How to Make a Great Guest Book
When we know our vacation home and the surrounding area so well, it’s easy to take things for granted and forget how it felt when we first arrived.
We forget that our new guests are unfamiliar with the entire area. Guests expect their hosts to be more than simply a place to sleep; they expect them to be helpful and knowledgeable.
A complete welcome book is one of the simplest and most effective ways to set yourself apart and ensure your guests get the most out of their stay. It swiftly answers all of their questions regarding your vacation rental and the surrounding area, allowing them to enjoy a wonderful vacation.
It will also make your life easier if your visitors know how to use household equipment, find a good restaurant, and get to the grocery, among other things. You won’t have to make any late-night phone calls now!
If done correctly, your guests are likely to repay your consideration with a positive review, repeat visits, and recommendations.
What should a guest information book contain?
The most important bits of information for visitors should be summarised first, like the wifi password.
If you’re not sure what information to include, think back to all the questions you’ve ever been asked by guests. If you’ve had a question from people staying at your holiday cottage more than once, you should record it in your welcome book.
A kind welcome message
Welcome your guests to your vacation home with a personal warm welcome note in the first part of your guest book. Perhaps a photograph and any relevant information about the property’s history. Why did you buy it, what improvements did you make, are there any historical ties, and most importantly, what do you love about it?
Let the guests know you’re glad to have them and that you care about their experience in your vacation rental – they’ll take better care of it if you do!
Contact information in case of an emergency
Getting on the phone
If your guests have any problems or concerns during their stay, provide them with the contact information for yourself or your property manager, as well as emergency services.
Some of your guests will most likely be from another country and may not know how to contact the emergency services. List the phone numbers for the police, fire department, hospital, local doctors (both public and private), dentists (and veterinarians if you allow pets), as well as directions to their locations.
Provide instructions on what to do if something goes wrong with the property, such as the lights going out, the heating failing or the appliances breaking down, among other things. Draw a diagram of the fuse box, mains water stopcock, and gas terminal so that they can be promptly located in the case of an emergency.
Make it clear what guests should do in the event of a fire, including where any fire-fighting equipment is situated, how smoke alarms operate, the best method to leave the property, and where the first-aid kit is kept.
Provide the property’s address so that guests may easily order meals or a taxi.
No one likes wasting important holiday time trying to find out how everything works. It’s also aggravating to be interrupted with ‘how-to’ queries as a host.
Leave detailed directions on where to store goods and how to use all of the amenities, such as:
Making a wifi connection
Use the door code to unlock the door.
The property’s heating
What is the best dishwasher and washing machine programme?
How to work the wood stove safely.
Turn on the hot tub.
Make use of the television and entertainment system.
If the water from the tap is safe to drink.
To avoid guests pressing many buttons until anything happens or breaks, write clear ‘quick how-to instructions’ in fool-proof bullet points. You might even have the appliance laminate these for you, utilising photographs and arrows to plainly explain how to use it.
Make photocopies of all instruction manuals for any appliances that guests may use and keep them in a drawer where they may be found if necessary.
Anticipate any potential problems or issues before they become a problem. Make sure guests are aware of any peculiarities of your home, so they know what to expect – if the wifi signal is worse in some rooms, for instance.
If anything is available for usage, instructions on how to use it should be left.
House rules for vacation rentals
Even if you make sure your guests read and understand the house rules before they book, it’s still a good idea to remind them at the property. If you do this, guests will have a hard time claiming that they were unaware of the regulations.
Include any dos and don’ts in this part and explicit directions for visitors on what is expected of them throughout their stay. House rules can assist you in not just reducing guest damage and avoiding accidents but also in resolving misunderstandings and complaints.
One of the most essential items on your checklist is to report any difficulties, damage, breakages, or if anything is broken or missing as soon as possible so that you may correct any problems.
Here are some examples of regulations to consider:
What can and can’t be flushed down the toilets if your home has a septic tank
Hazards and safety
Excessive noise late at night Cleaning up after yourself Respecting your neighbours
Additional visitor policies
Keeping the residence safe
Hot tub or swimming pool
There will be no parties.
Where should I park?
Where to go
When it comes to sightseeing, knowing where to go and what to do is essential. Keep in mind that your visitors may have never visited your location before. They’ll appreciate it if you can save them the trouble of figuring things out on their own. Share your knowledge so they can learn how to ‘live like a native’ and immerse themselves in the environment.
Guests like to feel like they’ve been to places just a few people know about, sites that aren’t listed in any travel guide.
Create an agenda for the ‘perfect day’ based on your favourite activities and attractions, and explain why you recommend them to your ideal guest.
Every six months, update your list and include some fliers and discount coupons. Also, leave a selection of guidebooks in your rental (for example, best local walks, family attractions, and top 10 beaches).
Make a list of nearby amenities (supermarkets, markets, shops, bakery, delicatessen, spa, hair/nail salon, gym, post office, banks, ATM, gas station, and so on) as well as the location of the nearest pay phone if the area’s mobile phone service is poor.
Provide suggestions for your favourite restaurants, bars, and lunch spots, as well as dishes to try. Which coffee shop delivers the best latte, and where do you get the best vegan meal?
If at all possible, provide phone numbers, websites, and a map. This will make it easier for guests to find them and make bookings if necessary. Negotiate discounts for your guests at local pubs/restaurants and form partnerships with local companies, so they don’t have to wait in line.
Include takeout menus for people who wish to relax at home after a long day.
The best way to get around
If you provide visitors advice on how to explore your area, they will be grateful. Include maps that illustrate where everything is in proximity to your property, as well as the best public transportation or car routes to get there.
It’s also a good idea to include contact information for local cab services. Provide details of any unusual driving restrictions that apply if your vacation property is located outside of the United States.
Include a phrasebook for crucial phrases for foreign visitors. The local cuisine is an excellent topic. Include translations for the most popular foods in your region, as well as how to order coffee and beer, so that visitors may try new things with confidence.
Reuse and recycle
Holiday cottage owners and guests alike have a responsibility to promote responsible tourism, so make sure your visitors are aware of the rules in your area.
Outline how guests should dispose of trash and recyclables. When and where do the bins need to be emptied? Include energy-saving tips in your vacation rental to save money on expenses and lessen your guests’ carbon footprint. Guests have a habit of cranking up the heat and then opening windows because it’s too hot (much to the chagrin of the proprietors!).
Tell your visitors how your check-out works to eliminate last-minute phone calls and problems and to enable a rapid turnaround of the property for the following set of guests. When do they have to leave, and what are their obligations when they go?
Check to see if doors and windows are locked, where keys should be left, what to deal with bed linen and towels, how to switch off the lights, what temperature to leave the thermostat on (or remind them to turn off the air conditioning), and how to dispose of perishable food.
Leave space for guests to leave restaurant and location recommendations so that future guests can benefit from their unique experiences. Also, include a link to your online reviews page and encourage guests to submit feedback there. Asking for a review from someone you don’t know is a bad idea. Guests who have been ‘a nuisance’ should be avoided.
Give the kids a pad and encourage them to draw pictures of their vacation or make comments on what they liked. It’s great to learn about their favourite things.
What is the best way to make a welcome book?
Version on paper
Place the book on the table.
Some visitors enjoy walking inside a vacation home and looking through a physical guest information binder. On the other hand, printed guest information folders soon become out of date, become scruffy, and pages frequently go missing.
Creating a guest guidebook in Microsoft Word is a cost-effective and efficient approach. It can be left in a prominent location in your property, such as the kitchen counter, for arriving visitors. Also, send a copy of the confirmation email as soon as they book, and then send it again 24 hours before check-in so that everything is fresh in their minds.
Smartphone with digital welcome book
A number of free and paid products have been developed expressly for creating a digital welcome book that guests can interact with and that you can update from afar. There’s also assistance with getting everything set up.
Guests can view the digital welcome book while out and share it with others in their group. They can also print a PDF version if they prefer to carry about a good old fashioned paper version.
So, when it comes to paper vs. digital, which is the better option? A digital version with the ability to print a hard copy is available.
How can you persuade visitors to read your guestbook?
The majority of your visitors will read your information. Some people will read every word, but the majority will scan over it to see what’s important at the time.
Some visitors, on the other hand, will never read your house manual. These are the people who leave bad reviews that could have been prevented if they had merely read the manual.
So, how do you persuade visitors to read the welcome materials?
You’ll need to make it interesting for them and attract them with the promise of important information. For instance, how to obtain discounted tickets or locate a hidden free parking spot near town.
Make an effort to include some personality, maybe a little humour, as well as clear headings for skimmers. Include images or a short smartphone movie to show how things work, such as the hot tub.