A vacation rental welcome book is a guest’s complete guide to your vacation rental property. From access instructions and emergency contact numbers, to a walkthrough of the TV remote, it includes everything your guests need to know during their stay.
A guest book also includes your local area recommendations, which you can use to give guests a truly local experience. For example, you could tell them about the secret neighborhood bagel spot, or which streets always have a few free parking bays.
Whether you’re listing on Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, or your own direct booking website, a digital vacation rental welcome book further enhances your property management operations.
A few of its highlights include:
- pre-arrival guest access
- content that updates across multiple properties at once
- an accessible online portal
Read on to find out how to create a guest book for your vacation rental properties.
How a digital guest book helps you to run a more efficient property management business
When guests are on vacation they want to be able to switch off. So, when they have a question, they’re far more likely to ask you than they are to look back through their emails.
When you and your team already have long to-do lists, you don’t want to be fielding repetitive questions at all hours of the day. A digital guidebook takes this task off your hands by:
- reducing the number of questions that guests ask
- providing an efficient tool for answering questions when they do arrive
After inserting all the practical info your guests need into your vacation rental guest book, you can then send it to guests before they arrive (multiple times, if you want, and without annoying them). Guests can access property details well before their stay, and have a resource to return to as questions occur to them.
If guests do get in touch, you can reply with a link to the section in your digital guidebook that covers their query, rather than typing out instructions multiple times. Along with Avantio’s property management tools, Touch Stay’s vacation rental welcome book helps you to focus your team’s energies into a more streamlined property management business.
How a digital welcome book improves your guest experience
The latest data from Transparent and AirDNA shows that the average guest review score decreases from 4.8 for independent accommodation operators, to 4.45 for larger agency operators. That’s understandable, given how much larger agencies have to keep track of.
As your agency grows, a digital vacation home guest book helps you to continue to provide the personal touch that counts for so much in guest reviews. Your guests know that you care about their stay because you’ve created a polished property guidebook for them, with all the practical info they need and your personal local area tips.
Touch Stay digital guest books also allow you to quickly replicate content between properties, meaning you don’t have to spend hours entering the same info in multiple places. In short, a vacation rental guest book saves you time and helps you to welcome happier guests.
How to structure your vacation property guest book
Now that we’ve convinced you that a guidebook is an asset to your property management business, what should you actually write in a vacation house guest book?
To get you started quickly, Touch Stay guidebooks include a guest book template for short term rental properties. They automatically apply their guidebook template, and you can choose to stick with it or customize.
Let’s take a look at our recommended structure for a vacation rental welcome book.
Open your digital guidebook by welcoming guests to your vacation rental
Think of your digital guidebook as a version of you, walking guests through your short term rental property. If you were to take them on a tour yourself, you’d probably begin by welcoming them in.
Tell them how happy you are to have them staying with you, and perhaps introduce yourself and your team.
You could mention:
- the names and roles of anyone they’re likely to be in contact with
- the ethos of your property management agency
- why you love managing vacation properties in this particular area
- why it’s important that they read through the guidebook
Linking to your guidebook from a physical welcome note for your house guests is a great way to heighten the sense of human touch, and make your guestbook even more accessible. You can generate a QR code which guests can scan to be taken straight to your Touch Stay digital guidebook.
Provide crucial property access information
Once you’ve welcomed your guests, they need to know how to reach your short term rental property, and how to get in once they arrive.
So, ensure that you map out:
- what you provide at the property (towels, toiletries, coffee, etc.)
- what guests need to bring with them
- how to reach the property from the train station/airport/ferry terminal
- how guests can access the property once they arrive (e.g. Is there a key box? An electric lock?)
- if someone will be there to greet them
Touch Stay digital guidebooks allow you to pin your property’s location to the Map tab (along with the locations of any local recommendations). Your guests can simply tap on your property to easily access directions via Google Maps.
Introduce guests to your vacation rental property
Now, it’s time to give guests your guide to the property itself. This section will contain all the info that guests need to have a respectful, enjoyable time at your vacation rental.
Clarify your vacation rental rules
If you have any specific boundaries that you want to reinforce, now is the time to do so. Remind guests:
- if they’re allowed to invite visitors to the property
- if they’re allowed to smoke/drink
- the periods of time when they should be mindful of noise levels
- any areas of the house/grounds that are off-limits
- any safety rules surrounding amenities (e.g. the swimming pool, the hot tub)
Clarifying these guidelines ensures your guests’ safety and reduces the likelihood of breakages and insurance costs.
Include appliance instructions
If you can perfect this section, it’ll save you and your team hours of time! Your guests won’t have to ask how to operate the hob/oven/espresso machine because they’ll be able to access your instructions at the tap of an app icon.
If guests do have questions, you’ll be able to answer them immediately by sending a link to the correct section in your guide.
You might want to include instructions for:
- the stovetop
- the oven
- the TV
- any games consoles
- the music system
- the shower
- the coffee machine
- the hot tub
- the heating/air-conditioning system
To understand which appliances and systems would benefit from instructions, try bringing a fresh pair of eyes to your property. Perhaps do a walkthrough with a friend who hasn’t stayed there before.
For any particularly complex appliances, you might also think about filming a short instructional video to include in your digital vacation home guest book.
Use your vacation rental welcome book to treat guests to your expert local recommendations
Your guests haven’t just come to visit your vacation rental property – they’ve come to visit the area too. So, help them to make the most of their stay by highlighting all the exciting things they can discover.
Inspire your guests with details about:
- the best local company for paddleboard/kayak/surfboard hire
- your favorite place to grab a coffee and finish off a book
- the cocktail spot that only the locals know about
- the local grocery store with the freshest fruit and veg
- the cozy, family-friendly restaurant around the corner
Don’t go overboard on your recommendations – this section shouldn’t feel like a Google results page. Give guests a couple of your favorite options for each category of restaurant/shop/activity/cafe so that they know they’re getting your curated list.
When inserting local recommendations into your Touch Stay digital welcome book, you can use their Google Places integration to automatically insert business info. This way, your guests get the personal experience without you having to spend hours researching and typing.
Wave goodbye to your vacation rental guests
In the same way that you’d wave goodbye to a friend staying with you, your digital guestbook should wave goodbye to your guests as they leave. This section can be fairly brief, but it’s working hard for you if it:
- thanks guests for staying with you
- explains details of your check-out process and timings
- requests that they write a review and explain how/where to do so
- directs them towards your social media platforms
These four actions will help you to solidify the relationship you’ve been building with guests since they booked, and further increase the chances of them returning or referring you to friends and family.
You don’t need to have every single one of the details above in your digital guest welcome book before you send it out to your first guests. This info does, however, help you to build a solid foundation for an informative, personable guidebook.
What makes the best vacation rental welcome books so good
These next details are the added extras. You don’t need to include them, but they’ll help your digital guidebook stand out from the crowd.
Explain how guests can support your sustainable initiatives
Touch Stay digital welcome books include a “Making a Difference” section, where they encourage property managers to tell guests about what they’re doing to build a socially responsible business.
You might be:
- donating to a local non-profit
- removing disposable plastic packaging from your properties
- implementing rigorous employment standards to support your employees
- offsetting your carbon footprint
- powering your properties via sustainable energy sources
Whatever it is, tell your guests so that they can get involved. With 83% of travelers viewing sustainable travel as vital, it’s crucial that you communicate the action you’re taking.
If you’re not sure where to start, the Touch Stay welcome book template includes content encouraging guests to offset carbon emissions by donating to their Ecologi forest.
Use photos and videos to illustrate your digital guestbook
Turn your digital guidebook into an experience by illustrating your information with photos and videos. Include photos of the property itself, the surrounding area, and specific amenities/appliances.
Taking advantage of these media will:
- break up the content of your guidebook and make it easier for guests to absorb
- set guest expectations even more clearly
- help guests to get excited about their stay with you
- support your appliance instructions – why not use instructional videos, or diagrams?
- support your guidebook as a potential marketing asset
A Touch Stay digital vacation rental guest book complements Avantio for more efficient property management
Avantio’s vacation rental software helps property management agencies to streamline their processes – Touch Stay is the final link in the chain! And there’s no integration required.
Help your guests to create lasting memories by providing practical info and personal recommendations in a sleek, accessible digital welcome book. They’ll arrive with you feeling prepared and primed for an exceptional stay.
Plus, 86% of Touch Stay customers halve the time they spend managing guests. So you can reclaim time for yourself and your team, whilst still attracting stellar guest reviews.
With Touch Stay digital guestbooks, guests have all the info they need at their fingertips and property managers spend less time producing unwieldy paper manuals. We’ve partnered with Touch Stay to help you streamline your property management business even further.
Welcome calm back into your day with Touch Stay and Avantio as your property management dream team. To find out more, contact us today.