Guest Post: Ryan Danz of Air Concierge
It’s no secret that vacation rentals are getting more and more competitive, especially in highly booked vacation destinations, and this means that vacation rental owners are having to up their game to attract the most guests. At Air Concierge, one of the ways we do this is by stocking vacation homes with a welcome package. Guests simply LOVE the welcome package and often gush about it in their reviews of the property (which means even more bookings!). A simple gift to welcome your guests to your home sets the proper tone for their stay, makes them feel welcome, and most importantly reminds them that they’re staying in a unique home, not some generic hotel room.
But what do guests really want in their welcome package? What is the perfect item, or perfect combination, that gets those glowing 5-star reviews? Half of us here thought it would be chocolate, while the other half thought it would be fresh flowers. Both have their merits, and both are truly appreciated by the unsuspecting traveler. But we were looking for the best – the thing that would do it every single time. So we ran a test.
Over the summer we placed a box of local, gourmet chocolates in half of our vacation rental properties, while the other half got a vase of fresh, seasonal flowers, and recorded the guest response to each. We discovered that the overwhelming majority of guests preferred the chocolates!
But then we posted about the experiment on our Facebook page. In a notsosurprisingturn, the overwhelming Facebook majority was for both chocolates and flowers! By themselves, chocolate and flowers were tied for votes, and there was even a suggestion for wine being included in the welcome package. We also shared our findings with a few other vacation rental owners and discovered local, nonchocolate food items were also a big hit (examples included salmon jerkey for properties in the Pacific North West and local maple syrup for properties in Canada – this is the perfect opportunity to show your creativity!)
So which is really the best welcome package for vacation rental guests? If you can only include one item, go with some local gourmet chocolates (or, at the very least, a food item). Guests enjoy having a bit of something sweet to greet them after their travels, and returning at the end of a night in your town to find some leftover chocolates puts their mood in a happy place for the evening. But if you really want to up your game as a vacation rental owner, some chocolates and a simple vase of fresh flowers can be the difference between a 4 and 5-star review from an otherwise satisfied guest.
Regardless of what welcome gift you choose for your guests, remember that this too often neglected addition goes a long way and can bring you returns so many times more than the small cost of a box of chocolates.
Ryan Danz is the founder of Air Concierge, a vacation rental property management organization designed to improve the vacation and shortterm rental home experience for property owners and their guests. Ryan is also a California licensed attorney, wellversed in the tax matters surrounding shortterm rental properties and offers his insight to his clients.