As a host looking to create the perfect guest experience in your home, the importance of a great House Guide cannot be underestimated. The desire of your guests to experience authentic local life is increasingly becoming the key to satisfied guests, and your insight and knowledge are critical to unlocking this.
The perfect guide provides the right balance between the informative and instructive that covers all the operations of your home including safety features, emergency contact information and local transportation, and the ‘insiders’ local knowledge, that only you can share.
For the smallest investment of your time and effort, the return in terms of guest enjoyment can be enormous. The X factor in hosting is often the willingness of the host to share something of themselves. The personal experiences that makes them love their home, their locality and the people that live near them. A favourite coffee shop, local beachside walk or the best pub and dining experiences that the neighbourhood has to offer can invite your guest to enjoy their stay in a way that would previously be hidden from view.
To help you create your home guide, we have put together a list of five key sections to include and personalise:
1. Where to sample the best local coffee
Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to find – and a great coffee shop is a prime example of this. There is nothing like a little local knowledge to help guests feel at home on arrival. Providing your guests with your favourite local coffee shop and some of the highlights on the menu to sample, is a great way to welcome them to your neighbourhood.
2. Your favourite neighbourhood restaurant /takeaway
Of course guests can check Menulog or Google for nearby restaurants, but there is nothing worse than finding a spot for dinner and having it ruined by bad service or food. A recommendation from a real person is a lot more meaningful for guests as they provide insight that search engines just don’t provide. Be selective and provide descriptions that really illustrate what your guest will experience e.g.
“This is a great spot for an afternoon drink to watch the sunset. Past 5pm it turns into more of a small bar vibe with live music, lots of locals and tends to be packed by 6.30pm. Try a Stonewood with the salt and pepper squid for a light snack or the Chicken Parmigiana for dinner”.
3. Local beaches, parks and ‘hidden gems’
Sometimes a neighbourhood's greatest attraction can be the natural spots given to us by Mother Nature. If your spot is located in an obvious outdoor destination (large tourist populated beaches etc.) this may not be necessary. However, the tourist track is not always where the greatest natural beauty is hidden, and providing information on how to discover little known corners of the area normally reserved only for locals, can add great value to your guests’ experience.
If your home is located in the city or a highly urban area where green space isn’t nearby – any public beach, coastal walks; trails should be clearly highlighted and emphasised in your guide.
4. Local transport links
In most cities, guests rely on public transport as an easy and cost effective way to get out and about. However, getting to know where to catch the bus, the timetable, where to purchase tickets from etc can be a great source of frustration. Provide an outline of the closest transport hubs (bus stops, train stations, etc.) with travel time and distance to allow guests an easier trip when navigating your neighbourhood. Let them know the average cost of a trip to popular destinations and where to purchase their tickets or travel cards from. This will not only save them time, but will make their experience a lot less stressful!
5. Local Grocery stores and Pharmacies
An essential part of any guest stay is knowing where they are going to be buying their food and provisions from for the duration of their stay. Also knowing where the local pharmacy is located in case they need any specialist items not available at the local grocery is very important to provide . Include the main store location details, together with opening hours and directions. If there are any specialist stores that are particular favourites of yours, for example the local delicatessen or bakery, include these details together with your recommendations on their specialities again adding that insiders knowledge and local feel..
The recommendations above will certainly help you to create a guide that every guest who shares your home will value and rely upon throughout their stay. These elements when combined with the operational and practical instructions for your home will provide everything someone new to your home and locality will need for an enjoyable stay.
Have we forgotten any key areas that you put in your home guide? What have been the most important inclusions in your House Manual? Let us know in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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