If you are using a short let property management company they can help you to create a welcome guide, however for those of you who don’t, please find below some tips on how to create a welcome guide for your short term let.
To you, your short term let is like an extension of your own home, you know where everything is, and what there is to do in the local area to entertain yourself. For your guests however it is very different, it may be the very first time they have ever visited the area, and things will feel very new to them. It is important for you and your business that you ensure your guests enjoy their stay and sing the praises of your short term let, even better continue to return in the future.
When creating your welcome guide, you need to think as you did when you first took on your short term let, and think like someone that has never been there before.
A good welcome guide will include information on yourself, the owner, your property, and the local area. Recommendations of local amenities, places to spend the day or evening, and places to eat are always a good start. It is also essential that you supply your guests with emergency contact information both for yourselves, and local medical clinics etc. and not forgetting information on how to use electrical appliances in the property, as I am sure we can all remember a time we have been stumped by a technical appliance. The list can be never ending . . .
When trying to put your welcome guide together it helps to think . . .
“What information do I need to know to make the most of my stay here?”
A welcome greeting:
Welcome your guests, and give a brief history about yourselves, the property, and the local area. Guests like to feel a connection with the owner of the property and in my experience results in the property being looked after. Don’t go in heavy with many ground rules, your guests are here to enjoy themselves and don’t want to feel restricted as soon as they arrive.
Hopefully this will rarely need to be used, but it is important to have it there. Always make sure that this is at the front of the book and easy for people to find, and includes an emergency contact for yourself (or your short let property management company if you live away) in the case that anything happens to the property. Along with this include information about what the guests should do if there is a problem with the property for example a heating failure or problems with power supply. You may also want to include instructions for where the fuse box, mains water stopcock and gas terminal are in the property so the guests can find these quickly if required. Run through what guests should do in the event of a fire for example where are the extinguishers located in the property, how the smoke alarms work and the location of fire exits.
Include a telephone list of local doctors (public and private), dentists and hospitals with maps or instructions on how to get to them. Let’s not forget our furry friends, if you allow pets make sure you include a phone number for a local vet.
Appliance information and instructions:
You will all be familiar with the appliances you have selected for your property, but your guests will not be, and it is important for them to be able to access all the appliances and services that are available to them. The first thing on most people’s mind will be Internet connection so ensure that you have the name of your network and password somewhere easy for your guests to find.
Look around your property and think about what appliances your guests are likely to use and leave copies of the user manuals or easy to use step-by-step guides somewhere the guests can access e.g. a kitchen drawer. There’s nothing worse than a guests playing around with an appliance because they have no instructions and breaking or reprograming the whole thing.
In your property if you have different appliances that are run by a remote control then you may want to label these, so that they can be distinguished and used for the correct appliance. Instructions on how to use these will also be helpful, and save hours of time trying to change the channel on the TV.
If your guests are lucky enough to have things such as log burners or hot tubs available to them then instruction for these will also limit the risk of complications later on, and allow your guests to enjoy all of the property’s features.
Dos and don’ts: (don’t call them rules!)
Be careful when writing this section as you don’t want to come across too strict but it is important for you to lay some ground rules, because at the end of the day this is your property.
If your property is in a built up area or you have close neighbours it may be worth having them in mind when completing this section. You may want to remind guests of noise levels when coming and going from the property, after all who wants upset neighbours?
For properties that allow pets make it clear if they are allowed in all rooms and on the sofas etc. If this isn’t clear at the start, it may give you a lot of clearing up at the end.
Including your terms and conditions in the welcome guide is also worthwhile, with this explain that guests are to report any problems as soon as possible so that you get the chance to rectify any issues.
Some of your guests may want to enjoy your local area without the stress of driving so it is important to provide them with information on the local transport operating in your area.
Let you guests know where they can find the local bus stops, train or tube stations and include up to date timetables to make this as straight forward as possible for them. Also include phone numbers for local taxi firms and the road name so that your guests will be able to point a driver in the right direction.
A nice touch if you have a short term let in London could be to include an oyster card with the guide.
Attractions and amenities:
This section will be really important to your guests, as they will look to you for advice on how to enjoy their time at your short term let. These could be either personal recommendations or from your local tourist information board. I would always recommend your own personal thoughts as this helps create a relationship between yourselves and your guests.
When selecting places to recommend you will want to think of a wide variety, covering all ages and interests. Include recommendations for local heritage sites and monuments for the guests that may enjoy some local history for example if you have a short term let in London include places such as Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, or Tower Bridge. Maybe a recommendation for family day outs with children like London Zoo, or Warner Brothers Studio- Harry Potter. Otherwise, just taking in the views of London from the London Eye, a river cruise on the Thames, or dinner in The Shard.
For more day-to-day information, it would be helpful to your guests if you provided them with a list of local amenities such as supermarkets, shops, post offices, banks, ATMs and petrol stations. You could do this easily by displaying them on one simple map with a key.
Include a list of what guests have to do on their final day before vacating the property. This may include instructions such as where to leave the keys, to ensure all doors and windows are locked, and what to do with rubbish or dirty linen.
Remember your guests are on holiday, so they do not want to spend hours reading through hundreds of pages of rules, and how to guidelines. Keep it concise and to the point with the most important information in an eye-catching place. It would also be good to prioritise the information going from most important to least as you work your way through the book.
When producing your welcome guide, always think of it from a guest’s point of view. What would you want to know if you were going to a short term let? If you use this as a basis you will be on track to do a great job!