by Andrew Jay-Bates
Creating an informative and comprehensive guest information folder for your holiday home is essential.
It ensures your guests have all they need to know about your property and what is available in the area. Having detailed information at your guest’s disposal will ensure they enjoy their stay to the fullest.
While many people can search online for things to see and do, there is nothing quite like a local’s guide with hidden gems and off-the-beaten-track recommendations.
In this article we will highlight what you should include in your guest information folder.
Use our quick links below to navigate the content or read on for the full guide on creating a guest information folder for your holiday home.
We would recommend choosing a sturdy hardback ring binder with either plastic wallets or laminated sheets which can be easily sanitised in between bookings. There are some great, low-cost options out there, but remember to choose something that fits with the look and feel of your property.
Keep the folder in a noticeable place, as it is likely to be the first thing your guests look for. The information should be presented clearly and concisely. Too many pages and it might be a little too much to take in.
Consider using photos and maps to make it easy to understand, particularly when discussing places or walks in the local area. Remember your guests may have never visited this location before. We recommend including links that can be accessed on phones or devices.
Many of your guests will be first-time visitors, so provide them with information that they will need to make the most of their stay.
In your guest information folder, you should include your property’s main facilities. Include the location of stop cocks, fuse boxes, heating, and water controls.
Most appliances are user-friendly but consider leaving user manuals in your guest information folder to help your visitors.
A wood-burning stove or a Rangemaster might be easy to use when you know how. We would advise providing guests with handy troubleshooting advice on how is best to use appliances and ensure safe use.
It is important to include details of who to contact in case of an emergency. We recommend including the contact details and address (with a postcode) for:
You may also wish to consider adding local chemists and opticians. Do provide a contact number for your housekeeper or caretaker, in case guests have any issues.
It is important to have clear details of your property address, postcode, contact number and O.S grid reference. In the event of an emergency your guests will need these to give to the emergency services.
With the team at Helpful Holidays on hand to assist your guests during their stay, you might like to include the office contact details.
If you have a designated parking space, make sure you let your guests know where this is. You may have off-street parking, if this is the case, be sure to inform your guests where to find it.
If your property doesn’t have much parking available, consider mentioning local car parks and the rates. If parking is difficult near your property, you may choose to provide a parking permit for your guests in the nearest car park.
For a variety of reasons, one of the most important things for your guests will be WiFi; whether it is to watch a film or to catch up with emails.
Add details of the WiFi password prominently on the first page of your folder.
It is worthwhile adding information about your recycling and waste collection. Should your collection be on a specific day, make sure to include this in your guest information folder.
Recycling procedures are different in many regions, so consider separate colour bags or boxes for different types of waste. If you are looking for a waste management company, please take a look at our Holiday home waste collection blog.
Whether you have a smart heating system or a wood-burner, it is worth letting guests know how it works. Include details in your guest information folder on how to turn it on and off and set a timer. Don’t forget to specify where the thermostat is situated.
If you have a store for logs / coal, identify where this is located for easy top up. Some owners will choose to just supply a small handful of fuel as a starter. If this is the case, it would be worthwhile recommending where your guests can purchase more.
Hot tubs are a luxury for guests to enjoy but it is important you leave information about how to use them safely.
Consider creating a set of rules for use of the hot tub. Include times of day to use (and not use) as well as items prohibited (glassware, crockery, and sharp objects).
If the hot tub is due to be serviced during your guests’ stay, you must leave them information about who will be servicing the hot tub and when.
Swimming pool details are also important. Make sure your guests are aware of the dangers and any restrictions. Point out lockable barriers and doors, depth markers, life rings etc.
The health and safety of your guests is an owner’s utmost priority. Provide information in your guest information folder about carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors and what guests should do in the event of a fire.
Advise of escape routes and a safe assembly point in a space clear from the building.
A first aid kit would also be a good addition to your holiday home but make sure items comply with current NHS guidelines. Ensure your housekeeper replenishes stock as necessary.
Be sure to include local amenities, restaurants, attractions, walks and off the beaten track things to do. A personal recommendation from the property owner is a nice touch. It helps guests feel valued.
If your property is close to the coast, consider including popular beaches. Outline their main facilities/activities, such as safe bathing, rock pooling and surfing etc.
If your property is in a rural spot, include country walks, places of interest and public gardens in your guest information folder.
Other information to include:
This list isn’t exhaustive, so feel free to include as much information as you like.
Your guests may also wish to use public transport so include directions to the nearest bus stop, along with a link to your local bus company.
You can make the guest information folder as unique as you like, but always keep your guests in mind when deciding what to include.
If you are welcoming dogs to your property, perhaps point out your favourite dog-friendly beaches or walks in the local area. Include times of year for any dog restrictions on beaches to ensure your guests are aware of these. Our dog-friendly pub guide for Devon may also be of use.
Are there any local events or festivals taking place? It would be nice to include a list of annual events in your county so they can plan their stay.
We have a useful template for our owners to use in their properties, get in touch with us today if you’d like us to send you a copy of this.
Arriving at your beautiful holiday cottage to be greeted by a basket of delicious local goods will make your guests feel special. A simple cream tea welcome pack with jam, clotted cream and scones are always well received. But why stop there?
You can tailor your welcome pack to suit all budgets but as a starting point you might want to provide tea, coffee, sugar, milk, fresh bread, butter and preserves. Many local farm shops will be able to offer this kind of service.
You might like to provide some dog-friendly items like a Boneo or a bottle of Pawsecco to make your four-legged guests feel at home.
Leave spare dog blankets and towels for wet feet. We always recommend leaving a supply of dog waste bags to encourage guests to clean up after their dogs. Spare food and water bowls are often appreciated too.
If there are children in the party, consider adding games for all ages and something like a colouring book and colouring pencils.
It is always useful to leave a guest book alongside your guest information folder for any guest comments.
Your guests like to see messages and comments from previous visitors. While some guests like to inform the owner of any issues or recommendations during their stay.
It is crucial this is checked between guests and any suggestions implemented if feasible. Your guests will be able to see you’ve clearly listened to previous requests.
It can be quite daunting and time-consuming to put a guest information folder together, but please be assured we are here to help. We have a template to help you get started, if you’d like us to send you a copy please get in touch.
Your guests will appreciate the effort you have gone to in making them feel as welcome as possible. The main thing to remember is your guests may not know the area so keep the information relevant and concise.
Consider what you would find useful if you were staying at your property, especially if it is the first visit.
For more information about letting your cottage with us, visit our Let Your Cottage page or contact our team on 01647 401799 (select option 2).
If you’d like us to send you a sample of a guest information folder, please get in touch with our team today.
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