There’s a lot to think about when starting your first ever holiday let.
You’ve done all the paperwork, including applying for council tax exemption and holiday let insurance, plus all the standard safety checks and fire risk assessment. Your listing has even been displayed prominently online accompanied by professional photos.
Well done – you’re ready for your first ever guests! But wait a minute… what exactly will they need?
Having guests stay for the first time can be a little scary, as you want to ensure they have the best possible stay (and tell all their friends) – but sometimes it’s the little essentials that are easiest to forget.
Don’t worry – I’ve helped advise many clients who have exactly the same fears, and I hope to do the same for you with this blog post.
Below, I’ve put together a checklist of everything you will need to welcome your first guests and make their stay a memorable one, for ALL the right reasons…
1. A clear set of instructions
One of the first things your guests are going to need when they arrive is a nicely laid-out, well-written set of instructions. No-one knows the property like the owner and things that may seem simple to you like switching the oven on or TV (which is my biggest source of problems) when you are unfamiliar with a property it can be very difficult.
They’re going to need to know how to switch the heating on, how to work the appliances, how to access the WiFi (more about that below) and any other bits and pieces they might need to know about the property.
It’s also a good idea to provide a copy of your latest fire risk assessment and any other bits of paperwork that will set their mind at ease about the safety of the property at the back of this guide.
One of the most asked questions I hear from prospective guests now is this: “Is there WiFi?”
If you don’t already have internet access and a wireless router installed in your property, I’d seriously consider paying a little extra to get this done. I find that most guests actually expect to have access to the internet during their stay now.
If possible, display the WiFi password in a prominent place such as on your router, as well as in your instruction booklet, so that your guests can easily get themselves connected.
3. A fully-equipped kitchen
You should try and equip the kitchen just as you would your own. You’re going to need cutlery, a full set of cooking utensils, can opener, pots and pans, and tea towels. Don’t forget to provide essentials such as soap, washing up liquid or dishwasher tablets, washing powder etc.
I find it’s also nice to leave some basic supplies such as tea bags, coffee, sugar, salt and pepper, and condiments – the little things that are a hassle to buy when you’re only going to be around for a week or weekend.
4. Fresh towels and linen
Good quality towels and linen are a must-have. If possible, try to select similar colours for when they need washed, as this makes everything just that little bit easier.
You should provide one set of towels (one bath and one hand towel each) per guest, but also have plenty of spares just in case. If possible, I’d also recommend providing mattress and pillow protectors.
5. Bathroom supplies
You should at least provide the very basics in your holiday let’s bathroom, such as soap, toilet paper, a mirror, and cleaning supplies/cloths. At least one full-size hairdryer somewhere in the property is also highly recommended.
You may also wish to go the extra mile and have some nice little extras such as shampoo and conditioner, although most guests will probably bring their own.
6. Laundry facilities
Your guests may want to use the washing machine during their stay, so provide them with some laundry detergent, a washing basket and a clothes horse (or tumble dryer) just in case they need it. An iron and ironing board is also essential.
7. A welcome basket
This is more a lovely surprise than a necessity, but I personally always like to do this for my guests. A bottle of wine or a basket of fruit and basic groceries goes a long way to making someone’s stay memorable.
If it’s a special occasion such as Valentine’s Day or Easter, you might wish to include extras such as a box of chocolates or Easter Eggs.
8. Pamphlets and tourist information
Just like the welcome basket, this isn’t always expected of you, but I find it’s a nice added touch to include some pamphlets and tourist information about local places of interest or attractions in the surrounding area. You should be able to pick some of these up at your local tourist information centre, as well as community centres and other local areas.
If you know the area particularly well, t’s also really nice when you make the effort to let your guests know about your favourite restaurants, walks or things to do – it adds a personal touch, and shows you care.
Plus, your guests will have a few nice options when considering how to spend their time, allowing them to be able to make the most out of their stay. You could add a typed out (or handwritten) page to include with the other tourist information.
9. A cleaner
It is absolutely vital that your guests arrive to a clean, well-presented property, as there’s nothing worse than going somewhere on your holiday and having to clean. If your guests are only staying for a week or weekend, they probably won’t need cleaning services during their stay.
If guests are staying longer than 7 days, I at least offer a cleaner and a towel/linen change, and for each 7 days thereafter. Always have a cleaner come in and scrub the place down in-between guests (some letting agencies will arrange this for you).
10. A gardener
Finally, it’s also important to have a well-kept garden that your guests will enjoy spending time in if they choose to do so. An unkempt garden can leave the property feeling not quite as polished as they’d have liked for their money, and it can ruin the mood of an otherwise brilliant holiday let.
Hiring a gardener to come in every few weeks and tend to your gardens means that they will always appear happy and well cared for.
TIP: In summer, it’s wise to arrange for the grass to be cut once a week so it looks nice for arrival. Many owners simply forget this or don’t think this is important.
There’s so much to consider when preparing your holiday let for its first ever guests, including all the standard paperwork and safety checks. Once you’ve dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts, you’re well on your way to ensuring your guests have the best possible stay.
However, it can still be a little daunting, as you want to make sure they have everything they need for a comfortable, enjoyable holiday. I’ve helped reassure many of my clients over the years, which is why I’ve put together the above checklist.
In summary, you will need:
- A clear set of instructions
- A fully-equipped kitchen
- Fresh towels and linen
- Bathroom supplies
- Laundry facilities
- A welcome basket
- Pamphlets and tourist information
- A cleaner
- A gardener
Are you fully prepared for your first guests?
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