VRS532 - Welcoming International Guests (And Keeping Them Out of Jail)

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Are you giving your international guests enough information to make their stay with you as comfortable as possible?

You probably provide them with lots of places to go and things to do in your location and may feel this is sufficient.

But have you thought about the basic stuff that you just take as common sense, but could be completely new to someone arriving from another country?

In this episode we explore some of the differences between North America and Europe in terms of driving rules and practices, alcohol laws, how to access healthcare, local customs and holidays.

By just including some simple tips and recommendations in your guest guide, you could save your visitors the risk of contravening regulations, and help them have a trouble-free time in your country.

Don't forget to your copy of: How to Welcome International Guests

Welcome to the Tipping Point. Listen in to this bite sized learning series as part of the Vacation Rental Success podcast, or watch the video version on the Vacation Rental Formula Business School's YouTube channel. This episode is brought to you by the kind sponsorship of PriceLabs, who will help increase your revenue and occupancy with their dynamic pricing and revenue management tools.

PriceLabs have just launched their 2023 breakthrough release of the next generation of revenue management. This brand new cutting edge solution leverages hyper local data to optimize rates and increase your revenues like never before. Visit the link in the description of this episode for more information.

Get ready to fire up your business. Here's your host, Heather Beyer.

Welcome to another episode of The Tipping Point. And today I'm talking about welcoming your international guests. While many of us are really well traveled, There's still a lot of people who have never set foot outside of their own country. And if they have, and they may have gone to a resort or a hotel, they've probably never rented a car.

They've never traveled the roads. and they've had no need to abide by the rules of another country. But when they do, if they transgress in any way, the police are unlikely to give them a free pass just because they don't live there. Or maybe in some places they will, but hey, you know your locations better than I do.

So, you don't want your guests to get caught out by some of the regulations and customs that may seem common sense to you, but in fact are completely alien to people who've never visited your shores before. So, in this episode, I'm going to suggest some things you may want to let your international guests know before they arrive.

So, since we've been talking about driving, let's talk about that. British and European drivers are very used to roundabouts. You probably call them traffic circles. So, your visiting drivers are going to be really comfortable using them if you have them in your location. And most other road signs are going to be familiar as well.

So you'd think, well, you know, what's so different? Well, there's a couple of things that they may never have come across. And it's the things that you do in your own country that aren't readily signposted that could land your guests in trouble, or at the very least make them annoying to other drivers.

And the first one is, you know, if you're in North America, you can turn right on a red light in certain cases, in fact, many instances, you can turn right on red. You're not permitted to do this in UK or Europe, which means those newly arrived in North America aren't going to move until the light turns green, and they'll be completely confused when the drivers behind them get upset.

Then there's the four way protocol. There's no such thing as a three way or a four way junction over the pond. It's probably because they have so many roundabouts, or traffic circles, that keep traffic moving that makes it entirely unnecessary to have this thing where a sort of dance takes place at a junction and people seem to know exactly when it's their turn.

I remember experiencing this for the first time, coming up to a junction with four roads converging and seeing this very disciplined movement of vehicles. with nobody in charge. Fortunately, you know, we were about four cars behind, and got the idea pretty quickly. But if we'd got there first, it might have been a very different matter.

Now there's stopping for school buses. And you might think, really? Doesn't everybody stop for a school bus? Um, because this one's serious. Because penalties for passing a school bus with lights flashing are really high in many states. But there's no such rule in the UK, as student transport by bus is usually provided by locally scheduled public transport bus services.

We don't have the system of yellow buses that you do in the US and Canada. So while a little common sense might have them stopping when coming up behind a stop. bus with all its lights flashing, the thought of stopping when an oncoming bus is stationary might not even cross their minds. And that could cause issues if, uh, if they're stopped by police.

Now we come to alcohol rules. So you've got to be really clear on age restrictions. Let your guests know what your minimum drinking age is. It's 18 in some European countries it's 16. So those that are coming across to the US where perhaps it's 21, um, you need to tell them before they arrive to ensure they stay on the right side of the law.

Policies on buying alcohol. vary state by state. So, and it's so important your visiting guests are clear on what's permitted in your location. You might be in a dry county. So if guests are arriving by air, then driving to your property, make sure they know where to stop and buy their beer and wine before they enter a store and they're surprised by the complete lack of product.

In Ontario, until just recently, you couldn't buy any alcohol outside of our liquor board stores. Now, some grocery stores do stock a limited amount of beer and wine, but if a guest arrives outside LCBO hours and wants a bottle of spirits, they're going to be out of luck. We were very nearly fined on our first visit to Ontario because we had a picnic in a provincial park and brought some beer with us.

It was only a heads up from tinnies before the park rangers found us. So, let's move on to health care. People get sick, they get injured, they have little accidents, and you need to let your guests know what they should do if they fall sick and what to expect. In countries where there's universal health coverage, people are so used to arriving at walk in clinic or emergency room and not being asked for any medical insurance details ways to pay.

Most are going to be savvy enough to know they need to take out insurance for medical situations, but it's going to be worthwhile reminding them of the need for it. And if you've ever watched border security, you'll know there's a bunch of things people bring in that are not permitted or they need to be validated.

This goes for medication. So advise them to bring a valid written prescription. Or a doctor's note, or at the very least, the medication should be in its original container with the doctor's instructions printed on the bottle. If your pre arrival information gives details on what they should do in case of emergency and what they would need to have with them, it's going to make it so much easier should some situation arise.

Finally, I recall crossing the English Channel. to France way before Brexit on what we called a booze cruise. It was a time when beer and wine was significantly cheaper and we cross a couple of times a year to load up the car for a few months. That time we were halfway across the English Channel when I noticed a sign reminding all on board that it was a national holiday in France and all the stores were closed.

That was such a blow. We'd driven three hours to get to Dover and were so excited about our shopping trip. We were able to turn lemons into lemonade as we got off the boat, found a nice restaurant for lunch, walked on a beach, and then got back on the ferry for the trip home, but we were really disappointed and kicked ourselves for not knowing about the French holiday.

It's so easy to let your guests know of upcoming holidays and events that might impact their stay. Other advice for travellers could involve information on public transport, places to avoid during busy times, parking restrictions and any local customs. In fact, anything that may seem common sense to you but would be a new thing for an overseas visitor.

So think about your location and what a newcomer might need to know. Make a list and organize this into a guide for international travelers to your location. Put it on your website. Add it to a digital guidebook. Make a valuable download that you could use as a lead magnet for visitors when they come to your site.

So I've created a sample guide you can use as a template and you can download that from the link in the description on YouTube or from the show notes if you're listening to this by audio. So that's it. Many thanks for listening to this episode of The Tipping Point. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel, if that's where you're watching, and leave a comment if you have any questions.

That's all for this week. I'll be with you again very soon. We hope you enjoyed this episode of The Tipping Point. Don't forget to check out this week's sponsor, Price Labs, to help you master the art of dynamic pricing for your short term rental business. Click the link in the description of this episode for more information.