A vacation rental welcome book is one of the most valuable amenities you can provide to your guests to make them feel comfortable in your space. In addition to a welcome letter, creating a welcome book can boost your guest experience and present you as a caring and thoughtful host.
A welcome book can be helpful in many ways:
In fact, it’s been found that 27% of guests look for restaurant recommendations, and 36% look for guided tours to explore the city. Although there are online sources like Tripadvisor, guests value personal suggestions more. So, a welcome book is a good way to impress your guests and provide recommendations in your absence.
Read on to discover why you need a welcome book and what to include in it for an excellent guest experience.
Making a welcome book might sound simple enough, but there are some things to keep in mind before you start.
Your book should be descriptive and answer any questions your guests might have. It should also have a captivating design and layout that will catch your guests’ eyes and make them want to read it. This requires a lot of planning and preparation on your side.
We know that hosts are busy with many tasks that require their attention. To make your life easier, we have compiled everything you need to know about welcome books in this article.
There are several reasons why making a welcome book makes for better business and happy guests.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, more guests are looking for a self-check-in option to minimize risk. While this is indeed safer, it means that you cannot be there to welcome your guests. A welcome book can help to set your guests up for a pleasant stay at your vacation rental home.
Remember that your guests checking in are likely to be unfamiliar with your property. You can use your vacation rental welcome book to share essential information with your guests.
A guestbook gives hosts the chance to share their recommendations for the best “sights and bites” in their area. Many guests booking your rental might have never visited your town or city before. Providing them with an overview of local highlights and things to do can help to make their stay more distinctive and memorable.
A welcome book should inform your guests about the property and give suggestions that could make their vacation better. With good planning, a welcome book can boost your collection of positive guest reviews. If guests find your welcome book helpful, they are more likely to leave a positive review for your rental. It’s clear to see that putting some time and effort into crafting a welcome book can bring ongoing benefits to your business.
A perfect way to start your welcome book is with a well-written welcome note. A welcome note is a personal note written to guests by hosts. It adds a special touch to the book and can help your guests feel at home in your rental. Try to personalize your note to each guest by adding their name and reworking a few sentences.
Remember to thank your guests for booking your rental and wish them a wonderful stay. Let them know that you are available to answer any questions they might have. Finish off by asking them to read through the entire welcome book, as it contains important information.
All guests should have a copy of useful emergency numbers if any problems occur. Make sure to provide your or your local property manager’s phone number so guests know how to reach you if any emergency happens.
In addition, you should include the names and contact information of:
Even if you have a house alarm or smoke detector, it’s always better to take precautions and provide your guests with emergency contacts.
Providing a table of contents will create a sense of order and organization in your vacation rental welcome book. It will allow your guests to page through to a section they might want to read before the others, for instance, if they want to locate the Wi-Fi password.
As guests can be very busy when finalizing their trip plans, there’s a chance that they may not read their check-in and checkout instructions.
Therefore, a copy of your check-in and check-out instructions should be included in your welcome book. They can help to prevent any confusion or complaints from your guests, especially about the check-out time.
It’s imperative to list your house rules in your vacation rental welcome book. House rules allow hosts to explain what behavior is and isn’t allowed in their vacation rental property.
Try to structure your house rules with each part of the house in mind. For example, guests may smoke outside but not inside, or no pets on the furniture. Listing your house rules can also prevent any accidents or misunderstandings between you and your guests.
Leaving how-to instructions for your guests can help them navigate your appliances. It’s a good idea to leave step-by-step instructions for your oven, stovetop, dishwasher, etc.
Although working some of these appliances might seem like common sense, remember that not all of your guests may have used some before, or may have used a very different model. Providing instructions will prevent you from receiving phone calls at odd hours from angry or frustrated guests who can’t get the dishwasher started. If you have additional amenities like a hot tub or heated pool, it’s also recommended to leave instructions for how to switch them on and off.
You should create a separate section for all login instructions and passwords in your vacation rental welcome book. Make sure you include the Wi-Fi name and password, and any details about the Wi-Fi. You should also include passwords for streaming platforms.
Guests may not know the surrounding area and might be looking for recommendations. By adding suggestions for activities and things to do, you can show your guests that you’re prepared to go that extra mile to make their holiday special. Guests will appreciate this and will be more likely to leave your rental a five-star review. Try to include a range of things to do in your vacation rental welcome book. This could be outdoor adventures or fun activities for the whole family.
Are there any well-known restaurants in your local area, or some swanky wine bars? Don’t forget to list any must-visit eateries or nightlife areas that your guests may want to check out.
Remember that not all your guests may drink alcohol. Try to include non-alcoholic places as well, like smoothie and juice bars, or even food markets. If you have any places that are your personal favorites, add them to your vacation rental welcome book. Many guests may appreciate getting insider tips for local favorites or hidden gems.
Make it easier for guests to plan their daily activities by providing transport and commute information.
Be sure to include things like:
Adding a list of useful stores and shops can help your guests to find what they need. Guests will likely be unfamiliar with the local surroundings. A list of where they can find grocery and household essentials will save them time and make their shopping more pleasant. Things that you can add to your list in your vacation rental welcome book include:
Make your rental welcome book eye-catching to your guests by creating a striking design. An attractive cover will compel your guests to read your welcome book and will leave a good impression. Make your welcome book one-of-a-kind by adding a business logo.
You can work with professional designers who can pick a color scheme and create an original logo. If you would rather go the DIY route, there are plenty of creative tools to help you get started, like Photoshop and Canva. It’s also a good idea to plan a consistent layout across the book, so each page has a similar look and theme.
If you are creating a printed vacation rental welcome book, why not try to make it look more like a magazine? Using gloss paper can give your book a polished and professional feel, and a local print shop will be able to bind it.
There are many vacation rental guest book ideas on short-term rental blogs. Even if you decide to make your book digital, with some careful design, you can still make your welcome book resemble an online magazine.
Most hosts may be wondering whether they should create a printed or digital welcome book. There are pros and cons to both. Some guests prefer reading content in print form, as they dislike reading on a screen. Others may find a printed vacation rental welcome book off-putting to read.
You should aim to try and please all your guests by creating both print and digital copies of your welcome book. Message your guests asking them if they would prefer a digital copy emailed before they arrive, or if they’d prefer a printed book.
Although we recommend creating both kinds of books for your guests, a digital book brings more benefits. This is especially true if target guests are millennials and younger guests who prefer to consume content on their gadgets.
Because of the pandemic, guests are a lot more conscious of germs and prefer to avoid touching surfaces if they don’t need to. For hosts looking for a professional influence, Touch Stay creates unique digital books that will wow your guests.
You may assume that it doesn’t matter where you place your welcome book, as long as your guests do read it. You may think that the living room is an ideal space, but keep in mind that if it has a smart TV or other gadgets, that could distract guests from reading the welcome book.
Many hosts put their vacation rental welcome book (or tablet) in the kitchen, as guests can often gather in the kitchen first, but this isn’t a set rule. You may need some time to decide where the best place would be to put your welcome book. Ideally, It should be placed in a room or area with minimal distraction, where guests can comfortably take the time to read it.
Where you end up placing it should be based on the unique style and set up of your vacation rental property. Another creative option is using the QR code method from TINE, which involves placing QR codes around your rental. Your guests will be able to scan the QR code on their mobile device, and a vacation rental welcome video will pop up for them to watch.
A vacation rental welcome book can help to improve your guests’ stay at your rental. Another way to elevate the guest experience is to simplify the hosting process using vacation rental software such as iGMS. iGMS offers functionality to streamline every area of your vacation rental business and take it from strength to strength:
Phoebe Gunning is a content writer in the Marketing Department at iGMS. She is passionate about the vacation rental industry, notably helping hosts make the most out of their vacation rental businesses. Some of her hobbies include reading, traveling and drinking a good cup of coffee.