Welcome Pack Information

LEOMINSTER_HOUSE_leominster1Every holiday cottage or let should include a Guests’ Welcome Information pack or booklet. It is important to include certain items:

What to do if something goes wrong with the property, such as lights failing, heating problems, problems with kitchen appliances and so on. Contact numbers and back-up numbers should be supplied. If there are particular safety aspects, these should be listed. For example, if near a lake, the need to supervise young children should be pointed out. This may seem commonsense to country people, but for visitors who do not know the country, it can be a mistake to assume something is commonsense when, in fact, it is knowledge acquired through familiarity. This sort of approach is essential for cottage quality.

Below is a list of suggested contents to create a template but there are some basic things to consider:

Information how to contact the local doctor and hospital should be included.  Local maps of walks and the area are always appreciated. People often do not use public footpaths because they fear straying off the path when they do not know where it goes. A list of local pubs, restaurants and attractions should be available.   We do this on our sister web site at Country Holiday Lets.  Other information about the area such as events is worth including.

River104Instructions on how to work the appliances or how to treat a wood burner are important. For example, it is important to say that wood burners should only burn wood and rubbish must not be put in them. Take care if you supply wood and coal; when burnt together, temperatures can rise to the point of causing damage to your burner. Certain types of wood, such as Ash, burn better than others, such as Poplar. It can be an idea to offer, perhaps, two baskets free of charge and then ask for payment then on.

Do not forget to supply your own contact details and the name of the owner of the holiday let. Confirm latest departure times.  When first confirming a booking ask the guests to contact you at least five days before arrival to confirm arrival and to be able to inform them of any key arrival information.  This allows a time buffer if any problems arise getting in touch.

The information pack should also include any please ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’.

It should be noted, that although an agent (if you employ one) has introduced the guest to you and collected the rent on your behalf, you still have a direct contract with the holiday guest as the home owner. (The laws about this relationship will vary depending on the country).  The information pack or booklet is, therefore, a good place to note any terms in your contract with the guest that you wish to make explicit.  In many booking terms, agents sometimes note that cottage owners’ terms will apply.  But if you are directly taking bookings, it is important to make their existence known to the guest before any booking is finalised. Tick boxes are sometimes used for this purpose.

It is important to include in terms that any problems with the accommodation should be informed to the owner without delay, so they can be attended to at speed.  We strongly recommend this requirement is included in the booklet as a direct term between homeowner and guest.  It can be a good idea to examine the terms and conditions between guests and major booking services to garner some useful information.   See useful suppliers, national agencies & regional agencies

Welcome Pack Template Information: Suggested Contents

mewscottage11Welcome packs serve several purposes and often constitute some pleasant local produce with some tea and coffee and a little milk combined with an information file. You should not need to spent more than £7 or £8 on the bits and pieces… aside from a little tea, coffee and milk one or two small items like local cheese, beverages, jam or honey will be enough to give guests an introduction to the flavour of the area. The information file can be loose leaf which assists up-dating and expansion as time goes on:
Their main reason is to ensure Guests have the information needed to ensure, make them feel at home and they have a good holiday. The aim should be to show good, sensitive but unintrusive management.

This should include information about:

How to use all appliances, and items in the cottage from the DVD to the freezer. Basic use of the remotes and where they are to be found is useful.

Information on the local area from walks to events and local amenities.

Key information on things like where the electric supply is, the mains water stopcock, and the gas terminal.

Broadband passwords and use

Key telephone numbers and addresses for the local GP, hospital, emergency repairs, ambulance number (this is important for guests from abroad), the local police number and the police emergency number, the contact details of the owners or their local representatives.

How to work the lighting in the bedrooms, any specific information about the bedrooms and requests in relation to the treatment of bedding.

Storage and hanging. Where to find the iron and ironing board. Ditto hair dryer.

Number of the local vet in cases where animals in distress may be spotted.

Details of the country code especially in relation to guidance for those with dogs and the way to treat farm animals when they are encountered

122Details of the local Tourist Service and leaflets they may provide

Location of local post office. Banks. Where to get newspapers. Nearest land line telephone. Nearest neighbours and location. Local places to eat. Playbarns. Local Swimming. Fishing. Golf. Riding. Bicycling and hire.

Mobile phone reception in area.

Carefully and sensitively included your terms and conditions such as: the need for any guest to report, as soon as practical, any significant fault or problem to the owners so that swift and effective action can be taken to ensure any concern does not significantly or in any way spoil the enjoyment of the stay.  Requests of ‘please do and please do not’, where helpful. Clarification of the garden area (where applicable). Requests about parking and use of cars.  Departing arrangements including the departure time and key, deposit and other procedures

Fire Regulations and safety procedures and, especially with children, note of any local dangers such as deep water near-by.  Likewise, the need for adults to supervise children, where necessary.

The absolute duty (needs to be worded with tact) to obtain the owner’s permission well in advance if additional guests are planned to stay. That under no circumstances can the maximum over night occupancy or day time capacity of the accommodation be exceeded

If the heating is controlled in the cottage, a request to use it with care.  Number to ring for any heating or day to day enquiries.

Recycling and waste arrangements.

159Feedback requests are worth including with advice about how this can be done. Although it is always possible you might receive suggestions for improvements and it can hurt a little for the best of owners, these suggestions can be very valuable.
Some other tips can be useful:

Try to use a plain loose leaf folder for the information.  Mark it clearly but do not make the classic mistake of re using childrens’ brightly coloured school folders.  When taking photographs they are a disaster and such bright colours are normally unsuited to the nature of the contents. Some owners put each sheet into a plastic cover.  This can be useful but is not essential.  Make sure to leave the folder in a place that is obvious like on the coffee table in the lounge.  In your terms, before the guest arrives, state that the contents of the folder should be read carefully.  They are not only there for information but the form part of the deal any guest has during their stay in the holiday cottage.

You will not go wrong if you use a good Cottage Let Welcome Pack template information to make guests feel at home.
The approach of the terms and conditions needs to be gentle and clear avoiding, if possible, a straight list of dos and don’ts. The end effect may be just the same but guests need to feel welcome and not bossed about. This can be a hard balance to strike.

Finally.  There is no doubt that a good welcome pack will increase the chances of repeat bookings.  It is a good idea, if you can, to e-mail guests in advance of their arrival the contents of the information and guidance folder.  They will be much more certain to read it in advance and this should make their arrival less fraught as well as reduce phone calls requesting information that is already in the information folder.  This preparation is even more worth the effort if guests are to arrive late in the day or in the early hours after a long journey.

This information is provided by way of contrast and to prompt further investigation before acting.  As ever, seek relevant professional or competent people to check before taking any decisions.  Where applicable, all contents of this website are copyright Country Holiday Lets Ltd   See useful suppliers, national agencies & regional agencies