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Benefits of Vacation Rental Guidebook
Having a welcome pack or a vacation rental guidebook ready for your guests is like stationing a concierge at your vacation rental property. Such a guidebook is vital for every short term let owner as it:
- comes with a house manual;
- features all the essentials such a local guide, all the way from the neighborhood to the city;
- stores all of the nitty-gritty details which saves your time and free you from answering never-ending calls and emails for help;
- improves guest experience;
- boosts your review score by increasing your credibility as a superhost;
- promotes your vacation rental by exposing you as a caring, reliable host;
- make future direct bookings more feasible;
- 84% of vacation rentals leave a printed guidebook within the property. Why shouldn’t you? How about preparing a digital guidebook to win the competition?
A vacation rental guidebook includes a list of how-tos for your short term rental as well as the description of the neighbourhood and the many attractions and facilities. This type of welcome pack is a sure way to distinguish you from the rest if it is created with accuracy and creativity. You can get it designed nicely or use existing vacation rental guidebook templates to make one. A vacation rental guidebook should be available online and also printed to hand in to your guests upon their arrival. So, a combination of hardcover and digital works best.
Components of a Vacation Rental Guidebook
A vacation rental guidebook has to include basically everything you might wish to tell your guests or they could ask. When it comes to articulating a welcome pack, make sure to think about following items:
- Who is your target guest?
- Which season are you making a welcome pack for? Are you making it for the whole year or you need to include seasonal attractions?
- What is the scope of your city guide? Are you going to include the must-to-go list of your neighbourhood or all the way to cityscape?
After enough reflection, make sure to include the most appropriate information. Your guidebook should have:
- A Word from the Host
Try to create an intimate atmosphere with a part dedicated to your words as their host. It helps lower the impression of being in a corporate accommodation. You need to make time to build a relationship! This is going to be a long term investment.
- A Part That Explains the Basics
Include the basics like information about how to check-in and check-out, Wi-Fi and how to access the property. Include your full address and directions to your property from the nearest airport and transportation hubs.
- House Manual
Create instructions for using all the facilities and appliances and for doing any probable procedure such as washing and ironing clothes, disposing rubbish, and luggage storing. Illustrate with pictures how to switch off the main water tab, electricity and where to find the shut off valve for gas supply, for example. The list could and should get lengthy if you predict your guests might have difficulty using certain amenities, facilities or appliances.
- Attractions and Facilities
Simplify your guests’ access to different locations in the surrounding areas and the city such as places to eat, bars, tourist attractions, hospitals, supermarkets, shopping centres, pharmacies, ATMs, and car rental recommendations. Don’t forget to add contact details and addresses for emergency resources such as the fire department, the police department, and ambulance center.
Make a list of the events in the city such as links to the most famous music festivals, town hall activities, free walking tours’ contact numbers. It is also beneficial if you could get discount cards from some local shops and attractions and list them in your guidebook.
Why Not Only an Airbnb Guidebook?
Airbnb offers guidebooks which enables hosts to make a list of suggestions about local spots to guests. An Airbnb guidebook may not be the best option when we talk about vacation rental guidebooks. First of all, if you have multiple listings, Airbnb doesn’t allow you to copy guidebooks from one listing to another. In other words, you need a lot of time to make a separate guidebook for each. In addition, Airbnb only allows the primary host to have access to the guidebook. It means that as a co-host you are not allowed to make any changes! Apart from that, as not all cities have an Airbnb city guidebook, yours might have a chance to be your promotional material only if your city has been lucky enough in the Airbnb list of the cities. Even if there is a city guidebook you might not still stand a chance to be featured in Airbnb city guidebooks of your city. It is because Airbnb allows only Three featured recommendations and the link to the hosts’ guidebooks and listings. Although, according to Airbnb, these featured recommendations will change over time, you need to put much effort and compete hard to be included. Airbnb says:
“To determine which recommendations to use, our algorithms look at the most interesting content created around each location, based on informativeness, uniqueness, and representation of the place. We then show the most helpful recommendations which seem to provide the most compelling information for guests.”
This implies the dominance of Airbnb over the control of your business. It also means that you can only use it for Airbnb bookings. In reality you might receive bookings from other channels as well as direct bookings and having a guidebook for all your reservations makes more sense.
How to Make Your Own Vacation Rental Guidebook
There are a few options available to you:
- The most immediate tool to create guidebooks is using platforms like Hostfully and Evolve to share both the link of your digital guidebook and have a printed version, which not only comes with a price for each listing but also needs some tweaks to become neater and more eye-catching.
- The second option would be to get your guidebook designed by a graphic designer and put copies in the house so guests can pick them up upon their arrival.
- But the most cost-effective and practical option is getting your guidebook designed and attached in your automated check-in instructions email and leave a printed version in house. Your guidebook will be sent automatically to guests via an email from your PMS before their arrival.
If you decide to go with the most efficient option, Zeevou has compiled a sample vacation rental guidebook you can use for your vacation rental. To download the free vacation rental guidebook template, click here.