Our property expert for Cornish Cottage Holidays, Janine Woods, shares her many years of expertise and knowledge about buying...
It is essential to have an informative and comprehensive guest information folder for your holiday home. Your guests will be reassured to know they have all the information they need at their disposal, including information about your property and what is available in the area.
Many of your guests will have arrived after a long journey and once they have unpacked and settled in, they will appreciate having a read through the welcome folder.
TripAdvisor and other online platforms are great to find fantastic places to see in the local area. However, there is nobody who knows your property and the local area better than you!
In this article, we will outline some of the key things you might wish to include in your guest information folder.
Use our quick links below to navigate the content or read on for the full guide on how to prepare your guest information folder.
A hardback ring binder with either plastic wallets or laminated sheets would be our recommendation as this can be easily sanitised in between bookings. There are some great, low-cost options out there which will do the job but remember to choose something that fits with the look and feel of your property.
Display the guest information folder in a prominent place as it is likely to be the first thing your guests look for. The information should be presented in a clear and concise way. Too many pages and it might be a little too much to take in.
If you can, consider using photos and maps to make it easy to understand, particularly when discussing off the beaten track places in the area. Many guests may have never visited this location before, so it is important to include key details as well as links they can access on their phones/devices.
Read on to find out what information to include in your welcome folder.
A lot of your guests are likely to be first-time visitors, so provide the information they will need to know to make the most of their stay in your guest information folder. Mention your property’s main facilities in this section.
Include location of stop cocks, fuse boxes, heating and water controls are essential to ensure they have a comfortable stay at your property.
Most appliances are user-friendly, but it is worth leaving all relevant user manuals in your welcome folder to help your guests during their stay.
To ensure safe use for your guests, we would advise providing guests with useful troubleshooting advice and how to best operate these appliances. A Rangemaster or a wood-burning stove might be easy to use when you know how. Leave a note on how to operate the appliances to ensure your guests safety.
It is important to include details of who guests should contact in case of an emergency. In your guest information folder include contact details and addresses with postcodes for:
Provide a contact number for your housekeeper or caretaker, in case guests have any issues. It is important to have clear details of your property address, postcode, contact number and O.S grid reference. In the event of an emergency your guests will need these to give to the emergency services.
The team at Cornish Cottage Holidays are on hand to assist your guests should they have any problems during their stay, so you might like to include the office contact details too.
If you have a designated parking space, make sure your guests know where this is. You may have off-street parking, if this is the case, remember to inform your guests.
If your property doesn’t have much parking available, consider mentioning local car parks and the rates (if known as these do change frequently). If parking is difficult near your property, you may choose to provide a parking permit for your guests in the nearest car park. It is a welcome and thoughtful addition and may open-up your bookings to more people.
For many reasons, one of the most important things for your guests will be WiFi; whether it is to catch up with emails or to watch the latest box set on Netflix. Add details of the WiFi password prominently on the first page of your guest information folder to save your guests searching for the WiFi router.
It is important to include information about your recycling and waste collection. If your collection is on a specific day, make sure to include this in your welcome folder.
Recycling procedures differ between regions, so consider separate coloured bags or boxes for different types of waste. If you are looking for a waste management company, please take a look at our Holiday home waste collection blog.
It is very important to let guests know how the heating and hot water works. How to turn it on and off or set a timer – whether you have a smart heating system or a wood-burner. Remember to let them know where the thermostat is situated.
If you have a store for logs/coal, identify where this is located for easy top-up. Some owners may choose to supply a small handful of fuel as a starter. If this is the case, it would be worthwhile recommending local places your guests can purchase more.
Swimming pool details are important. Make sure your guests are aware of the dangers and any restrictions on use. Point out lockable barriers and doors, depth markers, life rings etc.
Hot tubs are a luxury for guests to enjoy but it is vital you leave information about safe use. You might want to create a set of rules for use of the hot tub; including times of day to use (and not use), items prohibited (glassware, crockery, and sharp objects).
If the hot tub is due to be serviced during your guests’ stay, you must leave your guests information about who will be servicing the hot tub and when.
The health and safety of your guests is a priority. Provide information in your guest information folder about carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors and what guests should do in the event of a fire. Advise of escape routes and a safe assembly point in a space clear from the building (for larger properties, a map would be very useful).
Having a first aid kit available is a good idea but make sure to check items comply with current guidelines from the NHS – and remember to replenish stock as necessary.
In the local recommendations section of your welcome guide, you might wish to list some of the local amenities, restaurants, attractions, walks and off the beaten track things to do.
A personal recommendation from the property owner is a nice touch and will make guests feel valued. It might help them to enjoy a different holiday to one they might have had if they just followed the most popular things to do on TripAdvisor.
If your property is close to the coast, consider including your favourite or the most popular beaches and their main qualities – such as rockpooling, safe bathing or surfing as a starting point. If your property is in a rural location, you might want to add a few country walking routes or public gardens to your guest information folder.
Add information about the nearest grocers, post office, bank, cashpoint, garage, farm shop, newsagent, or takeaways. This list isn’t exhaustive, so feel free to include as much information as you like.
Your guests may also need to use public transport, so consider including directions to the nearest bus stop along with a link to the local bus service.
You can make your guest information folder as unique as you like but always have your guests in mind when deciding what to include.
If your property is pet friendly, perhaps point out your favourite dog-friendly beaches or walks in the local area; include times of year for any dog restrictions on beaches to ensure your guests are aware of these. Our list of woodland walks in Cornwall might also be something to consider.
Include a list of annual events taking place nearby in your welcome folder. This will be handy for your guests to plan their stay; in Cornwall there are many festivals such as Boardmasters, Falmouth Oyster Festival, while Newquay Fish Festival is always popular in September.
There are many one-day family events such as Cornwall Pride and Newquay Carnival. If you have a local theatre, perhaps consider leaving leaflets of upcoming shows in your property.
We have a really useful template for our owners to use in their properties, get in touch with us today if you’d like us to send you a copy of this.
When your guests arrive at your holiday property, they may have had a long journey. It is important to create a lasting first impression. Many owners choose to provide a small hamper of delicious local goods.
A simple cream tea welcome hamper with jam, clotted cream and of course, scones always goes down a treat but why stop there? You can tailor your welcome pack to suit all budgets but as a starting point you might want to provide tea, coffee, sugar, milk, fresh bread, butter and preserves. Many local farm shops will be able to offer this kind of service.
If you wish to add alcohol to your welcome hamper, please read our owner advice blog on supplying free alcohol.
You might like to provide some dog-friendly items like a Boneo or a bottle of Pawsecco to make your four-legged guests feel at home. Leave spare dog blankets and towels for wet feet. It is always good to leave a supply of dog waste bags to encourage guests to clean up after their dogs. Spare food and water bowls are often appreciated.
If there are children in the party, consider adding games for all ages and something like a colouring book and colouring pencils.
It is always useful to leave a guest book for your guests to sign alongside your guest information folder.
It is good for future guests to see messages from previous guests, while some guests will also let you know of any issues during their stay in the guest book. Making it crucial this is checked between guests and any suggestions implemented if feasible. Your guests will be able to see you’ve clearly listened to previous requests.
It might be quite time-consuming to put a guest information folder together, but rest assured we are here to help if you need us.
Your guests will appreciate the effort you have gone to in making them feel as welcome as possible and to be able to make the most of their stay. The main thing to remember is your guests may not know the area, so keep the information relevant and concise, considering what you would find useful if you were staying at your property, especially if it is the first visit.
At Cornish Cottage Holidays, our team of holiday letting experts are always on hand to offer advice, helping holiday home owners understand how to compile a guest information folder for their property.
We’re happy to help answer any holiday letting queries and send a copy of our welcome folder template. Find out more about letting with Cornish Cottage Holidays, request your FREE owners guide or call our knowledgeable team on 01326 336773 (select option 2) today.