In my 40+ years I’ve stayed in many vacation rentals. Some of the properties have been fantastic – from Key West to Portugal to Norfolk (UK). Yet I don’t remember a single one of them having a welcome book that lives up to the quality of the vacation rental.
Why is that? Is it because owners are just too busy? Is it because the welcome book is considered an afterthought without any real value? If you think this way you should read how to improve your guest experience with a digital guest welcome book.
What Should My Guest Welcome Book Include?
This is a question many owners ask. It can be a daunting task to start from scratch. Rather than list every possible topic that could be included, we’ve come up with the 4 key categories of information that we typically see in every good guest welcome book. If you follow that format, and address the key themes that we discuss in each category, you’ll have yourself a nifty resource in no time, and one that your guests will love!
1. Pre Arrival Information
The week before my vacation starts is usually frantic. Not only am I clearing my work desk, but I’m also starting to think about what to pack, how to find the vacation rental, what time I’ll be able to check-in, where will I shop for groceries, and so on. Us guests often need a vacation from our pre-arrival planning stress!
If you have a digital guest book, one that you can share with your guests before they arrive, then you can help ease the guest stress. Answer all those questions that you know a guest will be concerned about. Tell them any important items to pack (for example beach towels). Provide them directions. Let them know that small grocery store en route to the vacation rental where they can pick up some basic provisions. Tell them what time to check-in, where to pick keys up, where to park, and so on.
The best piece of advice is to pretend you are making the journey. You’ve done it many times as an owner so you’re often on autopilot. Try to turn off the auto setting and place yourself in your guests’ shoes.
2. Important Property Information
We all know that vacation rentals require a little extra effort. It’s what makes them unique. No that’s not marketing spin, it’s real… if we wanted bland we’d have booked the Hilton!
It would be impossible to list every “extra effort” item I’ve come across, but a few of them include:
- Needing to heat up the outdoor hot tub a few hours ahead of being able to use it
- Figuring out how to operate the gas grill
- Realizing on the first morning that there are no coffee filters
None of them were hard to resolve, but they did require a call to the owner, or a trip to the local store. They would be great items to include in a welcome book, especially one that you can share with your guest before they leave home.
On top of the “quirks” there are all the obvious items like the WiFi password, where to put the garbage, who to operate the TV, and so on. There are simple things that take a few minutes to write down and will be appreciated by your time-starved guest!
3. Area Information
This is the fun part. This is where you get to add some extra shine to your guest’s stay. I’ve experienced some true nuggets of gold over the years, direct from the owner. For example:
- The secret rock pool beach that nobody other than locals knows how to access
- The best pizza restaurant in town
- The local breakfast hang-out that serves the best pancakes
You simply can’t get this kind of information at a hotel. Nor can you glean it from hours researching the web. It’s like having your own (free) concierge. Trust me, this is where the greatest leap in guest satisfaction will come from. We all love to experience something unique and we’ll fall over ourselves thanking you for telling us (which = great reviews and/or repeat bookings).
It takes less than 30 minutes if you’re an owner who knows their stuff! So invest that small amount of time in adding the hidden gems to your guest welcome book. And not just hidden gems, simple pieces of advice like the best way to walk to the beach are great time savers.
4. Frequently Asked Questions
With your experience you are bound to have a long list of questions that guests ask you. Oftentimes these questions come in the pre-booking stage. Imagine being able to send interested guests a link to your welcome book with all those FAQ’s answered? Your guest welcome book could help improve your conversion rate.
It’s not just upping the conversion rate; it’s also the time you save in answering those questions! So why not make it a priority to improve the efficiency of your booking process. Place all those commonly asked questions in a guest welcome book that you can share with guests before they leave their own home and even before they’ve booked?
If you are looking for a simple and affordable way to create and maintain a digital welcome book then you might like to try Touch Stay. We even have a no credit card, no obligation, zero time investment (we do the set up work for you!), 30-day free trial service running – click here to read more!