Today’s holidaymakers have high expectations, whether they’re staying in an all-inclusive luxury hotel in London or a cozy self-catering holiday cottage on the East Sussex coast. First impressions are all-important and, as we all know, you never get a second chance to make a good first one. So, what can you do to show your guests that you’re going the extra mile for them? Offering a thoughtful and generous Welcome Pack can pay huge dividends. It provides a personal touch to welcome your guests and makes them feel cared for, particularly if you, the property owner, can’t be there in person. Welcome Packs should provide a combination of food/drinks items and non-perishables, along with plenty of useful information that makes it easy for your guests to enjoy their holiday to the max.
Many guests will have traveled some distance and arrive at the property tired, stressed and hungry. One of the most thoughtful things you can do is to provide a carefully put together complementary hamper alongside a handwritten note to welcome them.
- Customize the contents of your hamper according to the level of accommodation you provide. It’s a clever marketing trick that can work wonders. For the luxury end of the market, a bottle of Prosecco chilling in the fridge and some custom chocolates will do nicely, and a home baked cake and a nice bunch of flowers always go down well, regardless of budget.
- Consider who your guests are. Couples? Honeymooners? Families with children or pets? Include something in your hamper to appeal to each of them. Remember that the way to Mum and Dad’s heart is with a bottle of wine and some entertainment for the kids. And how about some doggie treats for the four legged members of the family?
- Be helpful and practical in your choices. As a minimum, provide tea/coffee and a fresh pint of milk in the fridge for that first post-arrival cuppa. Even if your accommodation is self-catering, it doesn’t have to mean the cupboard is totally bare. A loaf of bread, some eggs, butter, and cheese will all be hugely appreciated, so no-one has to rush out straight away in search of food in an unknown area.
- An excellent way to help your guests connect to the local area and promote the local economy is to include plenty of artisan type products in your hamper. From Cornish pasties to Scottish smoked salmon, Caerphilly cheese to award-winning Sussex sparkling wine, your guests will love the opportunity to sample all that the area has to offer.
- You can also leave contact details of local farm shops and supermarkets, including online shopping and home delivery services, so your guests can get the supplies they need. Better still, why not tell your guests beforehand, asking them to arrange for their shopping to be delivered to the cottage ready for their arrival?
Of course, a Welcome Pack can be more than just a food hamper. Think about all the little necessities that could make your guests’ stay a little more comfortable. Then, once they’ve made themselves at home in your cottage, provide inspiration and assistance to make the most of their visit to the area. Finally, your Welcome Pack is a golden opportunity for a bit of extra marketing.
- From supplying washing up liquid to scented bubble bath, a supply of logs for the wood burner to chocolates on the pillow, it is entirely your choice to make your holiday cottage as friendly and inviting as you wish. Why not prepare a list of all the ‘essentials’ they might need along with the local shops where your guests can buy them from?
- Provide a handy file to explain anything about the property that your guests may need to know. How do you work the central heating and the TV? Where do you switch the cooker on? Where does the rubbish and recycling go? Include any house rules that your guests should observe – shoes off indoors, no dogs on the furniture, late night noise restrictions, parking rules etc.
- Collect plenty of information of local businesses for your guests to peruse. Have a list of recommended country pubs and restaurants, local attractions, the best beaches, favourite country walks, good shopping opportunities, things to do for kids – anything and everything your guests might be interested in doing while on holiday.
- Think about giving your guests a memento to remind them of their holiday at your cottage. This can be something as simple as specially customized branded gift, with pens, mugs, notebooks or bags for life all making suitable presents. As a more personal souvenir, you could gift a scented candle, box of local chocolates or an art print of your cottage.
- Finally, why not use your guests to advertise your holiday let? Have some beautiful postcards made of the property, complete with address and booking details, that can be sent to friends and family. Personalized business cards are also a great idea, as are leaflets with a special advance booking offer for a return visit.
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