The welcome process is one of the most important elements in creating a strong foundation for the guest experience.
If you’re a property owner who has decided to start a short-term rental business, you’ll know that receiving guests in a proper way is crucial if you want to ensure them a perfect stay from the moment they arrive.
A welcome book for vacation rentals is one of the most useful and valuable things you can provide to your guest in order to make their trip memorable. That’s why, we’ve created a free vacation rental welcome book template you can download here:
Don’t see the form to download the Welcome Book Checklist? Click here.
When guests get to your vacation rental, it’s important you make them feel like they’re entering a serene and welcoming home, where they can easily find everything they need – including information.
That means doing a bit of mind-reading – anticipating any potential problems or issues before they even have a chance to arise, and leaving comprehensive instructions for the best way to deal with them, just in case!
All the practical information included in your welcome book will be key in avoiding late-night (or early morning), panicked phone calls from your guests.
The Ultimate Vacation Rental Welcome Book Template
What’s the main problem you might come across when you create a new welcome book for your short term rental?
It can take a lot of time and even more effort!
Writing and producing an entire new welcome book from scratch might seem like something that would take up too much of your time.
You’ll probably spend hours (or even days) trying to figure out the right structure of the text, which tone of voice you should use and which useful information you should include.
Luckily for you, you can skip this important step with a little help from us. Read on to get access to our free vacation rental welcome book template and checklist of everything you need to do include to welcome your guests.
Why Do You Need a Welcome Book For Your Vacation Rental Business?
Providing the right services to your guests from the first moment they enter your vacation rental can really make a difference and could even improve your repeat guest rate.
Certainly, there are other significant factors that you need to consider when renting your property in order to convince guests to choose you over your competition. Things like the cleanliness of the property, your rates, extra services and all the amenities you can provide in your vacation rental home are very important.
But have you ever heard that “the devil is in the details”?
If you want to make sure your guests have a unique experience, you need to focus on the details. And you can start with the perfect welcome book. You need a vacation rental welcome book because:
Welcome books show how much you care about your guests. It will greet your new guests and instantly make them feel comfortable in your home.
They help guests navigate through your property. It will help your guests to get to know your property and make the best use of it. It will also tell them all the services and benefits you provide, along with how-to instructions for different simple things like connecting to WiFi, starting the dishwasher and using all the available amenities.
Provide local recommendations. A welcome book will also provide your guests with some tips and personal recommendations to make their experience memorable.
Welcome books help you get 5-star reviews. The more you include in your welcome booklet, the more you will be rewarded for your thoughtfulness in their online reviews.
What to Include In Your Vacation Rental Welcome Book
When you’re deciding what to include in your vacation rental welcome book, there’s one thing you have to always bear in mind: every section should be helpful for first-time guests in your area and home.
That’s why we think it would be best to split the vacation rental welcome book into handy sections for easy navigation.
Here are our top suggestions, ideas and tips on what to include!
1. Welcome Information
Above all, you should use the first section of your welcome book to do just that – welcome your guests to your vacation rental.
You’ve heard time and time again that the first impression is the last impression. So don’t miss this opportunity and let your guests start their experience in your property in the best way possible.
This personal “hello” will not only be a friendly way of introducing yourself to your guests, but it will also show them you really care about the experience they have in your home.
This is particularly useful and will help make a great impression if you have an automated check-in system and are not usually there to greet guests upon arrival in person.
In the same section, you can also include a brief summary of:
Even if your guests might not read your short term rental welcome book, it’s important they have access to it. Otherwise, they’ll definitely ask you for assistance.
2. Arrival & Departure Information
If you’re planning to send an electronic copy of your welcome book via email before guests are due to arrive, it’s a good idea to include arrival and departure details within the first few pages.
This includes your rental’s full address, directions to your home from the nearest airport and train/bus stations, check-in and check-out rules (and mention whether these are flexible or strict) etc.
3. Helpful Emergency Contacts
In addition to your contact information, you’ll also want to include contact details and addresses for the following emergency resources, just in case:
Nearest Medical Clinic or Hospital
Remember, guests don’t have all the resources that they would normally have at home. If they know you have their safety in mind, they’ll feel more at ease.
4. About Your Rental Property
All vacation rentals are different, so even if your guest has stayed at plenty in the past, that’s not to say they’ll know your vacation rental house rules unless you set them out clearly.
What’s more, including your rental policies in your welcome book will help help you avoid issues with guests that argue that they weren’t aware of the rules.
Use this section to lay out any policies and procedures, along with clear instructions for guests regarding what is expected of them during their stay.
For example, if trash is collected on Tuesdays, you’ll want to communicate this to your guests so they don’t miss the opportunity to throw out the garbage.
This section will remind guests how to leave your property in good condition. Another bonus of using your policies: you are much less likely to encounter missing or misused items!
5. How-to Instructions
If your guests can’t figure out things like how to turn on the thermostat, they can end up projecting that anger on your property reviews. It’s important to include helpful information on how to use some of your services and appliances.
You can write up the instructions for:
Property Access (lockbox code, garage code, gate)
Hot tub or Fireplace
Washer and Dryer
TV/DVD Player remote control
This is also the perfect place to include rules regarding things like smoking, breakages, waste, and water information. You can even mention any quirks of your rental. Does your WiFi work well around the house but not in the patio? Include it in this section so they know what to expect.
6. Activities Guide
Although some guests may arrive with a closed itinerary, others may be looking for local recommendations from locals – you!
That’s why you should dedicate a full section of your welcome book to the activities and attractions your area has to offer.
Show off your expertise and include a “best of” list of your personal favorite things to do near your rental.
Additionally (depending on your rental location), you may want to create a section for each of the most popular leisure pursuits, such as walks/hikes, cycle routes, beaches, and watersports, plus shopping options like fresh produce and second-hand markets.
7. Bars and Restaurants Guide
Write a short introduction to the food and drink offerings in your location.
Maybe there is a particular dish that’s popular in the region? Or a style of cooking that’s unique to your area?
Follow this with a list of your own favorite restaurants, bars and lunch spots, along with recommended dishes to try at these eateries.
Don’t forget to include telephone numbers, website or TripAdvisor links and a map if you can! This will help guests find them easier and make reservations if needed.
8. Local Ordinances/Code Compliance
Some areas have very specific local regulations and rules applicable to short term rentals. For example, some areas prohibit outdoor trash, so guests have to throw their trash at local facilities. Certain regions often prohibit campfires or fireworks. Making your guests aware of these local rules is important in order to avoid problems with their stay. Plus, it’ll help you avoid having your own hosting horror story!
9. Local Transportation
Help guests explore your area by creating a section with tips on how to get around your area. Make sure to provide contact information, schedules and any other specifics that could be useful to visitors, such as:
Taxi & Shuttle Services
Airports and Train Stations
Local Area Maps
This information is particularly useful if your rental is off-the-grid where cell service may not be readily accessible. It also helps to share any tips about getting around your area that only locals would know.
10. Special Extras
To truly impress your guests, why not leave some other tips which will make every guest’s arrival as smooth as possible. You could even use the final section to provide them with practical information about the area where your rental is located.
That means everything they can find nearby like:
Nearest grocery stores
24h Convenience stores
Places of worship
Leaving this information within easy reach of your guests will make for a comfortable and stress-free stay. All of these tips will make traveling a breeze, especially for those arriving at unsociable hours!
How Different is it from an Airbnb Welcome Book?
Long story short, it’s not. You can use the same welcome book template we’ve mentioned above to create your Airbnb welcome book.
You can present this book in different formats (e.g. a binder, scrapbook, etc) just try to keep all of the different sections organized. Include section markers so they can easily find the parts of your Airbnb welcome book faster.
Our Free Vacation Rental Welcome Book PDF
To make things easier for you, we’ve created a free downloadable checklist. So you don’t forget to include everything you need in a vacation rental welcome book to help you to persuade guests to leave you a good review and come back again!
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