Owner's post: Preparing (and refreshing) your Guest Welcome Folder
We only get one chance to make a first impression. Your guests have arrived, delighted at the tidy presentation of your cottage from the outside. There are ‘oohs’ & ‘aaahs’ of delight as they walk through the front door and decide who is sleeping where & discovering what is in each kitchen cupboard. They then want to settle down to watch the TV, go online or figure out how to use the dishwasher. They turn to the welcome folder as their first point of call - the instruction manual for the new high-tech TV is missing, they can’t find the wifi code and two pages (the ones they need) are missing from the dishwasher manual. Hmmmm…..the warm glow is starting to fade.
Aside from instruction manuals and wifi codes, the welcome folder can offer guests so much more, and help ensure that any and every question they might have during their stay is answered at the flick of a page. It is also a great way to add some personality - your view on the best restaurant in walking distance, the sandiest beach, and the nearest shop. This is an opportunity to sell your cottage, sell the area, build a relationship…..and increase the chances of your guests returning for another stay.
Just look at the welcome folder through their eyes - what would you like to know if you were a guest, or what personal, local bits of knowledge would you like your visitors to know?
So, what to include in your Welcome Pack?
Make life easy for guests
First and foremost, include all the essentials from Wifi codes to instruction manuals. Plastic pockets or an archive box can accommodate all the instruction manuals - from the TV & DVD, dishwasher and washing machine through to the boiler and heating.
So, your guests have had time to unpack, familiarise themselves with the house and are ready to get out & explore. Hmmm...but where’s the nearest shop, or which is the best way to walk to the village?
Here at Menai Holiday Cottages, we don’t just sell holiday cottages, we sell holidays - we promote North Wales as a destination. That’s what your welcome pack needs to do - ‘here are all the bits that make this cottage/village/area great’. From the local bakery and coffee shop to this great little walk and you must visit….
Remember, unless they are regular visitors to the area, your guests won’t be familiar with this information. With the growing popularity of short breaks, in particular, guests need to have as much information presented to them as possible so that they can make the most out of their short amount of time here.
Who are your guests?
Does the information you have in your welcome pack appeal to your visitor’s interests? If you accept pets - include details of pet-friendly pubs & restaurants nearby. If your cottage appeals to young families, what are the closest family-friendly attractions?
The more you understand your visitors and what they want, the better you can tailor the information you provide. By doing so, you are adding value to their experience of your holiday cottage and of North Wales.
Entice them back again….and again
Too much to do in a single visit? Or a stay that was so enjoyable that they have to return? Either way, your welcome pack should give them the information to leave them wanting more, which is exactly what you want.
Your welcome pack can also give guests all the information they need to ensure your cottage runs smoothly throughout the year. From what to do with household waste, recycling and collection days - if you provide the information, guests will know what is expected of them with regards to housekeeping.
Hopefully, it won’t be needed, but details of your local doctor, dentist, A&E department, and optician are always good to have too.
More and more information is delivered online and via video. You may want to signpost your guests to a video you have made - it doesn’t need to be a Steven Spielberg production. It might just be a short video that you upload to YouTube so guests can have a quick walk around the house with you pointing out all the essential bits of info, that they can watch in a couple of minutes without having to read through pages of text? You never know….you might go viral!
As always, we are the end of the phone - any questions - please just ask!