Today we want to talk through Welcome books for your serviced accommodation and what vital information you need to include within the booklet, for the guest to receive the best customer experience possible.
Here at Approved Property Group we have been using electronic tablets for our welcome books. We’ve found these are favourable over physical information folders. This is because they don’t get worn or damaged like paper copies do over time. Also using tablets will keep your guests up to date and reduces their need to contact you with smaller issues, as all the information they need is on the tablet. Also we found it provides the customer more of a value for money during their stay, due to multiple functionalities.
With a tablet there is more opportunity to up-sell, and promote your business direct to your customers through too. They can even be used to accept T & C’s and check in remotely!
What do you need to include in you’re welcome book!?
What’s the first thing you look for when you check into a serviced apartment or a hotel.
The Wi-Fi password!
And that’s why the first thing you should have in your welcome pack is your Wi-Fi details. Don’t forget to change the Wi-Fi password too! Don’t just copy the details on the back of the router and pop them onto a card or onto the welcome pack. It does not make any sense at all because some of those passwords are gibberish. How many times have you typed a password over and over and over again and kept getting it wrong? Make sure that it’s going to be a user-friendly password for your guest to type out.
There’s a lot of property details which you need to include in your welcome book. The first of which being parking. By the time they’ve entered the property they might have parked already. But knowing what facilities there are available for them, whether there’s one space or two, what the on-street parking situation is may still be useful for them even after they’ve entered the property.
Now the next thing which is very important and it’s probably the number one cause of calls once a guest arrives at the apartment is just having some basic heating or boiler instructions because not all heating systems are massively intuitive and not all people are massively intuitive. So giving some real basic instructions in terms of how you turn the heating on and off, what to do if the pilot light goes out. Those kinds of things can save you from getting a lot of unnecessary phone calls. Other instructions you need to include are for any kitchen equipment you might have. So for instance with an oven just having some very basic instructions in terms of if you want to turn the oven on, turn it to this symbol and turn the temperature up to that or similarly with the grill and the same with the microwave. Another thing, which often generates phone calls, is how the television works. So again having some real basic instructions on how to turn the television on, how to access Freeview, how to get back to it if you accidentally press the wrong button etc.
Then there’s a number of different things which you have to let people know where they are so iron and ironing board just let them know whereabouts that’s located and extra bedding as well in case they need to change sheets or get additional towels that kind of thing. Now often showers can be a little bit different from property to property. So again having some basic instructions in terms of how to get the best out of the shower, how to set it up quickly is going to be handy because how many times have you been to a hotel and thought you’ve got the setting right and then you step in and you’re either freezing, or you burn!
Now for longer stays particularly letting them know what the situation is with regards to cleaning it is quite handy as well. It just helps people to feel comfortable in the property and know that people aren’t going to be turning up unannounced.
Finally you want to make sure that if you’ve got any house rules that you let people know what those are and that might include things like a smoking policy or no parties.
You’ve got to make sure you have an emergency contact number. Make sure that the number is very visible for the people to easily make a note of and contact in case of an emergency. You should also have a fire risk assessment carried out on the property. After you have a fire risk assessment carried out there are fire procedures. You can state these procedures in the welcome book so that people know what to do in the event of a fire.
You should also have the emergency number highly visible and in England is 999 not 911 and we do this for international visitors, so it’s got to be visible so that they know who to call as and when an emergency arises. Also don’t forget to ensure that your first aid kit is easily accessible and state it’s location in the welcome pack!
Once you’ve been through the property details and emergency procedure, having some information about the local area is going to be really beneficial for your guests. So starting off by having a local map of the area, clearly showing where your property is going to be very helpful. If you can also talk about where the nearest shops are, what the options are for them, how long it takes to walk, what the direction is that can be really good, along with local restaurants. On top of that you might then want to have some takeaway numbers so that if they want to order up a delivery at home then they can do that. Other things, which can be useful to include for them on there are the nearest doctor, hospital and dentist in case they have a medical or dental emergency.
And of course public transport links so there might be a bus station near by which you can highlight or you might be able to show the route to the nearest train station. It’s all just little things, which will make their lives a little bit easier. Having a number for a local taxi company can be really good as well because it saves them the hassle of looking, it saves them the hassle of knowing who to trust. So putting the taxi company on there can help as well.
Guests have to know the time they are checking out so you’ve got to have the check out times clearly visible in the welcome book because if you don’t people tend to oversleep and you get cleaners turning up, opening doors because they expect people to have left only to find half dressed people who are still in bed snoring.
And then your check out procedures, if you use a key box or if you use manual keys make sure you have the key drop area so people know where they are leaving the keys cause you don’t want people leaving the keys indoors and then pulling the door shut and locking it and you not being able to gain access to the property or your cleaners not being able to gain access to the property so make sure that’s clearly instructed and they know exactly where they’re going to be dropping the keys off.
You can always give people the option to check out late, be it an hour or a couple hours later than usual for an extra fiver or a tenner, put more money in your pocket and not cost anymore. So if you do have a late check out options please make sure you state that in the welcome pack too.
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