There’s something special about staying in a vacation rental that hotels just can’t match. Owners and property managers can take advantage of this personal connection by providing their guests with unique welcome gifts upon their arrival.
The good news is that it’s not that difficult to provide value in places your competition typically ignores. The most commonly ignored aspect of the renting cycle is the Welcome Experience. It’s the moment when your guest opens the door for the first time and sees your place outside of their computer screen. Don’t let them down!
Simple welcome gifts can get their vacation started on a high note and provide thoughtful and practical gifts to enjoy their stay.
Here are 5 simple ways to impress your guests with a welcome present.
1. A Welcome Basket – ok, this one was kind of obvious, but you’d besurprised how many owners don’t capitalize on making a great first impression. It’s usually the first time your guests have been in your town so provide them with some local insight. Depending on your location and your personality, the welcome basket can be as diverse and dynamic as you are. By simply including a map, some local brochures and a your personal list of some of your favorite local places. Don’t forget to throw in some off-the-beaten path suggestions and a take-out menu for your favorite delivery place if they have a night when they feel like staying in.
Above and Beyond: To be really memorable, provide gifts that are specific to your location. Are you by the beach? Maybe some branded flip-flops for your business or golf balls if they’re their going to play the nearby courses. You can even make arrangements with local businesses to offer location-specific gifts (at a discount for you) that incentivize them to go visit a winery, buy handmade soaps or some fresh flowers.
2. Stock The Fridge – here’s an easy way to make a lasting impression. Stock the fridge with some fresh produce local delicacies, then leave a note on the counter explaining its special appeal. Remember, your guests likely just arrived after a long day of travel. A cold beverage and some light snacks will go a long ways to recharge their energy as they unpack in your place.
Above and Beyond: Provide all the necessary ingredients and an easy-to-follow recipe to create a local cuisine. For example, Boston owners could offer New England Clam Chowder while San Diegans could provide the ingredients for some guacamole and fish tacos.
3. Something Special – great owners take the initiative to learn a bit about their renters prior to arrival. Young/old, married/single, kids/pets, etc. The more you know, the more you can impress. Did the couple just get married? Then a bottle of Champagne and flowers are in order. Is it someone’s birthday or are they celebrating an anniversary? Perhaps a small cake or gift card to a local bakery. Are the kids coming too? Then keep some games, activity books and toys in the closet.
Above and Beyond: Create a Treasure Map for the kids to hunt around your place or surrounding neighborhood. It takes a bit more effort and creativity, but you can re-use it for every family that books your place.
The vacation rental business is bigger and more competitive than ever. Gone are the days when putting up a simple listing on VRBO could keep your place booked. Now you have to go the extra mile to build your brand and impress your guests so they leave a great review, tell their friends about your place and book with you again the next time they’re in town.
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