your options.

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