Some of your guests will do a lot of research prior to their vacation and will have planned their trip meticulously. Others, particularly the last minute bookers, may have decided to rent your vacation home on a whim and have no idea what they will do when they get there. I’ve seen reviews of places where the guest says they would have given a much higher rating if there had been ‘more to do’ nearby. How to handle unfair reviews such as those is the subject of another post, however there are ways to inform and educate your visitors before they arrive, and deflect any ‘surprises’ such as the tragedy of the nearest McDonalds being over 50 miles away. Help them out with a pre-arrival package that includes where to eat, what to see and some fun activities.
1. Great restaurants
Have you eaten at some local restaurants and would recommend them to your guests? Write a brief review highlighting the best dishes and give opening hours and whether reservations are necessary.
2. Hiking trails
Describe a couple of local trails noting how accessible they are, length and degree of difficulty. Active guests will appreciate knowing this beforehand – for some it might even help their rental choice so don’t forget to mention it in your listing too.
3. Where to hire a boat/bike/snowmobile/kayak etc
Inlcude information on local rental companies with their web address, phone number and some idea on prices.
4. Nearest dog park & some fun walks
Guests with pets want to know where they can walk their dogs. If there is a dog park near you, give information on how to find it. Being pet friendly in this way can encourage great reviews.
5. Farmers markets & where to buy fresh produce
More and more people are looking to buy local when they are away from home. They want to know where to get fresh local veggies and farm eggs; pastured beef and chickens. Provide a list of farmers markets with opening hours, and any roadside booths in the area.
6. Best beach
In beach areas, local knowledge is the best, so describe your favourite areas and share your secret hideaways.
7. Upcoming local events
Let your guests know what is going on when they will be there. Don’t leave it until they arrive to find out there’s a winter festival the following day – allow them to plan and look forward to it.
8. Indoor activity centres for rainy days
If you offer suggestions on what to do on a rainy day, your guests won’t be struggling for ideas when the weather isn’t co-operating and once again they can plan ahead.
9. Movie theatres
Do you have a local movie theatre, or even better, a drive-in? Most guests are used to multi-plex cinemas and may enjoy your local retro movie house. Give details of where to find it and what they can expect.
10. Golf courses
Your golfing guests will probably have done their on-line research, but a personal testimonial on your local course will be much appreciated along with some tips such quieter times, and whether there’s a good pro for booking a lesson.
For each suggestion you make, include a telephone number, email address and web site if applicable. The more information guests have to make vacation plans, the happier they will be.