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First impressions are paramount when making your guests feel welcome at your holiday home. Guests are more likely to remember the small touches that make them feel special, giving them lasting memories of a wonderful holiday and a good reason to visit your holiday home again in the future.

From before they arrive to the end of their stay, there are some small steps that you can take to help your holiday let guests feel welcome along the way.

Reach out to guests before the holiday
Greet your guests in person
Provide an Information pack
Give guests a Welcome Basket
Stock up on the basics for your guests
Get your property ready for arrival
Consider the whole party of guests
Special occasions
Provide a guide to the local area
Little extras

Reach out to your guests before the holiday

When you let with Sykes, you’ll receive your guest’s contact details prior to their arrival. Many owners find it beneficial to contact the guests via phone or e-mail to introduce themselves and to offer any additional assistance that might be required, such as bed configurations or even advice on getting an online shop delivered.

Guests can sometimes feel more secure if they have a contact e-mail or a phone number, in case any issues should arise during their stay.

Of course, Sykes has a 24-hour phoneline for guests to contact in case of any emergency, but some owners prefer to be able to deal with any issues direct with the guests.

This initial contact can really help to put the guest at ease. If you are unable to contact the guests yourself, you could ask the people who manage your property to do this for you.

Greet your guests in person

If you live locally to your property, then a warm greeting in person can help to build rapport and ease the guest into their stay.

A smile and a friendly handshake can go a long way! If you’re not able to greet your guests in person then never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. Providing a small handwritten welcome note in your cottage is a lovely touch and lets your guests know that you care about their stay.

Provide an Information pack

Most visitors will be new to the area and the surroundings. Providing them with basic information about the property and the local area can be a great help. Guests will often rely on local recommendations such as the best pubs or activities for children or even the best bakery to visit! Let your guests know about anything that you think might help them or that you feel they might enjoy as part of their holiday.

A little background information on the property can also be a nice touch. Let them know how long you’ve had it and its best features – this works especially well if your holiday let is older or has an interesting history.

Contact numbers are also very useful for your guests. Even though most people have access to smart phones or the internet, not all customers will have access to these things.

Make sure you provide special instructions for how to use the TV and the WiFi if necessary. This also applies to any other aspect of the cottage that the guests might need help with, such as how to work the log burner, where to put the bins and how to use the hot tub.

Make sure that your information pack is easily accessible, for example, leave it on a prominent surface where it can be seen immediately. You don’t want your guests to have to search around for this information so don’t leave it a draw for the guests to find later on.

Tip: put the information in a plastic folder that can be wiped clean to make sure that it stays fresh. For further inspiration, you can read our full guide to information packs here.

Give guests a Welcome Basket

Make your guests feel special with a basket of goodies for them to tuck into when they arrive. Just the sight of a welcome basket can give a wonderful impression that shows that you really care about their stay.

Do you have a local bakery that could provide a special pack of biscuits or perhaps a loaf of bread and some homegrown fruits? If so, popping them into a basket and presenting them to your guests with a note is a great way to help them settle in.

It’s also a great way to gain rave reviews because people like to take quick photos of things that please them. Having a guest share a picture of your welcome basket will go along way to boosting your ratings online.

For further inspiration you can read our top tips on how to make your property stand out.

Stock up on the basics for your guests

Just because your holiday let is self-catering, it doesn’t mean you can’t help your guests by providing some basics for them upon arrival.

Some of your guests may have travelled a long way and could be very tired by the time they set foot into the holiday home. Trying to seek a local shop for essentials can be tiresome.

Providing essentials such as tea, coffee, milk and sugar can go a long way to making your guests feel special, especially if you present them in a lovely basket or wicker box.

Cooking essentials like salt, pepper and cooking oil are common items you’d find in your own home, but may forget to take to a holiday let. By providing these for your guests, you’ll be making the right impression.

Get your property ready for arrival

This may seem like an obvious thing, but having a checklist to make sure that the property is ready for the next guests goes a long way to making sure that the first impressions are good.

Don’t forget to check:

  1. Have you provided wood or coal for the fire? If these are not included, have you advised the guest where they can get them from?
  2. Has the property been fully cleaned? Go through your cleaning checklist and make sure you’ve covered everything.
  3. Have you made sure that guests have received their instructions regarding the keys to the property and any information about arrival that they may need to know beforehand?
  4. Does the doorway look clean and presentable? Clear the path and make sure the front door of the property looks well-kept and inviting.

Showing that you have worked hard to prepare for you guests arrival will make all the difference to that first impression when they walk through the door.

If you have concerns about welcoming guests during covid-19, you can read our full guide here for further information.

Consider the whole party of guests

Children and pets can often be overlooked as we try to please the adults. Take the time to find out who is coming to the property. Will there be lots of children? Maybe some young infants that might need a high chair or a cot?

When putting together your welcome pack, try to think of everyone and what they might be interested in, or what their needs might be.

Take time to point out any child-friendly attractions or good dog walking routes. This can be really helpful to the guests and shows them that you have thought about how to make their stay special.


Special occasions

It’s very common for people to take time away to celebrate special occasions. From hen parties to 6oth birthdays, family and friends love getting together away from home to celebrate. Perhaps your property is small, cosy cottage that’s popular with couples, in which case it’s likely you’ll get people visiting on their anniversaries.

See if you can find out if there is a special reason for their stay. You could offer to provide some bubbles on their arrival, or even arrange for the property to be decorated if the holiday is a surprise.

Service like this is much more likely to be remembered and therefore guests are more likely to leave your property a rave review. For further information, read our guide on how to improve your guest reviews.

Provide a guide to the local area

Providing your guests with expert knowledge of the area, like where to eat and local days out, will let your guests know that you care about their stay. Try to include this information in your welcome pack, or let your visitors know that they can contact you for advice on places to visit and restaurants to eat at during their stay.

Make sure to avoid telling your guests what they can’t do in the area and focus on the things they can do.

Little extras

Along with welcome baskets, personal greetings and information packs, there are some little extras you can put into your property to really put the cherry on the top of your guest’s holiday:

A bunch of fresh flowers in the property, or a nice cake can really impress your visitors and encourage them to share their experience at your cottage with others, increasing word of mouth and encouraging new potential customers.

Toys and games for children are a great way to show that you have really thought about your guests. If you know that your party includes children, then providing some games and activities for them is a lovely touch. You can even mention it in your information pack, or tell your guests about it if you greet them in person.

 Treats for beloved pets are a wonderful way to welcome furry friends to the property. Dogs are part of the family too, so if your property is pet-friendly and you know that there is a dog or two coming to stay, then you can include some doggie treats in your welcome basket, or a few toys for them to play with during their stay.

For more inspiration, check out our 10 essentials to include in a guest welcome pack.


If you’re just starting out in the the holiday letting business or seeking a fresh approach to enhance your guests experience, we hope that you have found inspiration in this post to help you out.

Read our handy guide for more ways to boost your rental income.

Let your property with Sykes and earn up to £125,000 per year*

  • Join over 15,000 holiday properties already working with Sykes Cottages
  • We welcome over 26 million web visitors a year
  • Many of our owners achieve more than 45 bookings a year
  • We specialise in turning your holiday property into a profitable year-round income for you

*Based on a 7 bedroom property in the Lake District with bookings between October 2017 to September 2018.

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