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Guest welcome packs as part of guest experience

The vacation rental industry is in a period of fast evolution and growth. Part of that evolution means creating greater demand for vacation rent properties by providing a better service and product than the increasing competition. One aspect of that improved service, is the provision of guest welcome packs. This article explains what the guest welcome packs are, and looks at ideas: what essentials and extras you can put into yours.

In our recent analysis of guest reviews, we found that there is an increasing expectation by guests for guest welcome packs in vacation rental properties. And this expectation often fails to be met, leading to the feeling that property agencies dread: customer dissatisfaction. There is no industry standard, making this a hot topic in many vacation rental forums and blogs, as property managers and agencies discuss and debate the value of these packs and what to include.

The Avantio guide to guest welcome packs

Welcome packs can add value to your customer relationship, improve your customer reviews, and enhance your customers’ vacation experiences. This article is by no means conclusive, and what you include will depend greatly on the type of guest you receive at your property, but we hope to give you some welcome pack ideas and inspiration.

So what are guest welcome packs?

In broad terms it is what you provide to your guests when they arrive at the vacation rental property. The requirements of what to put in these guest welcome packs are changing. In the past it was enough to leave some emergency telephone numbers in case of fire. But this has all changed due to increasing needs and expectations of the guests and owners, complexities of the properties and the development of the SMART technology, technical and vacation rental markets. Basic essentials might include check-out times, washing machine instructions and codes for the safe but the guest welcome packs also provide the ‘added value’ items which can change the guest experience from merely good to excellent.

The essential information, and the complementary info that will give you an edge

  • Instructions for machinery eg, washing machine, dishwasher or air conditioning, wifi information
  • Help guidelines in case of a problem, such as being locked out, or in case of a fire.
  • Maps of the local area.
  • Walks through the local area with useful points of interest, recommended cafes or restaurants.
  • Public transport information, maps, nearest underground or bus stop, taxi numbers and trains with prices, and information on the easiest way to travel.
  • Rules of the accommodation eg, smoking zones, noise levels, locking windows.
  • Local laws, eg drinking or smoking in the streets.
  • Emergency information such as hospitals and dentists.
  • Contact information for any problems with the property, eg a property manager or the owner.
  • Special events or festivals on during the year.

This information can be provided in paper format or using a digital alternative which offers the information online via a mobile phone app or a cloud-based solution. We have heard good things about Touchstay. We will discuss the merits of these digital solutions in another blog article at a later point.

The essential physical items, and the relationship builders

There is now a need, demand and expectation for food and drink to be included as part of the guest welcome packs. The welcome pack contents can range from the perceived ‘essentials’ to added value items. We have detailed some below, what you put in yours has potential as large as your imagination.

  1. Essential items for the first night. This is ideal for guests who arrive and need a drink before visiting the local shops or arrive late after the shops have closed. Items could include coffee, mixed types of tea, sugar, milk and some snacks like biscuits or seasonal fruit.
  2. And finally there are as many little gifts which can turn the experience of a guest. We have listed some ideas below, but the list is exhaustive. What is important is to consider the profile of your guests, and what can be sourced at a reasonable cost to your business:
  • Postcards of the local area with your company logo
  • A bottle of locally sourced wine
  • Colouring books with a pack of crayons for children
  • Bookmarks designed by a local artist
  • Locally made soaps or other toiletries
  • Champagne and flowers for a romantic couple
  • A hamper of locally sourced products such as local bread, jam and coffee for families and couples
  • A goodie box of homemade biscuits and flowers from the garden for families and couples

If you have any other ideas for content for a customer welcome pack, please let us know, and we will add it to our list to share.