Ultimate Vacation Rental Departure Checklist + Email Template

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vacation rental checklist and email template

You know the first time a guest books your vacation rental is important. You want to make a great first impression, and you want your guests to be happy and comfortable.

But when it’s time for them to depart, you can decrease your cleaning and turnaround time if you ask them to do just a few things before they go—and make checkout time crystal clear.

A departure email template saves you time in a few different ways

Send your guest a quick email with a few key departure instructions. Remind them about the standard checkout time. Let them know what you’d like them to do before they leave with a short, simple checklist. If you offer discounted cleaning fees as long as the place is clean and in good order, mention that too.

The benefit of sending an email with departure instructions is that it stays in your guest’s inbox. They’re more likely to be able to find it later, when it’s actually time to go.

It’s also a date and time-stamped record that can come in handy should questions or disputes arise later. More importantly, though, it’s an opportunity to thank your guests, invite them to leave you a positive review, and help them help you turn over the unit quickly.

It’s all easier to set up and manage than you might think, especially if you use a shared inbox tool like Outpost that pulls all your rental related email from Airbnb, VRBO, or other rental platforms into a single interface. No more multiple sites to log into, and spending time trying to remember which site your guests booked on. Plus you can put the email into a saved template that you can save and customize for each guest to save time.

How to use Outpost to send a departure email to your guests

When you confirm a guest booking, you can assign the email to the team member responsible for guest management. With Outpost’s internal notes, you can also keep track of and discuss any issues or add reminders about checkout without danger of your guests seeing your staff’s conversation.

Plan to send your departure email so it reaches the guest first thing in the morning the day before they’re scheduled to check out. This way the guest has plenty of time to get the email, review it, and check in with you to discuss any issues or concerns.

Inside Outpost, you can:

  1. Pull up your departure email template (and there’s a free one below you can use and customize for your property).
  2. Customize with the guest’s name, checkout date, and any other relevant personal or custom information.
  3. Send or schedule the email. If sending, aim to have the email in the customer’s inbox by the morning of the day before their checkout day.

But, what should that email and departure checklist say?

What to include in a vacation rental departure checklist

An effective email is clear and gets to the point quickly. After all, you want your guests to know what’s what, but it won’t leave a good impression with your guest if they feel like they have to spend all day making sense of your instructions, or they’ve suddenly become your outsourced cleaning staff.

So, resist the urge to include all of the checkpoints below. Pick a few that will help you save the most time between guests.

Here’s a simple vacation rental departure checklist you can save, customize, and use for your property:

  • If you’ve moved any furniture or belongings, please put them back in their original places
  • Take out all trash and recycling (there are trash bags [under the kitchen sink / in the pantry / in the laundry room]. You can put trash and recycling in the appropriate bins [Location of Trash/Recycling Bins Here]
  • Pack up or throw away food in the kitchen, including in the fridge
  • Load and run the dishwasher
  • Pile dirty kitchen linens on the kitchen floor
  • Make sure appliances, electronics, and heating/cooling equipment such as the range, toaster oven, coffee maker, TV, fans, etc., are turned off
  • Turn off and unplug any space heaters
  • Set climate system to [Heat/AC Settings Here]
  • Check that the gas grill is off and the grates are clean
  • Check throughout the house (including under the beds, in drawers, and around all electrical outlets) for any personal items.
    • (Please note that if you do leave something behind, we cannot assume responsibility for it. If you leave something behind and let us know, we will try to locate it and make arrangements to have it shipped to you, though we may need you to cover the shipping.)
  • Strip the beds, and put all dirty bed linens on the floor in each bedroom
  • Pile used bath towels and other bath linens on the floor of each bathroom
  • Lock all windows and exterior doors
  • Turn off all interior and exterior lights
  • As you leave, lock the main door and put the keyring in the same location where it is was when you checked in

That checklist, of course, is the heart of a more comprehensive departure email. Here’s how to use it.

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Save and use this departure checklist email template

When it’s time to let guests know how to finish up their stay, save, customize, and use this departure checklist template:

Subject: Instructions for checkout on [Checkout Date Here]

[Guest’s First Name(s)],

We hope you’ve had a wonderful stay, and that we’ve met or surpassed your expectations. As we get close to your [Checkout Date Here] checkout date, we wanted to go over a few things to help you finish your stay:

Checkout time is [Checkout Time Here]

Please share your experience staying with us [Include Link Here]

If you’ve had a positive stay in our home, we hope you’ll post a review and share your experience.

Your review means a great deal to us, and we hope you’ll stay with us again soon!

Before you leave, please:

[Insert Checklist Here]

If there is any damage or any issues we need to take care of, please reply back to this email or call us right away. We’ll let you know if there are any issues that may need to be deducted from your cleaning security deposit.

Thanks so much!

How can we do better?

Please reply back and let me know…

  • Is there anything we ran out of that you needed more of?
  • Is there something we didn’t provide that should be here for the next guest?
  • How could we do better next time?

And finally…

Please sign our guest book!

There is nothing more heart-warming than reading our guests’ stories. Before you go, please take a moment to flip through the stories in our guest book and add your own.

Come back soon!

[Your Email Sig Here]

A departure checklist and email template will help your guests finish their stay with a positive impression of your rental

A departure checklist and email template help you set clear expectations for your guests at checkout. It should actually save you money and headaches in the long run.

Many of your guests will be more than happy to set your property back in order before they go. The extra effort might even help you keep guests coming back in the future. And it doesn’t have to take a huge investment of time to deliver a personal touch when you use email templates and checklists to streamline the process.

Posted in Customer Service, Email, Vacation Rental

Anthony St. Clair

Anthony St. Clair

Anthony St. Clair is a business copywriter, author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series, and a craft beer writer specializing in Oregon. Learn more at anthonystclair.com.
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