A Vacation Rental Manager’s Guide to Seamless Check-ins

The check-in process is the first impression guests have of your property, and you want to make it a good one. Think about how your guest is feeling when they step in the door. Are they stressed from that three-hour flight right behind a fussy baby? You want to reduce this stress, not add more. 

A seamless check-in process benefits your guests and your team. But to get it right, you need to prepare long before the guest arrives. Here’s how.

Put Your Online Booking Engine to Work

Send Email Notifications to Guests

Much of the check-in process actually starts when the guest books. This is the first point at which the guest is giving you their information, including contact and payment details. If your booking engine is integrated with a payment processing solution, you can securely accept payment right then and there. (More on payments later.)

Your booking engine also offers you the chance to upsell and take any special requests, which you can then have ready when the guest checks in. You’ll know in advance if they want that wine and cheese add-on to savor after that stressful flight. Once a guest has booked, the booking engine can automatically trigger further communication, from the confirmation email to pre-arrival messaging. Let guests know how your check-in process works beforehand, especially if you offer contactless check-in (see below).

Extend a Warm Welcome With Automated Messaging

Your pre-arrival messaging can take many forms, depending on your business and the type of integrations you have. Email is a reliable, not-to-be-abandoned staple, but adding text messaging could significantly boost your open rates. It isn’t the delivery method that matters most, as long as it reaches the recipient.

Content and timing are really important; let your guests know the information they need, when they need it. Booking confirmations should be sent immediately, not two days after the guest hits submit. 

As always, be clear and concise. Even if your guest opens what you sent, they most likely won’t read it all. They’ll skim it, so use bullet points and put what’s most important at the top. A robust property management system (PMS) like WebRezPro includes email templates that can be triggered automatically based on reservation data, such as stay dates, and unit and rate types. 

Speed Up Paperwork 

An online check-in or registration form allows you to collect necessary information from the guest, such as their driver’s license number, photo ID, payment and electronic signature. This digital registration can be automated through your PMS based on the guest’s check-in time, and instructions can be sent the day before or morning of arrival. 

Speed Up Paperwork Graphic

A guest agreement outlining terms and conditions can and should be included as well. In case of any disputes, this shows that they agreed to your policies. With WebRezPro, completed guest agreements (online registration forms) are automatically attached to guests’ reservations.

Completing registration online ensures a smoother, faster check-in for both you and your guest when they arrive, in addition to ensuring that all information is automatically recorded and stored.  

Accept Payments Smoothly & Safely 

Whether your guest pays on property or online, an integrated payment processing solution speeds up check-in and enables payments to be recorded accurately in your PMS. 

An integrated payment processing solution allows lodging providers to manage transactions through their PMS, seamlessly processing payments via guest reservations. This integration sends the guest’s payment details from wherever the payment takes place (whether via your online booking engine or card reader) through the payment processing network, then returns the approved/declined response back to the PMS and authorizes the transaction. 

It’s fast, and it’s more secure. PCI-compliant integrations use point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization to keep card data out of your system and safe from hackers. 

Deliver Keyless Convenience

Time is always at a premium and never more so than when people are on vacation. That’s why contactless check-in is in high demand. This allows guests to check in electronically without having to stop by at the front desk or office. To do this, however, you need to send guests a digital key in addition to trading information and collecting payment. The best way to manage this is by connecting your PMS to a keyless access system like RemoteLock to not only streamline the check-in process but to simplify access management. Through the integration RemoteLock has with WebRezPro, the PMS automatically sends reservation data to your keyless access system, which generates a digital key for that reservation. Digital keys (or PINs) can be automatically sent to guests prior to check-in and are only valid for the duration of the guest’s stay. 

While RemoteLock allows you to offer a completely contactless check-in experience, it’s important that someone is available (by email, phone or text) in case the guest has questions or concerns.

Making sure these bases are covered results in a smoother experience for guests and operators alike. If you’re looking for a user-friendly PMS that brings these essential parts of a seamless check-in process together, you’re welcome to reach out to WebRezPro for a free, no-obligation demo. 


About WebRezPro

WebRezPro is a robust, cloud based property management system for independent lodging operators of all shapes and sizes, from hotels to campgrounds to vacation rentals. The all-in-one solution saves time and boosts revenue through features such as online reservations, self check-in, guest payments, and advanced reporting. Committed to user-friendly, scalable software with industry-best data protection, WebRezPro enhances efficiency and guest satisfaction for over 2000 properties in 45 countries.

Lorna McGinnis

Marketing Assistant at WebRezPro

Lorna McGinnis is the marketing assistant for WebRezPro Property Management System. Before joining WebRezPro, she received her MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and worked in non-profit marketing. She enjoys illustrating the real-world applications of technology in the hospitality space and enabling readers to picture how it could work for them.