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Industry, Short Term

Why is a Property Home Guide so Important?

March 2, 2020 – 5 minute read – by Harriet Cotton

When starting their short-term property rental journey, one of the first things we ask our owners to do is draft and create their property home guide.  This is a document that outlines all to “how to’s”, idiosyncrasies and general information about the property and its workings.

The guide hosts a heap of information, from what the wifi code is to how to use the washing machine. But why is it so important you may ask?

Our top 5 reasons why a home guide is so important:

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A home guide is a major touch point with your guests

When a guest checks into your property, the home guide is one of the first things they will find. Often they are handed it with their key pack or it is left on the kitchen table so they are immediately drawn to it on their arrival. This makes the home guide one of the first touchpoints your guests have with your home and therefore its quality and importance are paramount.

If guests read what you have written at the beginning of their stay, their whole experience of your home will be richer from that point. The quality of the home guide should reflect the quality of your home and the customer will notice this from day one.

As an owner using a property management company, you don’t meet or talk to the people staying in your home.  But your home guide is your communication point with them and your way of portraying your expectations and level of care for your home.

It’s simple – informed guests are better guests

It sounds simple, but the more information you provide your guests, the better prepared they are to look after your home as you would. If you set expectations, highlight tips and tricks, convey idiosyncrasies and emphasise important information then your guests will understand your home better and ultimately treat it better.

If you use the home guide to explain how to work the washing machine or dishwasher in the way that you use it, then you should come back to find that settings haven’t been changed and the wrong buttons haven’t been pushed! Houses are full of unique workings and it is important to remember that guests haven’t been in your property before, may not have used the same brand of devices before, and don’t understand where things go/what needs to be done to ‘keep house”. Therefore the more information your home guide has the more informed your guests will be.

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It’s protection for your property

Ultimately your home guide is a layer of insurance for your home.  If things are highlighted in your home guide as a “don’t do” or “please make sure” and guests don’t follow this, then we are in a much stronger position to claim against their security deposit for damages or negligence. It is much harder for us to do if guests were not informed about something in the first place and therefore not aware that they should be looking after something in a specific way. One can’t assume that guests instinctively know or will use “common sense” regarding how to look after your home.

A great example is an awning that you know bends in the wind. If it is highlighted in your home guide that the awning needs to be brought in each night or when it is windy, then guests should follow these instructions and if they don’t then we would be in a stronger position to charge for a broken awning. But if it is not highlighted or put in the home guide and guests aren’t told that they have to bring it in when it is windy and it gets damaged then the blame cannot be put on them for something they were not told.

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It’s a ‘Go To’ for your property manager

Your home guide and the information you provide in it are often the first point of reference for your property manager should a guest call and not understand how something works.  Being able to troubleshoot guest queries using the home guide is a major benefit for property managers and can save time and money for you in the long run by avoiding sending trades out for simple fixes.

The home guide gives your property manager an insight into what machines and their models are in your property meaning that they can look up the manuals to understand how they work or pass on the information to trades if needed. It also helps give guidance to what the property manager should look out for when inspecting the property pre and post-guest departure.

It’s a local area guide

Often guests coming to your home won’t know the in and outs and secret spots of the area.  The home guide is a great place to promote your favourite spots for coffee, brunch, drinks, and shopping. It’s a way for you to impart your local area wisdom and show off that you know the best places to go! It is this kind of information that makes the difference between a good stay and a great one.

Your guests will feel like their trip has been customised for them and you will have delivered a great guest experience through an informal and useful communication tool.

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We know that drafting a home guide can be a time-consuming exercise – but the time taken will serve many sets of guests to come.  It is the best way for you to communicate your expectations to your guests and to guide them through your home. It will give you peace of mind and them the best stay possible. The ability for a guest to self-resolve using the home guide is a blessing for them as well as us and prevents unnecessary communication and costs.

Happy Homeguiding!