image of a digital guest welcome book created with Touch Stay
Let’s be honest, the guest welcome book is often an afterthought. Your guest has booked, payment has been received, and you now have a long list of administrative tasks to take care of pre-arrival. And, anyway, very few guests actually read it. It’s just a nice to have, right?
I’d agree. Admin is a pain. It sucks your energy, and it doesn’t usually bring bookings. Worse still, you spin your wheels creating a guest welcome book and then nobody reads it.
Post over. Close your browser window and save yourself 5 minutes…
… but wait! I’m going to show you how this isn’t an admin task. It isn’t a "nice to have." I’ll show you how a guest welcome book can help you achieve repeat and referral bookings, help with inquiry conversion, and even help you upsell.
Yes, all with a digital guest welcome book!
So, with energy and enthusiasm restored, let’s look at 5 reasons your vacation rental needs a digital guest welcome book…
1. A Digital Guest Welcome Book Can Help Improve Conversion
Many of you aren’t in the “book now” world. So you’re fielding inquiries. Those guests have usually already read through your listing and/or website and are signalling their interest. However, they’ve also signalled the same interest to a few other owners and managers.
Your task is to quickly convert them. I’m sure you answer within 24 hours, and I’m sure you’ve crafted the perfect email response templates (check out Guest Hook if you need some help with them). But how about sharing your digital guest welcome book with your interested guest? It’s a way for you to differentiate yourself from the masses, just like one of our owners, Bob Garner, has done – find out how here.
Bob has experienced an increase in his conversion since he switched to using Touch Stay’s digital guest welcome book as part of his email response strategy.
2. A Digital Guest Welcome Book Can Help Repeat and Referral Bookings
We all know that happy and relaxed guests are likely to leave great reviews. They are also likely to remember you and book next year. You know this already of course. It’s why you invest time in ensuring the guest has the best experience throughout their cycle with you. From easy to navigate websites, to simple and efficient contracts, to smooth check-in processes, to post stay newsletter engagement. The cycle of a guest is 360. They often repeat.
A digital guest welcome book is part of the pre arrival and during stay experience. Guests crave information: How do I find my rental? Where is the nearest ice cream vendor? Where is the nearest grocery store? Where can I buy fresh fish for the grill? How does the grill work? What’s the best place to get pancakes for breakfast? The list goes on. If you take the time to create this content it’s an investment for life – you simply update and fine-tune various parts over future years. Your guests will have the equivalent of a highly localized guidebook and they will talk about it and remember you if the content is helpful and unique.
3. A Digital Guest Welcome Book Can Help You Upsell
We work with a few property managers that have relationships with local vendors. In return for recommending vendor services to guests, the property manager receives a share of revenue, or simply acts as an advertisement.
The digital guest welcome book is an integral part of that. Something you demonstrate value to local vendors. I’m a guest with kids. Like parents all over the world, we want our kids to be happy on vacation. So we plan visits to waterparks, we find out where to hire kayaks, or rent ski equipment, we research interesting half-day excursions, and so on. I am a captive audience, ready for your local suggestions (but keep it real… I will google reviews on TripAdvisor!). How many guests could you refer in one year? That has value.
4. Your Guests Expect (and Deserve) More
There is so much talk of millennials being the future of the vacation rental industry. This group of people are generally those born between 1980 and 2000. In other words this is your younger generation – your future guests. Tech forward, fast paced, in search of something unique and different, and with high expectations. They don’t expect Word or PDF and they certainly don’t expect print. This group demands information before they arrive - in digital form!
“But my guests aren’t millennials, they’re usually over 40 years old,” I hear you say. Sure, but I’m willing to bet that more than 50% own an iPad or a smart phone (and I bet they found you with their iPad!). This isn’t a millennial argument I’m making, this is a 21st century expectation. Besides, I’m over 40 with young kids – I’m therefore not a millennial, but I am your current guest, and I go everywhere with my device. As do my kids and my 70-year-old folks! Serve us information in the way that we consume it most easily.
5. Your Paper Guest Welcome Book is Downgrading Your Brand
Millennials certainly laugh at the sorry paper welcome book. But, frankly, we all do. Whenever I ask someone “Describe what comes to mind when you think of a guest welcome book?” I receive the same responses. Coffee stained, curled pages, and often sections missing. Granted, some of you place the paper in a sleeve for protection, but I think we all know that’s masking the issue! The paper welcome book is the equivalent of broken pots and pans in the kitchen 15 years ago. It’s just not acceptable and downgrades your brand.
About the Author
is Co-Founder of Touch Stay
, a software service that provides you with a way to create a digital guest welcome book that you can share with your guests before and during their stays. Having grown up on vacation rentals, he is passionate about the industry and believes its greatest asset is the personal, 1 to 1 approach of owners and property managers.
Want to share your tips with vacation rental owners and property managers? Reach out to marketing (at) dwellable (dot) com.