Advice on Vacation Rental Email Correspondence

ReservationKey is proud to have Matt of fame as one of our long time users. Matt does a great job with his blog of helping vacation rental owners market their properties with many creative methods and common sense advice. 

The 14 Do’s and Don’ts of Vacation Rental Email Correspondence

Because many vacation rental owners and managers are new to hospitality, I have noticed that it can be easy for us to overlook the tenants of hospitable and professional email correspondence.

While many of these do’s and don’ts may very well fall into the larger category of “good email etiquette,” I wanted to outline some of the most influential habits that I’m seeing in vacation rental emails.

Embrace the good, break the bad, and get the absolute MOST out of your hard-earned inquiries.


Write in short sentences: If you’ve ever noticed in my newsletter emails, short sentences are always more engaging than long, wordy paragraphs. Mark Twain once said, “if I had more time, I’d have written a shorter letter,” which is to say, be thoughtful with your words and consolidate them to as few as are necessary.

Proper spacing: Hand in hand with short sentences, remember to use spaces in-between your words. A poorly written vacation rental email looks cramped and messily thrown together, whereas an effective one is simple, short, and well-spaced.

Season’s greetings: Always remember to start your email with a kind greetings of “Hello” or “Hi.” Any email that jumps right into the content body without a proper salutation can be misconstrued as unprofessional and even offensive.

Offer a call to action: Do include a call to action in most of your vacation rental emails. This could be a way to book, a phone number to call, or a Paypal account to deposit in. The point is, if you don’t offer a concrete action for them to perform, they won’t perform any.

Embrace the P.S.: As carefully explained in Two Little Letters That Squeeze Inquiries Into Bookings, the P.S. portion of an email can be the most effective place to generate bookings. Make use of it properly and your email has a giant advantage.

Include a perfect signature: Remember that you’re operating a business and any cordial business email should have a clean, informative signature with your phone number, website, and perhaps Facebook or reviews page for engagement. Any vacation rental email without a signature just reeks of amateurishness.


Ignore emails that don’t fit calendar: In my book, the only vacation rental emails you should be ignoring are offensive ones. If a guest’s inquiry doesn’t correspond with your calendar, as demonstrated in VR Referrals: The Forgotten Revenue, learn to leverage them elsewhere (or politely request them back in the future). You’ve paid for these leads and ignoring them makes no sense.

Use various fonts: No matter how creative or funky you think you are, please use one normal font throughout all your vacation rental emails. The moment you start introducing different fonts, you devalue your position as the professional host.

Use various colors: Hand in hand with fonts, all vacation rental emails should be in black text. Don’t try to get cute with reds and greens. It doesn’t look professional.

Use obviously canned templates: Canned messages can be used effectively in vacation rental marketing, but overtly obvious templates that sound generic and impersonal are a surefire way to turn away interested guests.

Use ALL CAPS: It’s very rare a case when using all capital letters in a vacation rental email works to your advantage. Whether you intend it or not, caps come off as SHOUTING. And no one likes shouting, especially when booking a vacation.

Forget introduction: It can be easy to dive right into your response of a vacation rental inquiry, before remembering to start with a friendly salutation. “Firstly, thanks so much for your interest in our rental!” is all it takes.

Be wordy: A sure way to turn off potential renters is to write a long essay in your email body. Like a retail storefront, nothing should be in the email that doesn’t absolutely have to be there. Eliminate everything you possibly can. Consolidate your content. And enjoy more concentrated results.

Hit “reply” using an ugly subject line: If you’re receiving leads from listing sites or elsewhere, be sure that the subject line of your email is appropriate (and ideally juicy) to encourage more opens. Believe it or not, many vacation rental emails go unopened simply because the subject line is either spammy or just unrecognizable.