The short-term rental hosts my husband and I appreciate most are ones who smooth our stay by giving us a user guide or welcome book that helps us find things and figure out how things work. Not only does a home user guide provide useful information, it conveys a clear message from the host: I want you to enjoy your stay!
To write a guide, think about what guests need to know about your home and what other information could help them enjoy their stay. Leave a printed version of the guide in a folder or binder with tabs where guests can easily find it, along with maps, menus, transit schedules, brochures and other items they might find useful. You can also send a copy of the guide for guests to review before they arrive. Read on for more home user guide tips.
Home User Guide Must-have Content
- A brief but friendly note welcoming guests to your home
- Contact information and/or information for someone who can answer questions or help with problems
- The password for Internet access and what guests can do if they lose access
- Code for your security system, if any, along with instructions for turning it on and off
- Instructions for trash, including sorting recycling, where to find garbage cans, and where to put cans on pickup day
- Instructions and/or manuals for appliances, heater/air conditioner, TV, DVD player, cable box, sound system, gas grill, and other equipment
- Where to find circuit breakers and what to do if the power goes out
- Cautions such as: The toilet in the front bathroom backs up easily so flush often; Please do not lock the door between the stairs and the back hall – we don’t have a key; The drawer in the kitchen table falls out easily, so be careful when you open it.
- Rules such as: Please do not play the TV or music loudly after 10:00 at night; Please do not smoke in the condo or in the courtyard; Please park only in our assigned space, #288
- Check-out time and what guests need to do when they leave. Examples include: Please replace the toilet paper and cleaning supplies; Strip the beds and put the sheets in the washer for the cleaner
- Phone numbers for the fire department, police, emergency hospital, pharmacy and poison control
Nice-to-have User Guide Content
- Where to shop: grocery stores, farmers markets, malls, bookstores, boutiques
- How to get around: maps of the area along with bus, train and ferry schedules. Phone numbers for taxi and airport shuttle services
- Where to play: parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, gyms, beaches, golf courses, tennis courts, hiking trails, ski slopes, and other recreational facilities
- Where to eat: a selection of cafes and restaurants guests might enjoy
- What to see: local attractions, such as museums, art galleries, nature preserves, sports arenas, universities and more
By: Janis Fisher Chan
A published author and passionate traveler, Janis Fisher Chan recently launched Travel on the House, an informational website with tips and advice for short-term rental hosts. A version of this post was originally published on her site.