Even in a more high-end hotel, the accommodation can feel a little more like you’re on a business trip than a “home-away-from-home”, and for that reason, more and more holidaymakers in the UK have turned to staying in holiday homes instead. The unique characteristics and lived-in atmosphere can help create memories in themselves, rather than just being a place to rest your head after a long day of being out-and-about. Besides, eating out for three meals of every day is expensive, and while you may have to pay a little more on the accommodation, cooking food in a place where you’re more than willing to spend time can actually work out cheaper in the long run.
With platforms such as AirBnB, renting out your property as a holiday home has never been simpler, and can make it a great financial investment. The challenge then becomes obtaining repeat customers, collecting positive reviews, and increasing your occupancy rate.
Therefore, the way you welcome your guests is your only real opportunity to make a great first impression. With so much more choice available on the market, chances are your clients have spent a long time researching the available properties before settling on yours. The pictures, descriptions, and reviews you have built will automatically mean they are coming in with high expectations. That initial excitement of walking around after a long journey, to see where you’re going to be spending the next few days is supposed to set you up with feelings of anticipation for a great stay. Anything you can do to help promote that will make your guests want to experience that again in the near future.
Surprise your guests, in a positive way
Unless it’s written in the description, the added touches go a long way. Being offered a glass of bubbly upon arrival, finding a selection of snacks in your room, a fully-stocked fridge, and a pleasant experience with polite, attentive staff, is an excellent way to kick off your stay in one of the high-end hotels we talked about previously. It’s an extra duty of care as they appreciate the journey you might have taken just to get there.
As a holiday home owner, you are perfectly placed to elevate the hotel experience, not only with the more homely feel of your property, but in going the extra mile with your welcome.
More than just the essential food items
The Great British holidaymaker loves nothing more than a cup of tea to help them unwind. Ensuring there is a supply of teabags, coffee, milk, sugar and sweetener is an affordable and much appreciated first step In everything you do, consider your own running costs, and the amount you are charging for the property. If you are renting at £30/night for a one-week stay, spending £100 on the welcome basket probably doesn’t make sense. Besides, your guests will also be somewhat realistic in their own expectations.
It is also learning a little bit about your guests, without being too invasive. Knowing about the number of adults and children, as well as any specific dietary requirements, and roughly when they plan to arrive, should be all you need to tailor a basket that will wow all of your guests.
- If you are marketing to high-end clientele with a price-tag to match then this is probably one occasion where you don’t want your welcome basket to be a surprise. It is something you will want to make part of your listing, as you will be working extra hard to provide value. Prioritize luxury brands, and where possible, champion local produce. Not only does this help support local business, but you can expect the highest level of quality that is often unmatched by a more mass-produced brand. You may be able to negotiate some discount if you have a large number of bookings, and plan to make repeat purchases
- Consider why your guests might be staying to avoid food waste. For example, if you tend to cater to young couples on a city break, they may want to spend as much time as possible experiencing the city, where some grab-and-go snacks and quick breakfast meals may be preferred. In more rural areas, your guests may be out and about during the day but may make their way back to your property as it starts to get dark, meaning they spend much more time in the home than the first example, and may appreciate snacks, herbal teas and hot chocolate more.
- While leaving some surprises is a great thing to do it is worth giving your guests a brief overview of what you will be leaving for them, saving them from buying duplicates of everything beforehand.
- Check where your guests are traveling from and when they expect to arrive so you can plan accordingly. Evening arrivals may appreciate a meal they can knock up quickly, as well as having their first morning of breakfast provided for them. A family arriving at lunchtime however are probably much more willing to stock up on their own groceries. Maybe some fresh bread and local ham and cheese for sandwiches would be be a great way to set off their stay.
- Cater for children & pets as a small bag of sweets can be a Godsend for parents to use as a distraction, just long enough for them to get everything unpacked. Plus, if you allow guests to bring their dogs, a few snacks for their furry friends is always welcome
Does it have to be food and produce items?
Absolutely not! On some occasions, you may get the impression that your guests may use the kitchen barely, if at all. It’s still a great idea to impress them too, it just means being a little more creative.
- Leave a handwritten note to welcome your guests, and provide your contact details. This is a great time to leave a discount voucher for a future stay, if this is a promotion you’re running to garner repeat bookings
- Work with local suppliers to provide free samples and discount vouchers. Even if your guests aren’t crazy about local wine or cheese, they may be much more enticed by a sightseeing tour, event, or experience day.
- Win over the children with a new book or game to keep them entertained. A soft toy for each child will make a lovely greeting for them, especially if they had to leave their favourite cuddly friend behind to make room for all the bags.
- Make a few essentials available such as travel-size toothpaste and shower gel, along with a spare toothbrush. Forgetting to bring something is easy to do, and while a supermarket is never normally very far away, allowing your guests to tide themselves over for the first night is always welcomed. This could also include sleep masks and earplugs, which are a cheap but welcome solution when struggling to sleep somewhere new.
- If you know your guests are celebrating a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, or wedding, you could leave flowers and a card.
With a little bit of thought, you can not only set your guests’ minds at rest the second they walk in the door, but you can also make a lasting impression that will bring them back to stay with you year-on-year.
Put together some useful guest information in a folder, and make sure it is clearly visible for your guests when they first arrive. It can include emergency contact information, details on some great shops and attractions in the area, where to find certain items they may need within the property, guides on how to work the various appliances and maybe most important of all, the WiFi password.
Ensure that your insurance policy is up-t0-date. Renting a property to guests, even for a short period of time, is different to a policy for your own property, or even for a holiday home you use yourself. While we hope your guests will treat your property with the same care they’d show their own, accidents do happen, and it is vital to ensure you have protection in place. By the same token, it’s possible for a tenant to be insured, or for their property to be damaged, for example if a tile comes loose and falls on their vehicle. A correct insurance policy is essential to ensure that any liability you incur as a property owner extends to your paying guests as well.
While they may not be the best people to advise you about what to put in your welcome basket, our experienced advisors are more than capable of assisting you with all of your insurance needs. Give us a call on 0800 612 9376 to discuss!