Receiving panicked phone calls from your guests in the middle of the night is probably a reality most hosts have had to deal with. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate potential problems that can help make your life a lot less stressful!
A welcome book can be used as an informative and essential amenity for your future guests. It's a way to give guests an overview of your property and what it has to offer before they even arrive. Using a welcome book is also a nice way to let your guests know you appreciate their business.
Here's why you need a welcome book:
Provide excellent customer service
Sharing your home with others is an intimate experience. That's why at the core of that experience – your guests need to feel at home. If you've been hosting on Airbnb for a while, you may already have an idea of common problems that arise for your visitors. It's good to anticipate potential issues so you can address those FAQ’S in your welcome book. This above-and-beyond customer service is key to making your guests feel looked after and, ultimately, receiving more positive reviews.
Give your guests a more personalized and local experience
A personal, local experience is why many tourists choose to rent your home. They want to experience destinations the same as locals. A lot of guests will probably ask about things to do, local tourist attractions , and places to eat or drink. This document can include all your recommendations
Streamline your check in process
Most guests all have the same questions when checking into a new place. As a host, these repetitive questions can be detrimental to your productivity and take your focus away from more important tasks like marketing and growing your occupancy rates. It's important to provide comprehensive instructions for common questions such as how to get in, where to find keys, where to park, and check in times. Alleviate headaches by anticipating your guests questions!
Receive more 5-star reviews
Great reviews are at the core of a successful Airbnb listing. The more positive reviews, the more likely you'll receive repeat business and expand your earning potential. Going that extra mile for your guests won't go unnoticed.
At the core of that experience – your guests need to feel at home.
What to include in your home rental welcome book:
1. Welcome guests to your property: Use the first page to introduce your home. This can be used as a brief overview to what your home offers in terms of amenities, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.
2. About you: Your about page is an opportunity to introduce yourself. It'll give guests peace of mind that you're both trustworthy and reliable. Guests love that extra special personal touch (that personalized touch is exactly why travellers opt to stay in an Airbnb vs a hotel) with their stay and helps you stand out from your competition.
3. Contact information: Include the best form of communication between you and your guests. Most often it's an email address or phone number. It's also a good idea to set expectations around when you are available.
4. Emergency information: Hopefully your guests will never need to use any emergency services, but it's crucial to prepare for a variety of situations. It is good to note that 911 should be used for any emergency (it can differ for some countries). Also, provide the address and directions to police/fire departments and hospitals closest to your property.
5. Vet: If you allow pets at your property, it's a nice idea to include the closest animal hospital or veterinary and their hours in case of canine emergency.
6. House rules: Do you have any pet policies? Don't allow parties or events? Cleaning fee? Even though this information is probably also on your online listing, Explicitly stating these in your document so guests are not surprised when a cleaning fee is slapped onto their final price at the end of a vacation.
7. Special instructions: Do you have any appliances or amenities in your house that require extra or special directions to operate? For example, thermostats, garbage disposal, hot tub/pool, laundry, fireplaces, or turning on the BBQ, can all be tricky for new users to understand.
8. Wifi information: WiFi is something most guests expect during their stay. Make sure to make note of the network and password for guest use.
Most guests will want to get an idea of how to check in before they arrive. And it's almost a guarantee that all guests will ask similar questions every time. Checking in is probably one of the most uncertain parts of your guests stay because the check in process can differ greatly from property to property. Clarifying the check in procedure beforehand can help reduce a lot of anxiety for travellers, and redundant questions for you.
1. How to get there: Include directions from the airport, popular public transit routes, or by car. Instructions for what guests need to do upon arrival and how they can access the property.
2. Parking: is there parking? If not, is there parking nearby? Having your property as accessible as possible makes it easier for your guests to figure out where they can park or store their car.
3. Security: If you have any additional locks or security systems, make sure to either disarm them so you're guests can enter freely or be sure to include instructions on how to disarm them.
4. Check in time: If you only allow check in during certain hours of the day, let guests know so they can alter their travel plans if necessary. If you have an area were guests can check their luggage while they wait for check in, include that in your welcome book as well.
Set expectations for your guests around when and what they need to do before they leave the premises. Sometimes a lack of your guests leaving the place up to your standards is due to a lack of communication before they leave.
Your personal recommendations
The real reason most people choose Airbnb over hotels is that personal experience. They want to live like a local and experience what your area has to offer in terms of history, culture, food, and entertainment.
1. Food and drink: Must-eat and drink options nearby. It helps reduce the chances of your guests taking a gamble on a restaurant that could be a disappointment. The amenities near your property also factor into a guests overall stay, so it's important to showcase and recommended only the best. If your city offers it, providing vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options are also appreciated by guests.
2. Transportation: Getting around! Give tips for guests on how to use the local public transportation and how to obtain transit passes. If guests are travelling farther distances for day trips, or your city isn't public transit friendly, recommend car rental companies or alternate transportation options.
Cabs are notorious for gouging tourists. If you can offer alternative methods of transportation, guests will appreciate the added savings. If you have Uber or Lyft in you city, offering your guests a credit code can be a nice touch.
Think of your welcome book as a working document. If you're missing information, repetitive guest questions will help surface anything you missed pretty quickly. It's a good idea to email your welcome kit to your guests because some guests will not read a physical version. It's good to have both options.