To run a profitable and sustainable short-term rental business, you need to continuously raise the bar regarding the guest experience you provide. You can do this by making your guests feel welcome, comfortable, and, above all, valued. Taking this into account, successful hosts can attract new and repeat customers while being rewarded with five-star reviews.
However, guest expectations are high. Although you may have an impeccable property, an unbeatable location, and all the amenities guests can dream of, surprising them is a little more difficult. If you don’t have that little “extra”, you risk losing out on reservations to your competitors.
One of the ways you can impress your guests is by providing them with a vacation rental welcome basket upon arrival. A luxury welcome pack can include anything you like, from essentials such as toiletries and coffee to local souvenirs or a bottle of wine, making your guests feel the personal touch immediately.
Don’t see the form to download our Welcome Book Checklist? Click here.
This article will look at the best welcome basket ideas and how you can use them to enhance the guest experience and attract more bookings.
How to use a guest welcome pack to increase your bookings
Firstly, send your guests an email a few days before their stay saying you’re looking forward to their arrival and asking if they have any questions or requests. You can also include information regarding transportation, directions, check-in instructions, vacation rental rules, and activities and events in the area.
This will help to ease any concerns the guests may have beforehand while reassuring them that you’re expecting them. Making a guest comfortable is key to helping them have a relaxing vacation.
The next step – and the focus of this article – is to prepare a guest welcome pack that will leave them open-mouthed. After all, they have chosen your property – so celebrate it! By providing a welcome basket for house guests, you’re ensuring a great first impression, which can lead to positive reviews and recommendations.
So, what goes into a perfect vacation rental welcome pack? It all depends on the time and budget you want to dedicate to it. However, we believe that the recipe for the perfect welcome gift, however small or large, combines both practical and emotional items. That means a mixture of the essentials and a special something that only you know how to find.
A welcome basket will not only impress your current guests but also entice other potential visitors to book your vacation rental home. Guests often rely on reviews when looking to book a vacation rental home. When you take the time to include thoughtful complementary items in your vacation rental welcome package, you will find that your ratings will increase.
Guests feel like you’ve taken a personal interest in their comfort and that you are going the extra mile to make sure they have an enjoyable vacation. They will include these small gestures in their reviews, and other guests will be more likely to book with you.
You should also include the vacation rental welcome basket in the description with photos of your property. Potential guests will see the pampered treatment they could receive if they stay at your property versus your competitors.
Once you have included a welcome package, don’t forget to add it to your amenities list and your photo gallery to get the best results.
What to include in your vacation rental welcome package
The “basics” are the most essential and economical items in your welcome pack. That said, they can still have the surprise factor for guests, as these thoughtful items may really help out in case travelers have forgotten to pack something for their trip!
Short-term guests don’t want to buy a huge bottle of shampoo that they’re only going to use half of, and they will likely appreciate a home-brewed coffee before a long day of sightseeing. Your guests will be very grateful for anything you do that makes their trip easier!
Even though these items are basic, it doesn’t mean you can’t show off with them. You’re sure to triumph with a welcome basket that includes luxury toiletries and bath salts for a long soak at the end of the day.
As for breakfast, guests will jump for joy if you go beyond the traditional coffee capsules and supply fresh pastries from a local bakery!
These days, guests are a lot more hygiene conscious, so to make your guests feel safe and comfortable in your home, consider including items such as complimentary masks, hand sanitizer, and a small package of disinfecting wipes. These items will help your guest relax at the property and while sightseeing.
It’s important to take all the possible precautions to avoid losing your guests’ trust and make your vacation rental a safe place. It will also help you to demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful host who truly looks after their security and safety.
Even the smallest of hotels offer complimentary items for their guests. That means you need to go a step further and tailor the things to your property location, time of year, and the needs of your specific guests. You can adjust what you put in your basket based on who your guests are.
According to your accommodation and/or the time of year
Play with your property’s theme, location, and type of tourism that usually takes place at that time of year. For example, if you are the owner of a cozy rural cabin and a guest books for a few days in winter, offer them something that goes with it – such as hot chocolate or the ingredients to make mulled wine.
If, on the other hand, your property is a beach apartment and your guests are staying the whole month of August, be sure to throw in a couple of sunscreens and inflatable beach balls.
According to the guest
When you communicate with the guest during their reservation request, you may find out the reason for their trip (and if not, you can always ask them!). Maybe it’s a couple celebrating their honeymoon, a group of friends celebrating a birthday or a whole family trip, including small children.
The more personalized the welcome gift, the happier your guests will be. Besides, it will make the welcome pack more valuable and may even change the meaning of their stay in your home.
If your guests are on a romantic trip, try adding touches such as a bottle of wine, champagne, a fresh bouquet of flowers, or sensual bath oils. If they’re celebrating a significant birthday, leave them a few things to set up a fun party, like candles and ingredients to make a cake.
If your guests are families with children, you can add coloring books, toys, and bedtime stories for hours of entertainment. You could even add some kid-friendly snacks to your welcome basket.
So before filling up your welcome pack, think about your arriving guests. Adding a personalized touch to the items in your welcome basket can make all the difference.
A welcome book
Along with a welcome pack, we recommend providing a welcome book that includes everything guests may want to know about the accommodation, the area, transport, places of interest, and restaurants where they can enjoy the local cuisine.
Alternatively, you can create a simple list of your personal recommendations that guests can enjoy in your area. While it may seem like a lot of effort, remember you’ll only have to write it once – then you can reuse it for all your future guests.
Here you can also list things like a few house rules and check-in/check-out times. It might also be a good idea to include phone numbers they might need in case of an emergency on the property and the property’s address.
If nothing else, you should clearly display your WiFi password. After all, it is 2023, and finding information about nearby attractions is often done on our phones rather than reading tourist pamphlets. Make sure the password is printed and easy to find either at the top or bottom of your letter.
If you have created any kind of merchandising with your brand’s logo, the welcome pack is a good place to include it! For example, if you have headed paper with your vacation rental name on it, use it to write your personalized welcome letter.
Writing a letter for your guests is also an excellent way to thank them for choosing to stay with you and encourage them to reach out if they need assistance.
Snacks and drinks
If you’ve ever arrived at a vacation home or hotel late at night after a long day of travel, you know the joy of finding a food welcome pack – and the last thing you’ll want to do is go out looking for supplies – especially if you arrive late and the shops are already closed.
Have a think about what your guests might need on their first night at your rental. They may arrive tired. Solve this potential problem by providing some snacks that they can enjoy on the first night, or at least some they can take in their backpack the next day!
The food you may want to include in your welcome basket might be cheese and crackers, cured meat, chocolate, and sweets. Simple breakfast items may be appreciated, as well. They might include fruit, instant oatmeal, or mini muffins.
What about drinks? A large bottle of water is key, even if the tap water is drinkable at your property. As mentioned earlier, you may also want to include a bottle of wine for a couple celebrating a special occasion, bottled water, coffee, hot cocoa, or an assortment of teas. Spices and oils will surely be appreciated if your property has a kitchen.
Remember that if you include any edible items, ask your guests if they have any food restrictions or allergies.
Local products and souvenirs
Some of the best welcome basket ideas for house guests include leaving locally crafted items, whether it’s souvenirs or snacks. Doing so will add a unique touch to your guest welcome pack. Your guest will be able to sample things that local businesses sell, even taking them home as souvenirs, which will, in turn, boost local businesses.
Now they have sampled that locally-sourced honey or handmade soap, they will want to take it home to share with their loved ones.
You can add artisan chocolate or a cheese board made of cheeses and jams from the area. But not everything has to be edible! You can also include handmade soaps, candles, or little ornaments they can take back home.
You can even think about partnering with local businesses to provide these items as part of your welcome pack!
How you display your basket can be just as important as what you put in it. Don’t just stick it all in a Tupperware box. You will want to choose a basket or container that fits the ambiance of your rental home.
A woven basket is always a homey way to present gifts to your guests, or you may opt for something that goes better with the décor. Perhaps a wooden box or crate goes well with your farmhouse feel. Or you might look for something more modern, such as a wire basket or a decorated tin.
Whatever style you go with, make sure that all your items fit nicely inside them. They should neither be stuffed and overflowing nor be so empty that items are falling over.
Placement of your vacation rental welcome package is also essential. It usually makes the most sense to put it on the kitchen counter, table, or another surface that makes the package immediately noticeable.
To create a memorable experience, you can also talk with local restaurants to give your guests special discounts or vouchers to enjoy local delicacies. This may be the most expensive item in your welcome pack, but no amount of money can beat the positive effect it will have on your guests.
You can also obtain discounts for your guests to enjoy wine, beer or cheese tastings. You can even try to reach an agreement with business owners, such as money off local amusement parks or sporting activities.
Ready to get started?
Remember that every vacation rental home is unique, and the best welcome basket ideas reflect the guests’ needs, the property’s ambiance, and the owner’s hospitality. Use this to market your vacation rental and stand out from the competition.
It’s usually the attention to detail and the little gestures that your guests will remember, so it’s important never to underestimate their significance, as they could be the difference between a one-time guest and a returning guest.
Keeping this in mind will help you choose the right details to include in your welcome pack and make your guests feel comfortable and at home. Let the positive reviews come flying in!
Don’t see the form to download our Welcome Book Checklist? Click here.