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The alternative to a Canva guest welcome book template

Canva is a really brilliant tool for a lot of different things. When it comes to designing presentations, Instagram posts, or even resumes, it’s an easy, cost-effective piece of kit. However, when you’re looking to create a holiday accommodation guest manual, is Canva the best tool for the job?

Your house manual needs to clearly and engagingly present essential information so that your guests want to read it. More than that, it needs to feel sleek, personal, and professional – it should be the only resource they need to make the most of their time with you.

And here’s where Canva sticks: it provides a great user experience for you, the creator, but not such a great experience for your guests. In contrast, digital guidebooks are specifically designed to work well for you and your guests. Given how crucial the guest experience is to your review scores and repeat bookings, it’s always worth opting for the tool that makes your visitors’ stay run more smoothly.

If you’re a holiday accommodation host looking to craft a guest welcome book that’s a breeze for everyone, read on to discover the best alternative to a Canva guest welcome book template.


Why Canva is great

Don’t get us wrong! Canva is a brilliant tool. We use it ourselves, and we often encourage our customers to use it. For example, we’ve created these Canva guest welcome book templates for displaying handy QR codes around your holiday accommodation – go help yourselves!

You might be considering using Canva to create your Airbnb guest book because:

  • It’s free (or at least, it has a free option!)
  • It’s got great design capabilities
  • You can easily share the link with your guests

All of these features make your life easier, but does Canva make life easier for your guests? A guest welcome book template created in Canva presents your guests with important property info, but it doesn’t allow them to engage with it.

A digital guidebook, on the other hand, is also easily shareable and allows you to effortlessly craft a glossy, branded design – plus, it’s:

  • interactive
  • trackable
  • intuitive

Your guests can engage with it. You can track who’s using it. And it works for everyone without wrapping anyone’s brain in knots. It’s just…easy.

And with a free trial, you can give Touch Stay digital guidebooks a go without parting with your credit card details. Take a look at some stellar example guidebooks to see how yours could look.


Let’s go into some more depth on how a digital guest welcome book supports holiday accommodation owners.

The best Canva alternative

A Touch Stay digital guest welcome book is the best alternative to Canva, specifically designed to suit your needs. It’s easy to create, easy to share, and helps you to communicate efficiently with your guests.

So, what are the key benefits that make a digital guidebook a better option than a Canva house manual template?

1. Guests can interact with your information

Rather than a static PDF or a view-only file link, your visitors access an intuitive guest app. With smooth navigation between different tabs, and clearly organised information, they can easily locate everything they need.

Struggling to encourage guests to read the info at the bottom of your welcome book? Guests not wanting to scroll through multiple pages of information to find the WiFi code is frustrating for you, but understandable if we think about it. They are on holiday, after all! With all your info organised into clear categories, your visitors will easily find exactly what they need.

You can also insert what we call internal links to help them jump straight from one section of your guide to another. Getting guests excited about all the great local coffee shops in your “Welcome” section? Just link straight to the section about the best spot to grab a flat white. No need for visitors to scroll through another five pages to know where they can find their caffeine fix!

LISTEN: to Heather Bayer tell us about the importance of keeping your guests up to date on even the smallest details



2. You can track your guests’ engagement

Crafting a beautifully formatted, informative Airbnb guest book is no use if your guests don’t actually read it. They’ll still arrive feeling underprepared, and you’ll still receive the same repetitive questions.

But how do you know if they’re reading it or not? Well, with a guest welcome book template created in Canva, you don’t. You send the link to your guests, but you can’t know for sure if they actually click on it.

With a Touch Stay digital guidebook, you can track which guests have viewed your guidebook, and how many times they’ve viewed it. So, if one of your visitors is continuing to bombard you with questions, you can check to see if they’ve opened your welcome book. If they haven’t, maybe it’s time for another gentle nudge!

READ: 8 ideas for increasing digital guidebook usage by guests, if you’re looking for inspiration on how to get guests engaged.


3. Your guest app works with any device

With the vast range of mobile devices available today, it’s crucial that guests can access your Airbnb guest book from whichever gadget they carry with them. Touch Stay digital guidebooks use progressive web app technology, which basically means they’re a winning combination of website and app. As a result:

  • Your guidebook automatically optimises to suit whichever device your guest is using
  • There’s no need for guests to download anything from their app store
  • They can still pin it to their phone’s home screen for easy access
  • It still looks and feels like an app, with all the handy functionality

No more awkwardly zooming in on PDFs, or trying to decode sentences which tail off the edge of a screen. Whether they’re logging in on their mobile or their tablet, an Android lover or an Apple fanatic, your guidebook will suit them perfectly.

4. Make your guests feel at home with Google Places

Holiday guests want to feel as though they’re getting a personalised, local experience. They’re not just here to stay at your property (although we’re sure that was a big draw!) – they want to make the most of the local area.

Your digital welcome book is the perfect place for you to help them do that. Use it to tell them:

  • your favourite spot to watch the sunset
  • the hidden parking spots that only the locals know about
  • where they can find the best pastries for breakfast

With our Google Places integration, there’s no need to painstakingly type out opening times or contact details for the local businesses you want to recommend. We’ll pull in all the relevant info from their Google business listing. You can also help guests orient themselves by pinning recommendations to the Map tab in your guidebook.

READ: about how Sarah used Touch Stay to start her vacation rental side hustle


5. Inject your personality with embedded videos

Embedding a video in your digital guidebook allows you to:

  • add a personal welcome
  • provide detailed instructions for any tricky appliances
  • showcase the beauty of your local area

Video helps you to expand the depth of the information you provide, and provide an even more personalised experience for your guests.

Looking for an example? Check out how Jim, of Asheville Hillside Hideaway, uses video to deliver complex instructions in a clear format (and keep an eye out for the fun anecdotes he’s smattered throughout!).

6. Offline access means your guests always have the info they need

What if your holiday rental property is in a beautifully unspoilt (and unconnected) location? Guests book with you for the mountain views, or the peace and quiet, but forget that this might mean a less stable internet connection. They find themselves halfway to your property, unsure which turn to take, and with no way of loading the Canva link you’ve shared…

Or, they’ve already saved your digital guidebook to their home screen, and it’s working perfectly! Once guests add your guidebook to their home screen, they can open it with no signal or internet. Perfect for those off-grid adventures.


7. Your guest welcome book is printable too

Of course, some guests just prefer to read from a paper house manual. They might not feel overly comfortable using technology, or they might find it difficult to read from a screen. Whatever their reasons, it’s important that they’re still able to access the information they need.

That’s why you can generate a PDF of your guide for easy printing. You can even choose to add a QR code to it, so that guests can easily access the digital version. They get the best of both worlds!

8. Deep links send guests straight to the info they need

If a guest asks you a question, and the answer is in the guest welcome manual you’ve created in Canva, how are you going to explain exactly which part of the manual they need to go to? “It’s…halfway down the fourth page, just below the dishwasher instructions.” Maybe you just type out the instructions all over again when you respond to their email.

With a digital guidebook, all you have to do is send them the deep link to the pertinent section in your guide. Simply generate the link to the topic where you’ve deposited that info, and insert it into a text or email. Everyone saves time, and your guests get immediate access to detailed instructions.

You can even download a list of these deep links from your account and save them to your computer or phone for quick and easy access whenever you need them.


A free guest welcome book template for your vacation rental

We’ve got two options for you. If you can’t wait to get cracking, you can download our free Word doc guest welcome book template, which will guide you through all the key info that your guest welcome book should contain. Just fill in the form below and we’ll email it to you!

Grab your Airbnb guest book template




If you want an equally easy process (if not more so – we all know how tricky Word formatting can be!), why not sign up for a free Touch Stay trial? You’ll get immediate access to our range of guest welcome book templates – from short term rentals to glampsites – and two weeks to have a play.

We don’t take any credit card details until you sign up for a paid subscription, so there’s no risk of money unexpectedly disappearing from your account. Plus, with two weeks to get creative, you can really get to grips with how Touch Stay could work for you.

DISCOVER: how to welcome visitors to your vacation rental with a guest welcome book template


Canva Pro pricing

Canva Pro costs £109.99 per year. Although you could create a digital guest welcome book without paying for Pro, you’d lose out on key design elements, such as the ability to:

  • remove image backgrounds
  • save designs as templates for you or your team to use
  • create a Brand Kit, to easily apply your brand logo and colours to your design

So, whilst the free version of Canva will get you so far, you might need the pro one to create a really polished guide.

A cost-effective alternative to Canva Pro

Touch Stay, on the other hand, starts from £76 + VAT per year for your first guidebook (after you complete your 14-day free trial). And the more you add the cheaper they get.

For this price, you can:

  • spotlight your brand with your logo, colours, photos, and videos
  • access human, personable support from our product experts
  • schedule unlimited guest alerts with Memo, our guest notification system

We’re the guest communication experts, so becoming part of our global community gives you access to wider industry knowledge, materials to help you understand and enhance your guest communications, and other holiday rental pros in our thriving Facebook group.

With a guest notification system included

We know that keeping guests in the loop can be complicated – but it doesn’t have to be. With Memo’s scheduled messages, it’s simpler than ever to share vital information with the right people, at the right time.

Once you’ve created your guidebook, simply:

  1. select your message templates (or craft your own custom templates)
  2. choose when you want them to send
  3. let us distribute your guidebook for you

With Memo, you’ll never forget to send out the door code again! We’re all about helping you to ace your guest communications from the beginning to the end of each guest’s stay, whilst reclaiming time in your day.


Stand out from the crowd with a specialised digital guest welcome book

With the sheer number of short term rentals available on booking platforms such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Vrbo, and, you need to ensure that yours has something special.

A guest welcome book template created in Canva will do the trick, but it probably won’t have guests leaving reviews like these:

What a great online guide you’ve put together for the house! We’ve been renting for a very long time through Vrbo (more than fifteen years), and this is the best that I have seen!

– Guests of Debbie Kelner

With Touch Stay, you’ll make your guests feel welcomed, prepared, and special from the moment they book. In return, you’ll see more 5-star reviews, word-of-mouth referrals, and returning visitors.

So, what are you waiting for?