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Hints on Creating the Best Welcome Book for Your Vacation Rental

If you own a vacation rental in Orlando – either owner-rented or managed by a vacation rental property management company – then you must be familiar with the welcome book. If not, the welcome book is one of the most important must-have amenities in your vacation rental. It should be part of your service toolkit! Think welcome book. Think reviews! While a welcome book is not the only route to great reviews, it sure is an essential catalyst to those unsolicited reviews. If you can deliver the basics through your welcome book, then your guests are more likely to review your home before you even ask. A welcome book will steer you on…How do you present yourself to a potential client? Are you able to create some personal touch even in your absence? Can you wow your guests with an all-round experience? So, let’s dive in and take a look at what makes an awesome welcome book. APPEARANCE: MAKE YOUR WELCOME BOOK SPECTACULAR First and foremost, a nice vacation rental welcome book should look pristine and neat. No one wants to read a dog-eared, rusty welcome book. Essentially, your welcome book should be highly attractive with a striking graphical representation of the vacation home on the front. No one can ignore such! The aim is to get your clients take interest in your vacation home welcome book. One of the best ways is to create a beautiful hardback glossy welcome book. Some of the tips to blow up its appearance include: • Consider using a 3-ring binder. This will allow you to add or remove pages easily. • Use sheet protectors. Using laminated sheets and sheet protectors will keep the pages looking good throughout the busy summer season. • Hire a professional graphics designer to nicely spruce up your guest welcome book. • Include a detailed table of contents. This will cluster your information giving your welcome book that neatly organized look. • Colorful Tab Dividers: Combined with an intuitive table of contents, tab dividers also help in organization. They make page flipping easy and quick and prevent ripped and bent pages. PROVIDE YOUR GUESTS WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH AND INFORMATION THAT SETS YOU APART In a highly competitive rental property such as Orlando, vacation rental owners must continually reinvent and take measures that may lead to long-term guest satisfaction. A welcome book is a nice starting point. Your guests don’t want to waste their precious vacation time fumbling with electronics, looking for phone numbers, figuring out when and where to drop the trash, or searching for convenience stores, local restaurants, and attractions. No! An informative welcome book should save your guests time, your vacation rental management time, and spare you the headache of having to answer a million and one questions on phone. You, obviously, want to give your guests an excellent overall experience in your city and neighborhood. A comprehensive welcome book will work the magic. Some of the items to include in your welcome book include: i. Personalized Welcome Essentials A great guest's welcome book should scream welcome in all ways. It’s your opportunity to, well, welcome your guests. Your vacation rental management company can draft custom welcome letters to each guest. You can also use nicely designed welcome cards to briefly explain why you love your Orlando vacation home and encourage your guests to enjoy the good life in Orlando. A personalized welcome note should make your visitors feel at home and put them at ease. If you have any special tickets or passes for your renters, then this is the section to place them. This will show that you value your renters’ experience. ii. Create a Vibrant About-the-Property walkthrough All vacation rental properties are different. You want to guide your guests on the basic house rules here. Use this section to communicate any procedures, policies, and instructions such as: • Conduct during their stay • Parking Instructions • Pool rules • Hot tub instruction and maintenance logs • Pet policies • Check in and check out time • Rubbish collection schedules and recycling locations • What to do if there is a breakage. • Your community and vacation rental etiquette – noise issues, use of campfires, property guidelines, among others This section also allows the vacation home owner or the vacation management company to highlight their social media handles (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and google+). You can also give your guests some of the #Orlandoexperience hashtags they can use on social media. This will ultimately increase your social media activity, attract new bookings and rave up your rating and reviews. iii. Provide Vital information If you can create the best welcome book for your Orlando vacation rental, then your guests will have an easy way around your vacation rental and your neighborhood. It will help new renters get acclimated to the new city. An informative welcome book makes renters feel like they have a vacation property owner who genuinely cares. Summarize your most important information in this section. This can include: • Power outage information, • Local contact numbers: The Fire department, police department, and nearest medical clinic or hospital number. • Key management and door locking codes acquisition, • Wi-Fi passwords, • How to operate the: BBQ, dishwasher, Alarm system, HVAC system, hot tub, washer/ dryer, Entertainment systems (TV/DVD/TVR system). • Location of First Aid Kit • Location of fire safety equipment in your Orlando vacation property • Emergency escape routes iv. Helpful Recommendations – Drive Traffic to Other Businesses Everyone loves a good recommendation from a local. As a vacation rental owner or property management company in Orlando, you can take on the concierge role to make your guest’s stay worthwhile. Impress your renters and increase repeat bookings, with little effort on your part! Try to suggest appealing activities and spots that will appeal to your different clients. Suggestions on romantic places for a dinner out or family-friendly activities within Orlando can help your guests feel catered for. They are even more likely to go out of their planned Disney World itinerary to visit your recommendations. And you’ll also be leading traffic to local businesses. Sharing is caring! Include a calendar of events and popular local experiences. Here are some ideas: • Nearby Grocery stores • Shopping recommendations • List of your favorite restaurants and recommendations on the menu • Easy seafood recipes • List of activities and your favorite local attractions that guests shouldn’t miss • Best family entertainment spots • Best nightlife joints • Hiking trails • Liquor stores • The best place to watch the sunset in Orlando • Your favorite beach spots • Best local fishing spots v. Information on How to Get Around in Orlando This section should help you or your vacation rental management company to communicate to your guests on how they can get around in Orlando – by providing them with local transportation information in your welcome book. Provide them with contact information, directions, schedules and approximate travel times to popular destinations in Orlando. While you don’t have to include all these options, you sure can’t go wrong with giving them as many options as possible. Here are some of the transportation options to include: • Shuttle services • Bus routes • Airports and train stations • Area maps • Car rentals STAND OUT: - INCLUDE SPECTACULAR PHOTOGRAPHY If you want to ace the competitive Orlando vacation property market, be sure to customize your welcome book to best fit the needs of your target clientele. You can ask your vacation rental management company on what to include and what not to. Remember, a brilliantly prepared welcome book will set you apart and possibly lead to increased repeat bookings and referrals. Once you have all information covered, it’s now time to wow your guests with spectacular photography. You can approach local vacationing destinations for photographs to showcase to your guests what they expect to experience in Orlando. You could also ask a local photographer to capture beautiful landscapes, and picturesque waterfronts, and other spots that you love. Brilliant photos will encourage your renters to step out and see the best that Orlando has to offer. GO DIGITAL! This is perhaps the most important point of differentiation when it comes to welcome books. You want your welcome book to align to the chic feeling of your Orlando rental property. If your vacation home is elegant, regal, and modern, you would want your welcome book to have that same contemporary feel. Have you considered having a digital welcome book? One that can be easily read on an iPad and is easily shareable? Well, you can get your digital welcome book for your Orlando vacation home by using online design (and print) websites such as: • Shutterfly.com • Touchstay.com • Blurp.com • PrintNinja • Snapfish But that is only one way of taking your welcome book digital. A digital welcome book allows guests to access it on their devices -iPads, smartphones, PCs – before and during their stay. Imagine if you had the option to send your welcome book to your prospective guests even before they booked into your home? It would act as a great incentive and a brilliant marketing strategy, right? Yes, emailing a digital pdf copy of your welcome book to your guests will ensure that they prep their itinerary accordingly and expect a 5-star hotel experience, from booking, check-in, and in-stay. You can also include your vacation welcome book in your vacation home app or as part of your vacation management website extras. A digital welcome book can include easily clickable links to some of your favorite Orlando recommendations, social media pages/handles and URLs to your property management company website. All bundled in one easily accessible and convenient file, webpage or app. You can even spruce it up by having some YouTube links to your instructional videos on how to operate different amenities and electrical systems in your vacation home. A digital welcome book almost feels like having a real, local guide. That by itself makes the vacationing experience memorable – and relaxing. With a digital welcome book, you’ll be giving your guests control over critical information. This leads to improved experience = satisfied guests = GREAT REVIEWS! To rave-up reviews, you can always periodically include what other clients are saying about your Orlando vacation home. Going digital with your welcome book is a sure way of ranking as the best vacation rental management in Orlando.

Final Thoughts

So, go on, trash that old paper welcome book. Spruce it up to align to your vacation home feel. Revive it. Freshen it up. Create it afresh with golden nuggets. Make it look beautiful, pretty and tactile. Create a spectacular welcome book with some 21st-century life that will make your guests beg to read, so they can get the best out of their stay with you! Whichever way you choose to go -paper book or paperless- be sure to make it appealing.

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