Ask the experts...Q. We’re letting our cottage for the first time this summer. What information do you recommend we provide for our guests?A. The Helpful Holidays team say: An information folder specifically compiled for your cottage is essential. We recommend an A4 ring binder with laminated pages or plastic sleeves, clearly labelled and left in a prominent place for guests’ arrival, with a welcome note at the front. We provide all Helpful Holidays property owners with a template which is simple to personalise with information for your cottage.However, if you choose to compile your own, the following tips may be helpful. Basic information should be what to do in an emergency, with the cottage address plus postcode and OS map reference for the emergency services, the phone number if the cottage has one and location of the closest public telephone, as well as phone numbers for you and your caretaker and agency if relevant. Addresses and contact details for facilities such as an A&E department, doctors, dentists, chemists, vets, police stations, taxi firms and tourist information centres should also be listed.
Appliance manuals can be incorporated, or you may prefer to file them separately. But you should clarify in the folder the location of the stop cock, gas tap, fuse box, heating and hot water controls, first aid box, torch, spare bulbs, and explain the rubbish collection and fuel supply if you have a fire or woodburner.
Holidaymakers appreciate details of pubs, restaurants, beaches, leisure centres, shops, theatres, cinemas, riding stables, cycle and watersports hire and places to visit, and facilities like banks, post offices and cash machines. Bus and tide timetables, a map of the area, suggested walks and takeaway menus are helpful, and if your cottage has an interesting history then anecdotes and photos are worth sharing.
These are broad suggestions and we're sure you’ll be inspired to add more to suit your area and property, but don’t forget to keep your folder regularly updated.