Vacation Rental Advice - Creating a Guest Handbook

You probably don't offer concierge service at your vacation rental - so where can your Guests find answers to questions about your property or the nearby amenities?

Unless you like receiving a lot of telephone calls from your Guests, your answer should be: the Guest Handbook!

Learn what items or information to include in your vacation rental guest handbook, including:


Plus, learn how helps make sure your Guests have the info they need.


Property-Specific Information

Vacation Rental - Property Info
This section is the most important part of your guest handbook. You know your property inside and out, but your Guests have never seen it. What's obvious to you may be completely foreign to your Guests (eg. they may be used to starting the fire by flicking a switch, but you have a wood-burning fireplace).
Be sure to address the following property-specific items in your handbook:

  • How to turn on the heat or air conditioning and adjust the temperature
  • How to control your fireplace and instructions for use
  • How to operate the dishwasher
  • How to operate the oven
  • How to use the garburator or other non-standard kitchen features
  • How to use the BBQ (make sure they turn the gas off after use)
  • How to operate the TV remote and which remotes go with each electronic device you have
  • Where to find hidden light switches
  • How to connect to the internet
  • How to use the telephone and instructions relating to your phone plan (making it clear what they will be charged extra for)
  • How to properly lock up the home when they leave
  • Where they can find extra supplies (such as toilet paper, towels, light bulbs, garbage bags, etc)
  • Where or how they can dispose of garbage
  • How to operate the hot tub, sauna or other special amenities you offer
  • How to pull out the sofa bed and the best configuration of furniture for maximizing space

    And just in case your Guests don't read your handbook from cover to cover right away, you might want to label instructions on the item or the appliance itself for easy reference (eg. labelling your remotes with the electronic device they operate).

Destination Specific Information

Vacation Rental Advice - Timetable
During your visits to your vacation home you've probably learned quite a bit about the area and know your way around well. You've may have also picked up some tourism pamphlets or brochures.

It's taken you awhile to accumulate this knowledge and information so save your Guests the time learning it for themselves and share what you know! It'll make their vacation more relaxing and allow them to maximize their "fun" time.
Below are recommended destination-specific instructions or information to include in your handbook:

  • Directions to the nearest grocery store, pharmacy and liquor store
  • Directions to tourist attractions in your destination
  • Common area hours (pool, laundry room, games room, etc)
  • Information on public transportation and nearest bus/subway stops (include transportation timetables if you can)
  • Approximate taxi fare to popular places to visit
  • Currency-related information (where to exchange money, where they can find an ATM machine, what forms of payment are widely accepted in your area, etc)
  • Phone numbers for maintenance emergencies, housekeeping and yourself
  • Phone numbers and websites for the local tourism office
  • Phone numbers for police, fire and other emergency services
  • Local maps (provide a few copies as Guests will often take these with them)
  • Brochures or pamphlets for attractions in your area
  • Coupons for attractions, restaurants or activities you've collected
  • Restaurant menus (especially for pizza joints that deliver)
  • A folder for Guests to add pamphlets, menus or other materials they've collected


Tips & Advice

Vacation Rental Tips - Restaurants
The destination-specific information listed above is all great to include but many Guests will appreciate an "insider's" perspective on things. Sure you can list all the restaurants in the area, but which ones are really good? What are your favourite activities to do when you vacation at your home?
Below are some suggestions on tips or advice to include in

  • Good restaurants with cheap eats
  • Restaurants kids will love
  • Best fine dining restaurants
  • Best coffee shops
  • Best locals' hangouts
  • Your favourite activities (both in the town/city as a whole and ones right on your doorstep)
  • Best nightspots (for various age groups and tastes)
  • Best places for shopping
  • Best beaches, ski runs or other recreational areas to explore
  • Areas Guests should specifically avoid (if any)
  • Best daytrip adventures
  • Your favourite local beers, wines, other drinks and food Guests should try
  • Create a top ten list of your favourite things to do while vacationing at your home (people love lists)

How Helps Make sure your Guests Have the Info They Need

Rental Advice - Email
You can spend the time creating a stellar guest handbook for your property but every now and again you'll have someone who walks off with it or rips out pages. That's why it's always a good idea to keep copies of your guest handbook material so you won't be recreating the wheel every time this happens.
In the meantime, while you're putting together a new handbook you'll likely have Guests staying in your property. That's why it's always a good idea to include the most important information from the guest handbook in an email to your Guest prior to their departure for their vacation. Encourage them to print it out and bring it with them - in their carry-on luggage.
Because we're human, some of us might forget to send this email. The online reservation system makes sure you keep a perfect record in this department by automatically emailing your check-in package when a Guest makes full payment for a reservation. Create a template with all the information listed above once and every time a Guest makes full payment they will receive it. The reservation system never forgets!

Subscribe with and get reservation management tools to process bookings instantly online. You'll also receive a private, unbranded website that uses the same online booking engine to process reservations from anywhere you advertise! Learn more about subscribing with is now accepting vacation rentals in all destinations*. We'd love to hear from you if you own a vacation home in a destination we don't currently serve and are interested in a free trial subscription with us. Please contact us with your vacation rental/destination details.

*Please note that at this time our online payment feature is only available for those with Canadian bank accounts. A more diverse rent processing system is in the works.

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