In a crowded holiday lettings market, how can you make your property stand out from the crowd? This is a question that all owners should be asking themselves in an effort to keep occupancy rates high.
There are many effective marketing techniques that can really help boost business. Presenting your property in the best possible light both online and offline is essential to generate high levels of interest. Quick and easy bookings and payment systems will lead to smoother transactions while user friendly guest communication systems can be used to improve the entire customer journey.
But when all is said and done, there’s nothing quite like a warm welcome to make your guests smile when they arrive at the accommodation after a long journey. If you can’t be there in person, you can still provide that personal touch with a few thoughtful welcome gifts, oodles of practical information and anything else you can think of that makes your visitors feel special and cared for.
A Welcome Pack doesn’t have to be a basket of fresh local produce (although it could be!). Target the contents to the specific needs and likes of your visitors and let your imagination loose to spoil your guests with thoughtful and generous treats during their holiday.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- The Food Hamper
When your guests arrive tired, stressed and hungry, a complimentary food hamper along with a handwritten welcome note will be a sight for sore eyes and a cure for empty tummies.
Depending on the level of accommodation provided, you could wow with a bottle of fizz chilling in the fridge, a selection of local delicacies or a simple home baked cake and a bunch of handpicked flowers. And depending on the type of visitors you are expecting, you could customise the contents of the hamper to include something for everyone – couples, parents, kids, pets…
Be practical in your choice of supplied goodies. A fresh pint of milk in the fridge and tea bags in the cupboard will be hugely appreciated after a long drive. And how about stocking the kitchen with some essential foods – eggs, bread, cheese etc – so nobody has to dash out in search of food straight away?
Create an instant bond with the area by including some locally produced artisan products. From Scottish smoked salmon to Sussex sparkling wine, it’s the perfect opportunity to give your guest a taste of things to come.
- Grocery Delivery
Help your guests to get their own self-catering supplies by leaving out contact details of local supermarkets and farm shops so they can do their own shopping. Even better, you could share grocery delivery information before arrival to enable your visitors to shop online and get their order delivered straight to the cottage when they arrive.
Some holiday landlords go one better and happily accept deliveries of pre-ordered groceries on behalf of their guests, then unpack everything ready for their arrival. Upon request, they may even arrange to decorate the holiday property for a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.
- Home Essentials
A Welcome Pack can be more than just food. Think about all the little things that your guests might need around the house but wouldn’t think to bring with them on holiday, and maybe some extra bits and pieces that make the stay more pleasurable.
This could include washing up liquid and cleaning cloths for the kitchen, a supply of logs and kindling for the woodburning stove, or luxury toiletries for the bathroom. Depending on the level of luxury you wish to provide, you are at liberty to make your holiday let as welcoming as you want and pamper your guests to the max.
Don’t forget to put together a ‘house folder’ containing important things your visitors need to know. How do you operate the central heating control? Where to put the rubbish and recycling? What’s the WiFi password? If there are specific house rules to be observed – shoes off indoors, no loud noises after 10pm, parking restrictions etc – make sure your guests know about this.
- Local Information
Once your visitors have settled into their holiday home, they will be planning outings and excursions. There again, you can help them with inspiration and assistance to make the most of their stay.
Utilise your superior knowledge of the local area and collect lots of information of local businesses and attractions for your guests to explore at their leisure. Why not make a list of handpicked country pubs and restaurants? Recommend the best beaches for kids, favourite dog walks, local markets and shopping opportunities, local attractions and whatever else is of interest in the vicinity.
- Gifts and mementos
How about supplying little gifts or treats for your guests to take home as a reminder of a lovely holiday at your cottage? Branded mugs, pens and notebooks or fridge magnets, customised bags for life, bathroom smellies or art print postcards – the choice is endless when it comes to deploying clever marketing gadgets that sell the idea of spending a (return) holiday at your property.
Finally, leave some beautiful custom printed postcards of your property lying around the cottage, complete with full contact and booking details, that your guests can send to their family and friends. That way, they’ll do the advertising for you!