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. After a long journey, once they have unpacked and settled in with a cuppa, they will appreciate having as much information as possible about the house and the local area.
While many people can search online for things to do and see, there is nobody who knows your property and what is close by to enjoy better than you!
In this article we will highlight things you may wish to include in your guest information folder.
We would recommend choosing a sturdy hardback ring binder with either plastic wallets or laminated sheets which can be sanitised in between bookings. There are some great, low cost options out there which will do the job nicely 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 in a clear and concise way. 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 in the local area, as your guests may have never visited this location before. Or perhaps include links they can access on their phones or devices.
Many of your guests will be first-time visitors, so provide the information they will need to know to make the most of their stay in your guest information folder. Mention your property’s main facilities in this section.
Include location of stop cocks, fuse boxes, heating and water controls.
As user friendly as most appliances are, consider leaving user manuals in your welcome folder to help your guests.
A wood-burning stove or a Rangemaster might be easy to use when you know how, but to ensure the safe use for your guests, we would advise providing guests with some handy troubleshooting advice and how to best use these appliances.
It is important to include details of who to contact in case of an emergency.
Including the contact details and address with postcode for hospitals (nearest A&E), GP services, police, fire station, dentists, veterinary services (if your property is dog friendly) are just a starting point. You may also wish to consider adding local chemists and opticians to this list.
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 should they have any problems during their stay, you might like to include the office contact details.
If you have a designated parking space, make sure to let your guests know where this is. You may have off-street parking, if this is the case, remember to inform your guests. 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 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 this works, how to turn it on and off or set a timer. Don’t forget to let them know 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 safely operate. Consider creating a set of rules for use of the hot tub; including times of day to use (and not use), items prohibited (glassware, crockery and sharp objects).
If the hot tub is 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 on use. Point out lockable barriers and doors, depth markers, life rings etc.
The health and safety of your guests is a 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 welcome but make sure to check items comply with current guidelines from the NHS – and don’t forget to replenish stock as necessary.
In this section, consider including local amenities, restaurants, attractions, walks and off the beaten track things to do. A personal recommendation from the property owner is a nice touch and will make guests feel valued. It may also help them experience a different holiday to one they might have had if they just followed the most popular things to do on TripAdvisor. If your property is close to the coast, consider including your favourite or the most popular beaches and their main qualities – such as safe bathing, rockpooling, surfing as a starter. Should your property be in a rural spot, maybe add some country walks or public gardens to your folder.
Add information about the nearest grocers, post office, bank, cashpoint, garage, farm shop, newsagent, takeaways. 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 consider including directions to the nearest bus stop along with a link to your local bus company.
You can make the information pack as unique as you like but always have 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 the annual events so they can plan their stay.
We have a really 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 of course, scones always goes down a treat 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. It is always good to leave a supply of dog waste bags to encourage guests to clean up after their dogs. Spare food and water bowls are often appreciated.
If there are children in the party, consider adding games for all ages and something like a colouring book and colouring pencils.
Alongside your guest information folder, it is always useful to leave a guest book for your guests to sign.
It is very nice for future guests to see nice messages from previous guests, while some guests will also let you know of any issues during their stay in the guest book, so 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. 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, considering 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 knowledgeable team on 01647 401799 (select option 2).
If you’d like us to send you a copy of our Information folder template, get in touch with our team today.
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