Whenever vacationers come to stay at your rental home, one of the first things they look for is information. Even local visitors will need information about the house or condo or apartment and everything should be in one easy to find place. Most renters use a binder or notebook where rules and regulations are easily found. The rental binder should be in plain sight when the guests arrive. The kitchen countertop is an excellent place to leave your welcome binder!
What to Include in a Guest Welcome Binder
If you have customized a binder or notebook, like the ones I sell in my Seashells by Millhill store, the name and address of the dwelling may be printed right on the front. It is important for visitors to know the address in case of an emergency and they shouldn’t have to hunt for it. The same goes for emergencies that could happen while they stay at your place. Even the nicest spots can have a water leak or malfunction. Leaving as much information as possible to make it easy for guests to address these problems will be appreciated.
Leave contact numbers for the local property manager, if you, the owner, are not local. If there is no manager, then you as the owner should be the one to take care of the issue, day or night. These days everyone has a cell phone so contacting a property owner or manager should be very simple.
Definitely make your name and contact information the top priority, and / or that of your property manager.
A welcome letter is nice to include which wishes guests a pleasant stay. Rules can be part of this letter without it sounding too bossy, or list rules on a separate sheet of paper. The welcome letter is better off used to tell guests about some of the best aspects of the house and / or the location. Some favorite local spots and restaurants could be listed, or the best times of day to head to the community pool.
This may seem old school, but a map of the area showing grocery stores, restaurants, and beach rental equipment would be nice. Remember that every guest may not use Google Maps! At the very least, a list of local places the guests will probably need to visit is necessary.
Where I live, drive on beaches exist and information about cost, times of access, or alternative parking and walk on information would be good to include for anyone visiting. Any condo rental that is not situated right on the beach will mean that guests have to either walk or drive to the beach. Don’t make guests figure this type of thing out for themselves. They will appreciate knowing what the locals know.
Vacationers May Like to Support Local Businesses
Assume that your guests know nothing about the area. List local events, that you yourself may like, where visitors will feel like they are part of the community, or are supporting locals. Touristy shops won’t be so hard to find, but information about local happenings, such as a Farmer’s Market might be appreciated.
Think Like a Visitor
You may never hit all the marks, but trying to think like a clueless visitor might help. The basics should be covered, like closest grocery store, hospital or medical emergency center, gas stations, and liquor stores (haha). You will probably add onto your list as time goes on and visitors give helpful feedback.
Your renters may come in all ages, so don’t assume that everyone will be tech savvy. When I am faced with three controllers to work the TV I begin to stress out! Leaving concise directions to anything that may pose a problem will be greatly appreciated. Try to think outside the box to the extent that nothing will be questioned.
Typical Needs and Sights to See
- Where will I find food? Either groceries or take out options need to be addressed. A list of local favorite eateries, coffee shops, bakeries, and fresh seafood, etc., would be helpful.
- I’m staying near the ocean so how do I get the most out of that? List access points, whether by car or foot and give times when lifeguards are on duty, if they are. A tide chart or app suggestion might help too.
- What is there to see that I should not miss? Every guest will have different interests, so cover all the local basics. For instance, near my location is the Daytona Speedway, so obviously I would list it as a place to visit. But by listing less obvious, but just as interesting, places to visit give guests a good idea of what is available. For instance, there is a lighthouse nearby to climb, and a park with a walking trail. They will appreciate your effort even if they plan to stay at the rental all throughout the vacation!
- What can I do on the water? This post is written with oceanside rentals in mind, so wouldn’t your guests like to know about water excursions? Be sure to mention boat rentals, tours, fishing charters, or walking trails that wind around the water. If your rental allows dogs, list any dog parks nearby.
The Logify site has a page with lots of information about creating a “Perfect Vacation Rental Binder” and they offer a checklist to download. Your knowledge of your rental and area will be different from others, so write up your welcome book according to what you know.
Would You Want to Provide a Guest Review Notebook?
Once, I stayed at a rental on a lake in New Hampshire where a guest review book was left out. I could flip back and read what previous guests had to say about their experience at the property. It was fun to read and mostly positive as I recall. I did write a small blurb and mentioned that the outdoor grill could be updated, which I hope the owners took to heart. The place was very expensive to rent and they really did need to buy a new grill for those of us who enjoy cooking outdoors.
Guests can offer new insights to the area which may help future visitors.
So a guest review book could be a good thing to leave in your rental. It needs to be checked after each stay just in case a visitor rants on about something that you don’t want other guests to read. Personally, I liked the confidence shown by the owners to let anyone have a say about their visit.