As a judge for the 2018 HomeAway holiday rental awards, HB Editor-in-chief Wendy Moore has visited some beautiful rental properties, shortlisted for the win and presented at the top of their game to ensure a good night’s rest and high-quality experience for anyone who stays within.
1. Make your guests feel instantly at home
Arriving at a new destination always comes with at least a little anxious anticipation, so your goal is to turn the anxious anticipation into excited anticipation in the first moment. A lovely welcome letter, a welcome gift or hamper is a great start, think convenience, fresh milk in the fridge, some fruit or bread can make a real difference to the first moments in your home.
2. Keep it clean!
It sounds so simple, but a clean house makes for a lovely holiday. There is absolutely nothing worse than discovering someone else's dirt in a house you’re trying to relax in! Invest the time, energy and money if necessary to keep your home sparkling.
3. Fresh linen and towels make simple luxuries
Knowing that you don’t have to pack these items when you go on holiday is a real bonus, and seeing fresh, clean and good quality linen and towels on arrival in a real comfort. It speaks volumes to your guests when you make this effort.
4. Make it feel like home
People book a HomeAway property because they want the feeling of a home rather than a hotel. Make sure the little things are there, books, games, movies and wifi are all simple pleasures. Your personality is what makes this home feel welcoming, so don’t be shy to leave that feeling of home with art, accessories and even a few family pictures.
5. Help them feel like a local
Leaving all the instructions for not just the home, but the surroundings is a great addition to any welcome pack. Make it easy to work the coffee machine, the dishwasher, the entertainment system, but also leave some local information – some great restaurant recommendations, day trips and phone numbers for some local experiences always helps to make a good holiday great.
6. Stock your kitchen!
If you’re a food, then sometimes the luxury of staying in a home rather than a hotel is having the time for cooking some fabulous meals and treats. Make it easy by keeping the pantry stocked with basics so your guests are instantly inspired.
7. Make contact
Obviously, you don’t want to hover over your guests, but making yourself easily available for help or questions is a must. My best experience is having a homeowner actually contact us to offer us tickets to a show at a discount! Such a small thing, but it did really feel like we were being taken care of.
8. Let the long-term guests settle
If you have guests staying for a week or more, I think it’s a great idea to have a cleaner drop in at a convenient time to do a quick clean and linen change. For those of us who do the housework, that little touch feels like a massive luxury!
9. The little comforts matter
If you have a great outdoor entertaining area, a thoughtful touch is to leave a basket of small blankets by the door, so your guests can enjoy the outdoor space even when the weather gets cool. If you have an open fire, indoors or out, leave the fire all ready to light and a stack of wood in an easy to see spot. It’s a temptation few can resist and those moments really make memories.
10. Follow up post holiday
There is such a great opportunity to finish the holiday on a positive note. A short email or review on your guests and how well they took care of your home is a great sign to new guests that this is a home that promises a memorable holiday.
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