Though we’re probably sick of hearing it now, things have changed due to the pandemic and hospitality has definitely felt a big impact. Today we are talking about your listings guidebook or welcome booklet, whether physical or digital. This is a great opportunity to remind guests of your house rules as well as share some local sights, attractions and eateries should you fancy it.
Have you updated your house guide and what do you include in yours?
I think there’s some learnings to be shared here for anyone that hasn't created one or is thinking about tweaking theirs as they get back into hosting in the coming weeks.
I recommend a binder with page protectors for your guide. Easy to switch out and clean. We do not do a digital guide.
Re your #2, I have a trick for ensuring guests have to crack open the welcome book and read these things- it's the only place they will find the wifi password, which is the last item on the house manual page. I rarely get questions from guests during a stay!
I have not made any changes to my listing or welcome book because of the pandemic. No other hosts in my area updated their listings so I followed suit and left mine as it was.
My welcome binder includes:
1.) Hello from me (the host)
2.) Blurb about the age of the house
3.) House rules
4.) Parking information
5.) Details on all doors (keypad, locks, etc.)
6.) Internet troubleshooting
8.) Info on some unusual aspects of the house
9.) Shortlist for some reminders at checkout
Then I have two pages on restaurants recommendations in the area which I separate into categories:
1.) Casual Eats / To-Go
2.) Dining Out
4.) Good Eats outside of [my town]
Like @Laura2592 I would definitely recommend page protectors. And I don't like the digital guide because it seems like no one can ever find it or they read it after they book and then forget about it.
@Emilia42 I like the digital guidebook because it's so much easier to update than printed pages in a book, as updates are pretty frequent, but you are right that guests don't seem to find it or read it easily. I include a link to it in my messages. I don't really know how often the digital guidebook gets used. I wish Airbnb would improve this feature.
@Colleen253 I find that a very high percentage of my guests use the digital guidebook. Maybe it's just a locale thing? Kind of strange that its use would vary so much.
Also, a discovery: choose a place in your guidebook. Then scroll down and you'll see "places to stay nearby." Yes, not your place - other Airbnbs! But click through and, for the first time in my experience, every listing they show is ACTUALLY nearby. Not like when you search a specific town, and get everything within a 75-mile radius. This list shows places that are within 5 or 10 miles!
Is this backwards? I mean, who would be clicking through to a restaurant within the Airbnb website first, THEN choosing a place to stay? It's a nice feature, especially for the cross-referencing nerds among us, but how useful is it? And why is it so hard to get that kind of search result in the normal fashion?
You don't have to answer all this lol 🙂
There are two different pieces here we are all talking about. A host's Guidebook where you can recommend local restruants, attractions, etc. And the digital House Manual Guide which is available only to confirmed guests. Both areas are hard to find on the website and I do think it would be useful if Airbnb gave some insight into how many guests were clicking these links.
I know, I don't know why they seem so hard to find, @Emilia42 . I've only had one guest in seven years of hosting who told me she had found the Guidebook, the House Manual, and the Driving Directions on the site after booking. I just routinely send all three (text of the house manual and the driving directions and a link to the guidebook) to every single guest. I have it set up as a Scheduled Message.
I just don't understand who is going to the (publicly accessible) Guidebooks and clicking through and choosing places to stay based on their proximity to places they find there. That's the part I think is backwards.
@Ann72 I've found that you can actually search "attractions" on Airbnb and when you do it population listing directly close-by. The question is .. what are guests physically searching?
Since you'll be able to relate a little to this example:
When searching Orono, Maine, populated listings are all over the place. Some houses are over 45 minutes from Orono.
When searching "University of Maine" in Orono, the search is much more populated with listings close to this attraction.
Yes, that's exactly what I discovered, but my point is - how many guests choose the attraction first and then the stay second? A lot, a little, or it depends? I imagine if there is one location where you have to be - the University of Maine, for instance - you might well do that. Maybe all the guests who talk about Acadia start there, and then somehow find you or me, both an hour's drive away. I always just assumed people started with the place - the town or the area - narrowed down the map, and then took it from there with choosing an accommodation. Do guests know they can more easily narrow their search by simply choosing an attraction? Hmmmmm...