As a vacation rental owner (and given the recent growth of theindustry), you really have to stand out amongst your competition to ensure bookings. The bar has been raised and guest expectations are high, which makes surprising them that bit more difficult.
You may have an impeccable property, an unbeatable location and all theamenities travelers can dream of. But if you don’t have that little “extra” that comes as a surprise, you risk losing out on reservations. Worse yet, they’ll book with your competitors.
The success of your vacation rental is in the details. They are what makes one vacation rental stand out from the rest. Otherwise, aren’t all vacation rentals virtually just four walls and a bed? Do you know what else has four walls and a bed? Every single budget motel. So, how can you make your vacation rental house a home for your guests? What can you do to stand out above the competition, get those bookings, and get repeated business for guests? The answer is going one step further.
First off, send your guests an email a few days before their stay which contains information regarding transportation, check-in, accommodation and the area. The next step – and the focus of this article – is to prepare a welcome pack that will leave guests open-mouthed. After all, they have chosen your property and not any other – so, celebrate it! You will also need to focus on detailed cleaning, the details in the décor, and the business details. It is just as important to focus on the details of hosting. Making a guest comfortable is key to helping them have a relaxing vacation.
By providing your guests with an interesting welcome pack, not only are you offering an extra that they will love, but you are also ensuring a great first impression which can lead to very positive reviews and recommendations.
So, what goes into a perfect vacation rental welcome pack? It all depends on the time and budget that you want to dedicate to it, of course. 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, along with a special something that only you know how to find.
Let’s take a look at the best items you can include in your next vacation rental welcome pack!
How to Use Guest Welcome Packs to Improve Your Bookings
A welcome basket will not only impress your current guests, but it will also entice other potential visitors to book your vacation rental home. When travelers are looking to book a vacation rental home, they often rely mostly on other travelers’ reviews. When you take the time to include small, complementary items in your vacation rental welcome package, you will find that your ratings will go up.
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 and photos of your property. Potential guests will see the pampered treatment they could receive if they stay at your property versus your competitors. So once you have included a welcome package, don’t forget to add it to the list of amenities you offer and include it in your photo gallery to get the best results.
What Will You Include in Your Vacation Rental Welcome Package?
The “basics” are the most essential and economical items you’ll include in your welcome pack. That said, they can still have the surprise factor for guests, as thesethoughtful items may really help out in case travelers have forgotten to pack something for their trip!
Short-stay travelers 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 which 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 a relaxing shower gel, soothing cream for tired legs and bath salts for a long soak at the end of the day. As for breakfast, if you go beyond the traditional coffee capsules and also supply fresh pastries from a local bakery, guests will jump for joy!
Traveling after Covid-19 will never be the same. So to make your guests feel safe and comfortable in your home, consider including items such as complimentary masks, hand sanitizers, and a small package of disinfecting wipes. Having these items on hand will help your guest relax at the property and while sightseeing.
It’s important to take all the possible precautions in order not to lose 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 dingiest of hotels offer small 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.
Personalized according to your accommodation and/or the time of year
Play with your property’s theme, its location and the 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 will stay for the whole month of August, be sure to throw in a couple of sunscreens and inflatable beach balls.
Personalized according to the guest
When you communicate with the guest during their reservation request, you may end up finding out the reason for their trip (and if not, you can always ask them!). Maybe it’s acouple celebrating their honeymoon, agroup of friends celebrating a birthday or wholefamily trip, including small children. The more personalized the welcome gift, the happier your guests will be. Besides, it will make the welcome pack more useful, 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 or champagne, a fresh bouquet of flowers or sensual bath oils. If they’re celebrating an important birthday, leave them a few things to set up a fun party, as well as candles and ingredients to make a cake. If your guests are families with children, you can add coloring books, toys, bedtime stories for hours of entertainment, or 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 awelcome 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 also 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 post your WIFI password. After all, it is 2020, and finding information about nearby attractions is often done on our phones rather than reading tourist pamphlets. Make sure that 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’slogo, 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 personalizedwelcome letter. Writing a letter for the guests is also an excellent way for you to thank your guest for choosing to stay with you and encourage them to reach out if they need any 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, if they do not enjoy on the first night, 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, and 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.
If your property includes a kitchen, spices and oils might be appreciated by the guest to include in their culinary experience during the stay.
A Note On Local Items
Make a conscious effort to include locally crafted items in your welcome basket. 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. It will, in turn, boost the profit of those businesses. Now they have sampled that local honey, handmade soap, authentic spice unique to your region, they will want to take it home to share with their loved ones.
You can add artisan chocolate or a typical cheese from the area. Honey, jam or traditional pasta – let guests savor delicious, local cuisine and pastries. But not everything has to be edible! You can also include handmade soaps, candles or similar things to enjoy once they are back at home.
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 the 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 that has a bit more of a modern industrial feel such as a wire basket or container made of tin or copper.
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 items are falling over and being sloshed around.
Placement of your vacation rental welcome package is also essential. It usually makes the most sense to put in 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 provide your guests with 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 welcome package or basket should reflect the guest’s needs, the ambiance of the property, and the hospitality of the owner.
Bear in mind that if you include any edible items, be sure to ask your guests if they have any food restrictions or allergies. Taking into account these things 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!
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