Winter is a little slow arriving here in Ontario with Christmas fast approaching and no sign of a white Christmas yet. However, that doesn’t stop us from preparing our vacation rentals for the snow and arctic temperatures bound to come before too long. Our guests will arrive wanting to kick back and enjoy their weekend or short break so making them feel welcome is a number one priority.
Some years ago I was talking with an owner about renting his place in winter and he could not understand that it was important to give guests the sort of arrival experience they would find in a hotel – they should be able to come in from the cold into a warm, cosy environment with everything ready for them. Heating costs came high on his priority list and when I suggested he light the propane stove in preparation for his guests, he was horrified at the potential for a high bill. He also expected his ‘renters’ (he didn’t like the word guests since it suggested he ‘wanted them there’) to bring sand for the driveway and to bring their own blankets/comforters for the beds. Needless to say, this is an example of someone who should not be in the rental business and, despite working with him over several weeks to prepare his place for rental, his attitude didn’t change and we parted company.
If you want your calendar to fill for the winter months, it’s important to create the images that will attract guests in the first place, and then back that up with the description of the welcome they will experience.
· Light the woodstove or open fireplace and photograph the flames
· Take pictures of the hot tub with the lid off and jets open.
· Use images of the exterior guests should expect to see – eg snow covered trees
· Bedroom photos need to demonstrate warmth and comfort
Listing text for winter rentals should paint a picture to help guests to imagine their idyllic winter break. Think about the types of people you want to attract then write for them. Some examples:
· Take a romantic moonlit walk across a frozen lake under a starlit sky
· Curl up with a hot chocolate and a good book and enjoy the warmth of the wood stove
· After an exhilarating day on the slopes, relax in the bubbling hot tub
After creating the expectation, it’s important to meet it. Here’s a few ideas to delight your arriving guests:
· Light the woodstove or fire before guests arrive so it’s warm and welcoming
· Put soft music on the stereo so they are greeted with gentle classical sound
· Ensure lighting is on inside and outside the property for night arrivals
Be creative with your winter gift – make it memorable and you may be rewarded with a great testimonial. This article from Holiday Lettings in UK has some excellent ideas for making your guests feel welcome.
Let me know what you do to welcome your winter guests