What Content to Include Within Your Guest Welcome Book

A Welcome Book includes vital information that travelers will need during their vacation.  It includes information on how to check into the home, recommendations on where to eat and how to get around during their stay.  Within this article I will help you create content for the only Welcome Book you will ever need.  So lets get started!

As a general rule you will need to include the following information in your Welcome Book to ensure a great guest experience:
  • Welcome Note
  • About
  • Arrival Information
  • Departure Information
  • Guest Wifi 
  • House Rules
  • How to Use Guide
  • Emergency Contacts
  • What to Do (Local Activities)
  • What to Eat (Restaurants)
  • What to Drink (Bars, breweries, etc)
  • How to Get Around
  • FAQ

How To Begin

You will first need to decide on how you will be making your welcome book.  Options include using Word, Canva or downloading a ready made template to start writing your content.  We did the hard part for you by designing a fully customizable Welcome Book that guests will love. Take a look at our time saving templates and meet me back here to get started on writing content for your guests will love.

Welcome Note

This is the first paragraph your guests will read when opening your Welcome Book, therefore it is the first impression of you as a Host.  Treat this section as an introduction to your home and how you would like to set the tone for future interactions with your guests. 

 Pro Tip:  Write something from the heart, keeping a warm and welcoming tone.  Keep in mind that they could have stayed anywhere in the world but they are staying with YOU. It can help to tap into a bit of gratitude before beginning to write this welcome note about how grateful you are to have earned their business.

Here is an example of a welcome note:

“Hello and welcome to your home away from home! We invite you to make yourself at ease after traveling all this way to enjoy the beautiful city of Boise, Idaho.  If you don't already have an itinerary for your trip please reach out to us if you need any special recommendations.  We are happy to have the opportunity to host your during your travels and we hope to make your vacation one to remember! Enjoy!”  - Kind Designs 

 

About

In this section, you will want to elaborate on yourself and your home to help travelers understand who is hosting them and what is special about the home.  Feel free to include why you became a host, why you love hosting and any quirky or fun facts about your home.

Don't be afraid to be candid every home and town is unique and people love character so share what makes your home special and include historical facts when applicable!

Example of an 'About the Host'  Example of 'About the Home'

"Greetings! My name is Sue and I love learning about new cultures, experiencing new places and most of all meeting new people from all walks of life.  I decided to become a host because traveling has brought me memories you cant buy, experiences you need to see to believe and friends that are forever.  I help others experience the joys of travel because  the farther we travel the closer we all become!"

"The squeaky floorboards of this home were built 150 years ago.  You are now standing in the middle of an old mining town where the first Levi store sold tools and clothes to the miners of the Gold Rush. While you walk along the street to admire the old buildings made of rock and mud, make sure to visit the large tree out front - it is the largest living cork tree in California and was planted in 1858!"

Arrival Information

This may be one of the most important sections within your Welcome Book as the arrival of your guests is the next major milestone after booking the reservation.   Reservation milestones deserve clear guidelines on what to expect when they arrive so its important to provide clear and concise instructions on how to arrive and check into the home

 Pro Tip:   You will notice below that I wrote please click "here" for directions to the home.  I recommend providing your address along with a clickable link to a google maps page as these days we want to utilize available technology to provide the biggest advantages to our guest.  Additionally make sure arrival instructions are in a bulleted list or highlighted where guests are able to spot this information easily.

Example of arrival instructions:

  • Check in is 3:00PM - 10:00PM
  • Please click HERE for directions to the home
  • Early Check In is available for an additional fee
  • Key code is 1234 Enter

Typical arrival times across the industry tend to be 3:00 PM but of course you can manage your check in and checkout times according to how much staff you have or how many homes are in your inventory. 

It is standard practice to charge an additional fee for an early check in as if you have multiple properties you will need to manage the cleaning schedule so that the home with the early check in is first and coordinating with your staff takes time therefore costs money.

 Traveler Note:   Homeowners choose to use different methods of maintaining the safety of their homes but in general it is common to see a lockbox or a key code door, please be weary of homes that keep keys under the mat as safety has not been kept at the highest integrity.

Departure Information

As discussed above, departure is another major milestone that deserves specific directions for your guests.  If your guests have to read paragraphs in order to understand what you expect from them during check out, you wont get the check out your were looking for.

It is standard practice to set the departure time at 11:00 AM as well as require the guests to perform a few house keeping duties before departure.

Below is an example of departure duties you can expect a guest to follow:

  • Please strip the beds and put in the laundry room
  • Please wash all of your dishes
  • Please double check the home for any personal items left
  • Take all the trash to the bin on your way out
  • Please check out no later than 11:00 PM

 Pro Tip:  Touch base with your guests the day before check out to ensure they understand the check out time and procedures.  You may find that you will be able to get your cleaners in the home sooner if your guest plans to leave before the check out time.  

Each host has their own expectation of how they wish their home to be left upon departure so take notice of what matters to you.  If you have linens that can only be washed a certain way please do not trust guests to do this special task and instead require them to not start the wash upon departure.

Guest Wifi

Upon guest arrival, travelers will immediately want to log onto the wifi.  Therefore if you present the network and password information clearly, your guests will be off to a great start.  On the flip side, if it is difficult to log on, if they cant find the password or if your code is hard to read you may need to focus on correcting this experience for the next guests.

You most likely already have a sign within your home of your wifi information so that it is easily seen by the guests but it is always great to include it in the Welcome Book as well. 

 Pro Tip:   Putting the wifi information in multiple places allows guests to connect no matter which room they may be in inside your home. It is great to have a framed sign in the home with this information as well.

Now we are going to test your knowledge.

Below, please identify which wifi is more guest friendly:

A) Network: Guest Wifi Password: VacayStay
B) Network: CODA 1453  Password: 114890C4Z8Tf
 
If you guessed "B" you may have to read more of my articles to get a hold on hospitality touches for a positive guest experience.
If you guessed "A" yay!  Just remember that every experience that your guests have within your home and city is a reflection of how much effort you spent in order to make it a good one. Happy connecting!

House Rules

House Rules are a snapshot of the most fundamental rules of your home that you would like your guests to follow.  Although you state your terms and conditions in full within your contract, please do not copy and paste them in this section.

Here is an example of important House Rules

  • No pets
  • No Smoking
  • No parties
  • Quite Hours after 10:00 PM

 Pro Tip:   Additionally, you will want these rules listed somewhere on each listing site because if a rule is broken, listing sites will typically side with you if the guest was well aware of these before booking.  If not properly listed, booking sites have a tendency to side with guests as loyalties lay with the end user because at the end of the day, as host you are competition for these listing sites.

How to Use

Being a great host means also going the extra mile to make sure your guests have access to all of the amenities you offer and the knowledge to operate and enjoy these amenities. 

For instance Apple TV can seem like an alien technology even if guests are used to a normal Smart TV and a smart TV can seem alien for those with just cable (trust me they exist). Therefore including instruction on general use of amenities is a good idea so you can maximize the experience for each guest.

Imagine this: You rent a cozy home in the winter and selected a home specifically for the electric fireplace and the outdoor lights on the patio.  When you enter the home you flip on every light switch trying to turn on the patio lights and the fireplace.  Immediately, you are disappointed because you are unable to enjoy these amenities that you specifically booked the home for.  You later find that a remote hiding in the first drawer turns on both amenities and you write a poor review about the lack of hospitality.


Hopefully this example helps you imagine the thought process of a guest and how you can maximize their guest experience from day one by being overly prepared on what your guests may need and want during their stay.

 Pro Tip:  If you stocked your home with a specific amenity for guest comfort, make sure it is overly easy for them to enjoy those additional touches by providing extra information on how to operate certain amenities.

Emergency Contacts

As a host, it is a good rule of thumb to always prepare for the worst. What I mean by this is that you will be hosting many guests within your lifetime and there will be a time where one of these guests will need to know where the closest hospital is and who to call when there is an emergency.


Below is a list of helpful emergency contacts:

  • Local Police Number
  • Emergency Police number
  • Local Fire Station
  • Fire Emergency number
  • 24 Hour Veterinary Clinic
  • Closest hospital or urgent care

Try to provide 24 hour resources for these key responders and then in this same section I like to include non emergency resources such as pharmacies, local General practitioners offices as well as addresses for all.

 Pro Tip:  Even though emergency numbers may seem like common sense to you remember that you may have guests from out of country where their '911' number is instead '112'.  So be sure to be as helpful as you can here for travelers from all countries.

What to Do (Local Activities)

If you love where you live, or love where you host this should be an easy section to elaborate on for your guests. If you feel like going above and beyond you can offer recommendations across many different types of actives that people enjoy.  Travelers trust their hosts to be experts on the area and provide great recommendations during their stay so put your thinking cap on and try to be as thoughtful as possible in this section.

Examples of different types of actives:

  • Family Friendly Outings
  • Tourst Attractions
  • Non-Tourist Attractions
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Health and Fitness Activities
  • Sunday Strolls

 Pro Tip:  You can pair with vendors and earn a referral fee for sending them business but please only recommend activities that are enjoyable and not just tourists traps.  Host from the heart and your guests will feel how much you care.  Additionally try and get to know your guest's interests and it will help you create a more tailored recommendation for their adventures. 

What to Eat (Restaurants)

This section can be as long or as short as you want to make it. Ideally this section would have different categories so you can organize what is available for your guests.

Options are endless for this sections so I will give you a few ideas to help you start brainstorming.

Below is an example on how you can classify your food recommendations:

 Recommendations based on: Time of Day Recommendations based on: Cravings
Breakfast
Brunch
Lunch
Dinner
Dessert
Late Night Eats
Etc
    Best Pizza
    Mexican food
    Italian food
    Best Sushi
    Street Food
    Mongolian food
    Grocery Stores
    Etc

       
       Pro tip:  It is a nice touch to include walking distance from the house as not everyone wants to jump in the car to go find a nice cafe. Include delivery applications like Uber Eats, or grocery delivery services in case your guests feel like staying home to relax.

      What to Drink (Bars, breweries, etc)

      This is by far my favorite category as there are so many types of drinks for so many occasions and guests love a good recommendation of the best place to have a beverage.

      Example of beverage recommendations:

      • Coffee Shops
      • Tea Lounges
      • Bars
      • Wineries
      • Breweries
      • Milkshakes
      • Healthy Juices & Juice shots

      How to Get Around

      This section is specific to the type of area you live in.  If you are hosting in a city, maybe provide your guests with links to subway maps, train stations and bus stations.  If you are in a town, link to ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, bicycle rentals and car rentals.

      Each guest will need a mode of transport while visiting so be sure to give them the options they have so they can be as mobile as possible!

      FAQ

      Your welcome book should clear up most questions for your travelers but for the one-off questions you can include this section so guests looking for more information can refer here before directing the question to you.

      Examples of questions to cover within the FAQ:

      • Am I able to extend my booking?
      • Do you allow long term rentals?
      • Do you offer referrals or discounts for repeat clients?
       Pro Tip:  Try to keep track of every question you receive on your home and constantly update your welcome book to reflect these questions so you don't have to keep answering them time and time again.  This method will keep you improving on your home and making sure your guests have the best information available and will save you time answering these questions in the future.

      Digital vs Printed Welcome Books

      Pros Cons
      Digital Welcome Book
      • No Cleaning Needed
      • Safer to use during Covid due to no contamination
      • Can be emailed before arrival
      • Editable Anytime
      • No wear and tear
      • Digital age friendly
      • Requires a smart phone
      Printed Welcome book
      • Some people like physical copies of text
       
      • Must print a new copy after each edit
      • Must be cleaned after each guest use
      • Easily damaged due to wear and tear

      Summary

      Creating your welcome book to be concise and easy to read is the key to making sure your guests will actually read the information you worked so hard to create.  Consider saving time and utilizing our pre designed welcome books that are fully customizable to get started.  Thoughtfulness goes a long way and when your guests see you going the extra mile to ensure a great vacation for them they will be more likely to be repeat customers and leave a great review.

      Thank you for reading through this post and Happy Hosting!