What goes into the process of choosing a travel location? Many people may have seen a charming, beautiful picture of a place, and wanted to experience the awe of it first hand. For others, perhaps a friend or family member suggested a specific area. But many guests get to their location, and are overwhelmed with the sights, sounds, and feel of the place. For some, they often get to their destination and think, “I’m here. Now what?”

When you own and operate a vacation rental property, you’re running a business. Customer service and support can significantly increase your business reputation, and also help you use word-of-mouth marketing when guests tell all their friends how great of a stay they had at your place. So what can you do to help make your guests’ vacations more enjoyable? You can create a local tour guide for them, so they have an excellent idea of where to go and what to see.

What’s a local tour guide?

A local tour guide is similar to a welcome letter, but it is more substantial and offers guests a list of specific places to visit and things to do while they enjoy their stay in your area. Guests can find tour guides incredibly useful because they aren’t familiar with the place. They don’t know what the best eateries are, where the little out-of-way, charismatic sightseeing destinations are located, nor do they know the topography or history of the place.

Your tour guide can include a list of sites to visit, but also valuable resources that can make a person’s stay less stressful and more enjoyable. You can add maps, directions, and phone numbers of popular destinations, restaurants, and shops.

How can you make your tour guide stand out?

Think about the type of people who stay in your vacation rental. Are you in an area that attracts hikers, adventurers, and campers? Or are your target customers history buffs and into the architectural beauty of your city? Perhaps you tend to attract a lot of families with small children. When crafting your tour guide, you want to think about your guests’ unique interests, and include things in the guide that will appeal to those interests.

What types of destinations and resources can you include in your tour guide?

  • A brief history of your area.
  • What you love about the area and what they might enjoy.
  • Favorite restaurants and eateries and what types of food they serve.
  • Historical buildings, tours, and tour companies.
  • Amusement parks and other sightseeing adventures.
  • Hiking destinations, nature trails, and parks.
  • Shopping centers.
  • Web pages.
  • Hours of operation and phone numbers.

How should you open your tour guide?

The first few pages of the tour guide should include a welcome letter and an explanation of what guests will find in the rest of the guide. You’ll want a table of contents so they can easily navigate to the different sections, and a list of resources in the back where they can access phone numbers, web pages, or maps. It’s also a good idea to include things like hours of operation for some of the most popular destinations so guests can plan their itinerary.

If there is a particular restaurant that is a major destination point for travelers, let guests know that the place is often booked and they should reserve a table in advance, so they aren’t disappointed. Is the traffic on the main street in your city horrible at certain hours of the day? Your guests might want to know these things so they can plan accordingly. Let them know where items are located in your vacation rental too, so they aren’t inconvenienced or frustrated. Make sure to include little tips and advice like that so they can quickly navigate the area and make the most of their stay.

Guests may also enjoy a brief history of your area at the beginning of the guide. The history section can include historical buildings or sites that guests can check out and why they might find them interesting. Like you would for a welcome letter, always add a way to contact you in the tour guide in case they have questions or concerns. An informative, helpful tour guide can make your destination stand out and delight your guests.