Dakota Murphey has experience in property management with her portfolio of properties expanding in the South of England. Her passion for renovation and home improvement projects is shared through her writing to help educate and inspire others.
The modern holidaymaker has high expectations, whatever level of accommodation they’ve chosen to book. It’s the little things that make a stay truly memorable. Fresh flowers and exotic fruit bowl, artisan choccies and champagne on ice, luxe designer bath and body products – nothing seems to be too much trouble for the best hotels’ esteemed guests.
As a landlord, you may not be in quite the same league as The Ritz, but you should certainly take as much trouble when it comes to making your guests feel welcome. First impressions are what counts, so what can you do to show that you’re going above and beyond?
A welcome basket is an obvious answer. It’s the personal touch that creates an instant bond between your guest and the room, flat or cottage they’ve only ever seen online. Especially if the accommodation is offered on a self-catering basis, and you’re not around to meet and greet, a complimentary welcome offering can work wonders.
A welcome basket can contain anything you like – it’s entirely your choice what you put in and you can tailor the contents to whatever you think is appropriate. Just make sure you’re guided by what you think your target market would most appreciate, and then go the extra mile. Here some ideas that might work for your holiday rental.
A food hamper to welcome your guests
Chances are that your guests have travelled some distance and may be tired, hungry and stressed when they arrive. What could be nicer than to be greeted by a thoughtfully put together hamper, with a handwritten welcome note to wish them a happy holiday?
Remember who your guests are and target your offering to meet their specific needs. Couples and honeymooners will love to find a bottle of Prosecco chilling in the fridge, while stressed parents are best pacified with a nice bottle of wine, some entertainment to keep the kids occupied, and a box of chocolates for all to share.
For self-catering accommodation, it’s nice for your guests to discover that the cupboard isn’t entirely empty. How about pre-stocking with some essentials – tea/coffee, milk, bread, eggs, butter, cheese – so nobody has to rush out in search of food when they’re tired after a long journey.
A clever marketing trick is to customise what’s in the hamper to reflect the level of accommodation provided. If you can promote the local food and drinks industry at the same time, even better. From award-winning Sussex sparkling wine to Scottish smoked salmon, Lincolnshire plum bread to Devon clotted cream, your guests will love to sample the local fare. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a hand-picked bouquet of flowers and a home baked cake.
A guest information pack with local intel
Whether your holiday rental is located in the middle of town or in the remote countryside, your guests are likely to be strangers in the area and will be curious to explore all the best things to see and do while they’re on holiday. In an ideal world, you would be welcoming them in person and recommend the best pubs, best beaches, best days out with kids, best museums etc for them to visit.
But since you can’t be there in person, the next best thing you can do is to provide inspiration and assistance to make the most of their visit to the area. Leave out plenty of local information that your visitors can use as a guide. Collect leaflets and brochures of local businesses.
Make a list of your own personal recommendations of favourite places to go for drinks and dinner, the most interesting local attractions, great shopping opportunities, must-see landmarks, art exhibitions and cinema/theatre programmes, stuff to do with kids, and anything else you can think of that might interest your target market. Or, better yet, experiment with a digital guidebook to dramatically improve the guest experience.
Finally, leave contact details of local supermarkets and farm shops, plus online shopping and home delivery services so that your guests are fully catered. Other practical information should include detailed local maps, and medical and emergency facilities because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Essential non-foodstuffs, and a few extras
Is there anything else can you do to make your visitors’ stay more comfortable? Absolutely – you can help turn an impersonal holiday rental into a cosy home from home by providing carefully selected non-perishable items and a few well-chosen treats for good measure.
Washing up liquid and a ready supply of bin bags? Scented bubble bath and extra fluffy bath towels? A complimentary basket of logs for the woodburning stove and a varied selection of books to read in front of it? You get the idea.
For your visitors’ convenience (and to stop them having to phone or email you), have a ‘home folder’ available that explains anything and everything your visitors might need to know about the property. What’s the WiFi password? How does the TV remote work? Where is the central heating programmer? When does the rubbish get collected and what are the rules for recycling?
Also include any house rules that your guest should observe – no dogs upstairs, shoes off indoors, parking restrictions etc. – plus a local emergency contact in case of problems. It’s your attention to all those tiny little details that can make the difference between a ‘meh’ and a ‘wow’ holiday.