Welcoming guest to your property is an important step part as a Superhost in getting good reviews. A good welcome book and and something to start their trip off right can pay big dividends.
You know how advice is. You only want it if it agrees with what you wanted to do anyway.John Steinbeck
In the first pages of your Welcome Book, provide a bit of an introduction for your renters, perhaps including some details about you the host and anything special about the property. If you are providing your guest with access to any special amenities on your property (e.g. swimming pool, bicycles, etc), make sure to specify the location of any passes/key cards as well as any tips and/or rules they need to know in order to use them. Last but certainly not least, make your guests feel truly welcome and close this “welcome letter” portion of the Welcome Book with a sentiment like “We hope you enjoy your stay!”
The next section of your Welcome Book should contain information about the home’s “Check-In” procedures. Provide your renters with a checklist of what they should check for upon their arrival and also a contact person in case anything is amiss. Some examples would be the cleanliness of the property, the availability of adequate linens and whether anything is noticeably damaged or broken. It is better to have them check early and reach out to you versus them not saying anything and then writing a bad review.
Provide specific instructions to your guest for the “Check-Out” process you would like them to follow. At the most basic level, the checklist should let them know the check-out time and where they should leave any keys to the property. Many vacation rental owners will have further instructions for their renters such as: making sure all windows and doors are closed, placing a load of dishes into the dishwasher, taking the garbage/recycling out, adjusting the heating/cooling system, etc.
While your guest will not want to read through actual user manuals from the manufacturer, it is helpful to provide some quick at-a-glance type of information for your Wi-Fi, TV, DVD, gaming systems, A/C-heating systems, etc. These instructions should be simple and concise and in large print, much like a quick-start-up guide.
If your property is subject to special rules such as parking restrictions and/or quiet hours, specify this for your guests so that there are no surprises. If you allow pets and have specific rules you would like your guests to follow during their stay, also note that in this section.
As a host provide a map to your local area, this is a great way for your guest to get their bearings when arriving in a new area. Many renters will need to hit the local grocery shops and/or pharmacy, and providing them with the locations of the closest stores is also quite helpful.
Things To Do
The majority of guest will already have itineraries planned out, but an equal number will be looking for things to do during their stay. Provide your renters with a list of some fun and interesting things to do: local places of interest, close hiking trails, playgrounds and parks, beaches, etc. If you can list something that is “off the beaten path” or known mostly amongst the locals, that would be even better. After all, people say that one can best experience a place by living/traveling like a local.
Places to Eat
Enjoying the local cuisine plays a big role when people travel, and providing some of your personal recommendations can be just what your renters are looking for. List some of your own favorite restaurants and/or look up some sites like Yelp and OpenTable and include their lists of the current hot spots. If you are able to include menus from close by takeout/delivery places, that is a welcome find, especially after a long day of travel.
Including information on local transportation options is a good idea. Provide your renters with contact information for local taxi companies and airport shuttles, train/bus schedules, and even mention services like Uber if available in your area. This will enable your guests to more easily explore the local area.
It is important to include emergency contact information in a prominent location of your Welcome Book (e.g. the inside cover). Provide your renters with ways to reach the host and a backup manager if needed and provide a back-up contact as well. Include the local telephone numbers for the police, fire, ambulance, and veterinarian and even mention the importance of calling 9-1-1 in a true emergency, since international guests may not be familiar with this system.
Who doesn’t love a gift? Provide your guest with a little something to welcome them to your property. Not only will it be greatly appreciated and give your property a good first impression, but it may help them in overlooking small blemishes they may come across during their stay. Some items to include are a bottle of wine and/or local craft beer. If your renters will have children with them, consider including a small toy that they can play with while the parents unpack. Are your renters bringing their dog? Then including some small dog treats or chew toy is a nice added touch.
These seemingly bonus items are, in our opinion, essential to your pantry: coffee & tea, Hot Cocoa, pancake mix & syrup, and microwave popcorn (if you have a microwave). While you do not have to provide an endless supply, including an initial supply of these items will make your renter’s stay that much more complete.
Guest books are common in most vacation rentals. Current guest like to read about past guest experiences to get insight on the home, restaurants or things to do in the area. So be sure to include one in your rental. To become a Superhost you should read the guest book regularly as it may also include some more helpful hints on how to improve your rental.
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