TOP TIPS: Creating information for your guests
Published: Tuesday 22nd Jan 2019
Written by: Natalie Barker
It's often hard to start writing from scratch, a blank screen or piece of paper can look quite daunting. We hope our ‘TOP TIPS’ help you create information for guests to use when they stay at your Lake District holiday cottage.
It's important that your information (whatever the format) is as comprehensive as possible, although you know your property very well, remember it'll be the first time many guests stay at your holiday cottage. When guests arrive they'll be keen to settle and start their holiday as soon as they can. This means both the content and the layout of your property information is easy to read and review. Creating a couple of folders for different types of information might help. Or display a notice on a pin board in the kitchen might also be a good idea.
We've listed 10 TOP TIPS to help you create an information pack and provide a warm welcome when guests arrive at your Lake District holiday cottage.
1) First impressions count
A welcome gift is great idea! After a long journey, traffic jams on the M6 and finally wiggling through the lanes in the Lake District your guests will be keen to get into their holiday cottage and relax as soon as possible! Imagine how they feel when they see a small hamper of essentials on the kitchen table? We aren’t talking a pile of expensive gifts here; teabag, coffee, a loaf of bread and some eggs. Think about other things too; toilet rolls, hand wash, bin bags and washing up liquid are essentials we recommend are provided. If you can save your guests from having to rush to a shop before it closes you'll be making the best first impression!
2) Go the extra mile
Leaving the essentials to start your guests off is important and something we suggest our owners do. If you want to stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression we highly recommend going the extra mile! Extra gifts such as wine, chocolates and jams will always be appreciated by holiday makers and they will almost certainly mention these in your visitor book when they leave feedback. Other things to personalise the welcome to your Lake District holiday cottage will also make your property stand out from the crowd. Arrange for your cleaner or house keeper to leave board games or colouring books out if there are children in the party, seasonal decorations (at Christmas or Easter) or equipment (e.g. garden furniture, BBQ equipment or even a sledge) are great ways to show your guests you care.
3) Your holiday starts here!
When writing content for your information pack make sure your first page welcomes your guests to your property. Open with a friendly message, a warm greeting and wishing them an enjoyable and relaxing stay. You definitely don't want to start by listing out practical information or rules. A brief history about your holiday cottage is a nice touch and be interesting for guests to see. Understanding more about the property will ensure your guests’ stay is more personal, and hearing this directly from you shows you take care of and have a personal interest in the property.
4) Emergency information
As part of the settling in process your guests will feel reassured if you provide them with emergency contact information. The phone number for yourself, your handyman or housekeeper is essential, whoever you want them to call if they have an emergency at the property. Feel free to leave our contact details in this section too, if we don't provide you with on call/emergency support we can help your guests get in touch with the right person.
Other useful numbers to list in your information pack are doctors, dentists, hospitals, car recovery services and vets (if your Lake District holiday cottage welcomes dogs). Many people do search online for these services but if a guest can refer to your local recommendations it will help them feel reassured in the event of an emergency.
5) Property specific information
We certainly know every Lake District holiday cottage is unique! Providing information that is specific to your holiday property is important. Wifi details, security information, rubbish collection, access to areas outside the main property (e.g. the back garden, garage, bike storage or parking) are all things you'll know about, but this practical information will help your guests enjoy a comfortable stay at your property.
This may not be the most exciting section to write about but this is one of the most important sections to include in your information folder. Although operating your washing machine, heating system and oven is second nature to you it won't be to your guests. Providing detailed but clear instructions will save you or your housekeeper time in the long run. Nobody wants be woken up by a guest who can't open the washing machine or turn on the TV late at night!
Something else to remember....it's fairly unlikely a guest will sit down and search through the manufacturers manual for an appliance (they are on holiday after all), so this section of your folder will be valuable.
7) Local transport info
In the Lake District most holiday makers will travel to your property by car. Having said that providing some local transport information will help your guests during their stay. Phone numbers for taxi companies that you'd recommend would be helpful. It's also a good idea to include the name and location for the closest bus stops and train station. Internet links or directions to where guests can find up to date bus and train timetables is great for holiday makers to refer to, and that way the information you’re providing them is up to date as it’ll be live on the transport company’s website.
8) Attractions and things to do
Most holiday cottages in the Lake District will have a drawer filled with leaflets for local attractions. If you’re familiar with ‘that drawer’ make sure the leaflets in it are up to date and easy to look through. We highly recommend organising the leaflets into labelled popper wallets and these can be fixed into your information pack. Having a separate wallet for places to eat, things to do with children, historical attractions, art galleries etc will make it easy and more fun for guests to plan what they do during their stay. If you want to go the extra mile label up a map of the local area so guests can see which attractions are closest to your property.
9) Visitors and maintenance book
Make sure your visitors book is left out by your cleaner or housekeeper. It's lovely to be able to flick through when you stay in the Lakes yourself and see all the lovely feedback from the many guests who have stayed at your property. If the book is hidden away it's unlikely it'll be found and be filled out.
We know you look after your property but sometimes things get tired or worn out. If you want to avoid guests leaving feedback in your visitor book it's a great idea to leave out a separate maintenance book. Guests can highlight odd jobs in this book, things they may have come across during their stay that don't immediately affect their stay, but need fixing....a sticky door lock, a loose toilet seat or missing curtain hooks are the types of things they may note down.
10) We would love to see you again
Last but by no means least we recommend you close your information with a personal message to your guests. Warm wishes and a message to welcome them back will help you and your property stand out from all the rest. Recommendations and returning guests are the most powerful marketing tools that we could possibly ask for. Make sure their holiday in the Lake District is truly memorable!
We hope our TOP TIPS on creating your holiday property information have helped. Try to make the pack as comprehensive but also as clear as possible, adding personal recommendations and tips is a good idea too.
Good Life Lake District Cottages have a dedicated team of property experts working in the Lake District. We focus on providing our property owners with advice and support. If you have any questions or queries about creating and information for your Lake District holiday cottage please don’t hesitate to contact us.