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Own a Vacation Rental? Tips for Creating the Perfect Welcome Book

Hosts should create a vacation rental welcome book to help inform and welcome guests to the space. Here’s how.

April 13, 2022

If you own a vacation property, Airbnb or VRBO, you surely want to ensure guests have the best experience possible. 

One often overlooked aspect of the guest experience is the welcome book. This document helps welcome guests to the space and provides them with the information they will need for their stay. 

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about creating a welcome book for your vacation rental guests. 

What is a vacation rental welcome book?

A vacation rental guidebook is a physical book or digital document that serves as an information packet and written welcome to your guests. 

A good vacation rental welcome book will include a heartfelt greeting to your guests, along with all the information that the guest may need to have a great stay.

A welcome book is separate from a guest book. Guest books are something that guests can contribute to by signing their names/writing a note. It’s great to have both, but a welcome book should be a priority for hosts.

Why hosts should create a good welcome book

Helping guests navigate the property 

Guests will appreciate information on how to navigate the property, use appliances, find the WIFI password, etc. It will help them have a better experience and helps to mimic the hotel front desk experience that some guests might be familiar with.

Welcoming guests

Hosts should do their best to make guests feel welcome and comfortable in the property. A friendly written greeting can go a long way towards this goal.

Getting better reviews

VRBO and Airbnb hosts rely on positive reviews to boost their listings and get more bookings. If you provide good information, your guests are more likely to have a good experience and leave a positive review. 

Reducing communication 

If you don’t provide much information upfront, you can assume that guests will be contacting you with questions. If you find yourself answering the same questions repeatedly, that’s a good sign that you should improve your welcome book.

Providing local recommendations

For many travelers, one of the biggest benefits of staying in an Airbnb or vacation rental is having access to local recommendations. If you can provide recommendations for activities or restaurants in your welcome book, you can help guests have a better vacation experience. 

How to create a vacation rental guidebook

Creating a good guest welcome book doesn’t need to be hard. Here’s how.

What to include in a welcome book

  • A heartfelt welcome: First and foremost, make your guests feel welcome. Thank them for booking your property and express a heartfelt welcome to them.

  • WIFI, streaming, cable information: Highlight the WIFI password, information on streaming services/cable and troubleshooting tips for any issues. 

  • Check-in/check-out instructions: List times, instructions, key/keycode information, etc. Contact & emergency information: Indicate your preferred method of communication, as well as a separate emergency contact (ideally a local contact nearby).

  • Rules & policies: Outline the rules for the home, as well as your policies relating to extra guests, pets, noise/parties, etc. If the property is in a condominium building, vacation rental community, etc., be sure to explain any rules set out by the community as well. 

  • Amenities: Remind guests of the amenities they have access to, both inside and outside the home.

  • How-to’s: Explain how to use anything on the property that isn’t obvious. This could include appliances, cookware, heating/cooling and any unique features. 

  • Local customs: Explain any local customs or quirks. It’s helpful to assume that your guests may not even be from the same country. What do foreign guests need to know about your area or your home? If you live in the country, what might city-dwellers need to know about country life?

  • Local activities & recommendations: Finally, recommend any activities, restaurants, bars, events, trails, etc. that make your area special. 

Finally, include anything else that is unique to your property or area that you believe may be helpful for the guests. 

If you highlight the most important information first, there’s no harm in having a long guidebook. Just be sure details like WIFI password, contact information and check-in/check-out instructions are covered first. 

Tips & tricks

  • Use a binder: That way, you can take out pages and add new ones when updates are needed.

  • Make both physical and digital welcome books: Younger guests will tend to prefer digital, while older guests prefer a physical guest book. It’s a good idea to supply both.

  • Be friendly: Particularly in the introduction, provide your guests with a warm welcome.

  • Be concise but informative: You don’t need to write a novel but you will want to cover all the relevant information that your guests might need. 

  • Highlight the most important information: Things like contact information, WIFI password, safety instructions, etc. should be front-and-center. You can include other information too, just be sure to highlight the most important topics. 

  • Include frequently asked questions: Pay attention to recurring questions that you get from guests. If guests often have problems with the dishwasher or the heating system, then explain those details in your welcome book.

  • Keep safety in mind: A welcome book should include everything the guest needs to know to remain safe — and keep your home in good condition. Include detailed instructions about any appliances that may be potentially problematic and may be foreign to guests (like a gas stove).

Example outline for a welcome book

Use this Airbnb welcome book template to get an idea for how your welcome book might look. 

Welcome information: A friendly “hello” and welcome section. You can also include summaries of some of the most important information, like your contact info, the WIFI password, key/keycode information, etc.

  • Table of contents: A brief table of contents so guests can quickly find what they are looking for.

  • Check-in and check-out instructions: How guests can check-in and how they can check out (along with times for both).

  • Emergency information: Emergency contact information, local contact, etc.

  • Policies: Details on your rules and the policies of the vacation rental. 

  • How-to instructions: Instructions on how to get on the internet, how to use the television, appliances, thermostat and any other relevant information.

  • Amenities: A list of the amenities and features that the property has (hot tub, swimming pool, guesthouse). 

  • Local guide: A list of restaurants, activities, trails, events and local transportation resources.

Wrapping up

Guest welcome books can help your guests feel more comfortable in your space, and more confident enjoying all the amenities. Follow the tips above to craft a useful vacation rental welcome book. 

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