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Tactics to get guests to open your Airbnb guest book

You’ve created a beautifully branded and informative Airbnb guest book. Congrats! But not all your guests are opening the link. How do you get more of them to do so?

We get asked this question a lot. And yet, surprisingly (tsk, tsk), we’ve never written an article to answer it.

Well now we have! 🙂

What’s in it for me?

Much as we think guests should read our lovingly created material, they won’t. Not without some prompting.

Think about it… if you received an email from someone you barely knew asking you to do something without a clear reason, would you do it?

Nor would I.

We wonderfully cynical (and time-starved) humans need a reason. We need to know what’s in it for us.

We’ve addressed the “what’s in it for me” in this article (#1 on the list). No reason to rewrite that here, so we’ll skip on to the next tactic…

The art of surprise

Who doesn’t like something unusual? (No, I don’t mean an overlooked invoice landing on the doorstep.)

We touched on this surprise element in this article about guest communication. Here’s the abridged version.

As a guest I would love an email with the subject line “This is THE place for breakfast in Key West” and one simple format:

Hey Andy,



Now we’re past the booking formalities, I want to inject some excitement in the run up to your stay. I’m a firm believer that your experience starts well before you arrive. Starting with Blue Heaven. It’s THE place to breakfast in Key West.



By the way, the queues are long and start early. But we’ve got a little deal going with the owners. Just tell me what day and time you’d like to reserve. 🙂



You might also like to see our other restaurant recommendations in our curated guidebook. Click here to access it.







I WILL open that.

Not only is that engaging and surprising, but it’s instantly told me that I’ll very likely find other gems in the Airbnb guest book. (AKA more likely to self-serve than ask you.)

Who doesn’t love a discount?

You may not have the Key West example. But perhaps you have a discount that you’ve brokered with a local business?

Many of you will have 100+ guests a year staying with you (number of guests not just number of bookings). That’s attractive to any local business.

  • A free cocktail if a dinner reservation is made
  • Kids eat free before 6pm
  • 10% off an afternoon kayak reservation

You get the point. A local business gives away something relatively small for potentially significant business from your guests.

All you then need to do is let your guest know. Take the above suggested email and tweak it for the discount case.

Hello Andy,



Now we’re past the booking formalities, I want to share with you some exclusive discounts that you can take advantage of during your stay.



We’ve partnered with the following local businesses. Just show them the relevant section in your guest welcome guide and they’ll honour the discount 🙂

  • Deal A
  • Offer B
  • Discount C


Haven’t used our guest welcome guide yet? Click here to access it.



It’s not just discounts. You’ll find lots of other recommendations and information in the guide.






⭐  Pro tip: if you can use words to paint a scene with the discount, even better. e.g. “Sip a free pre-dinner cocktail at the beachside bar prior to enjoying the best seafood in town.”

Delivered at the right time

Nobody is going to open your Airbnb guest book if you send it to them 6 months ahead of their stay. Well they might, but they’ll forget about it quickly.

By all means send it to them after the booking confirmation, but also send it closer to their stay. Ideally twice in the week before, once 7 days ahead of check-in and again 24 hours ahead of check-in.

Just remember the psychology of the guest in these last few days before they escape: they will be insanely busy!

  • Keep it brief (no long-winded email intro)
  • Keep it obvious (don’t make them anxious)
  • Pitch is as their friend, their “virtual you”


Watch the subject line

We all skim our inboxes. We’ll usually open emails from someone we know or someone who always delivers great content.

You should already be someone they know. But don’t lose them with the subject line.

How does “Guest guidebook” sound?

Thought not.

Alternatively “We’re travelling with you”.

Maybe. It’s intriguing.

Ask your friends and family for their thoughts.

Better still, ask someone who knows how to write professionally. Speaking of, our friends at Guest Hook might be a good starting point for your email templates. I used to be a part owner of Guest Hook so I can hand-on-heart say they are excellent. (BTW they do all forms of writing for this sector, not just email templates.)

Text? Email? Instant Message?

This one is trickier because you don’t yet know how your guest likes to communicate.

So ask them: “Now the booking is confirmed, would you prefer we emailed you or texted you with any important information? Or maybe you’d prefer WhatsApp?”

And make that email automated or templated so you’re not having to redo it for every booking.

You’ve done two things:

  • You’ve asked a question
  • You’ve thought of them

Those who reply will then be engaged. Remember, not all will, but you’ll use one of the other tactics to get to the others!

Any other ideas?

These are just some of our tactics. If you have any of your own please do let us know and we’ll add to this list!