Column: Writing A Vacation Rental House Manual

January 3, 2020 | 2 Comments

[Column written by Ade Brown]

Do you often have guests that message you with questions about the best ways to get to and from the airport? How about renting scooters? If so, you know how much time it takes to write to individual guests and answer their questions.

So what do you do? First, use automated responses on your channel bookings apps. This can help in answering the most generic questions but how do you handle more specific questions. How can you add more value to your guests’ stay? Many hosts have found success in creating a House Manual but there are a few things you should know before you start putting together a manual to ensure that you offer your guests accurate and useful information.

This post will tell you what you need to do to successfully create a House Manual.

First thing’s first: the easiest and cheapest way to begin creating your manual is to purchase a small three ring binder with some pockets in the front and back [we will tell you why later]. You will also need a pack of hole-punched clear plastic sleeves, a computer, printer and printer paper.

The first things you should include in your House Manual are your house rules. Make sure that these rules are consistent with the rules highlighted on your listing sites and website. See our article on tips on how to make a website. Your house rules should include the following:

  • Extra guests
  • Smoking
  • Off-limit areas
  • Eating areas
  • Children
  • Pets
  • Cleaning Procedures
  • Laundry
  • Parties
  • Quiet hours

You also want to add a guide of local amenities. Think of the things that you would want to have access to if you were visiting a new place. Include nearby grocery, wine and convenience stores for guests who want to do some cooking. Also offer guests options for late night food and snacks. If you do not offer laundry at the property include the address and directions of a nearby laundromat.

Guests also appreciate a list of recommended restaurants. You can list them by breakfast, lunch and dinner or by type of cuisine. Make sure to include the address, phone number, hours of operation and price range of each restaurant. If you know that certain restaurants deliver to your address, make sure to specify this.

Then you want to include a list of general things to do such as:

  • Local beaches
  • Nearby parks
  • Must see sites and famous landmarks
  • Name and phone numbers of local boat and jet skiing rental companies
  • Name and phone numbers of local tours and guides
  • Make it personal by providing a list of your favorite places around the island and hidden gems
  • Information about local activities and events such as Harbor Nights

Guests usually need assistance with transportation around the island. In the House Manual, include helpful transportation information such as:

  • Bus schedule, map and directions to the nearest bus station
  • Ferry schedule and directions to the nearest ferry stop
  • A list of trusted taxi drivers along with their names and phone numbers

You can also include a list of emergency telephone numbers such as:

  • Police
  • Ambulance
  • Hospital
  • Your phone number or your management agency

While not necessary, some great bonus features of a good House Manual are brochures in the front and back pockets of your binder of activities around the island [you can collect these at the Bermuda Tourism office in town], a theater schedule highlighting upcoming shows and musical events, and a list of nearby churches making sure to include different religions and denominations.

The key is to make this House Manual as personable and helpful as possible.

Now that you know what to include on your House Manual, you’re ready to get started without worrying about missing important information.

- Ade Brown is a co-founder of AirHandled, a start-up company that aims to provide linen-for-hire, cleaning, supplies and management services; catering to short term rental properties that list on websites like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and Booking.com

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Comments (2)

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  1. Bermuda Bermuda says:

    Very informative! Finally some attention to detail

  2. Dumb says:

    There’s already an app for that!

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