The Airbnb welcome binder or house manual is something many hosts don’t think to have when they’re preparing their home for short-term rentals. When we started managing other people’s listings, we soon found that about 50% of the homeowners did not have any sort of welcome book or binder.
Your welcome binder doesn’t have to be too fancy – we use a standard 3-ring binder for ours. Make sure it is placed somewhere visible, like the dining or coffee table, where it will be easily seen. Also remember to label it the “welcome binder,” so that your guests know what it is! Be sure to laminate the pages or put them in sleeves, otherwise they will get dirty or ripped over time.
Don’t want to create your own? Check out & download one of our fully editable templates:
We usually list the house rules on the very first page of our welcome binder, including the rules regarding the security deposit. Sure, they’re also included in our listing description, but guests sometimes forget what they read on the listing once they’re in the home. Additionally, if there is ever a dispute with a guest about a violation of a house rule, you’ll be glad you put the rule both in the listing description and the welcome binder. That will help you if you have to escalate the issue to Airbnb. You’ll also want to include a summary of the most important rules in your automated check-in and check-out messages.
Your guests will love that your home offers a gas fireplace, grill, or spa, but they may not be familiar with using amenities that they don’t have in their own home. Keep this in mind when putting together your Airbnb welcome binder. Include instructions for how to use any items that aren’t standard in most homes. You don’t need to tell them how to use the microwave or coffee maker, but you should let them know how to open the chimney flue or turn off the propane for the grill.
For older guests, turning on your smart TV may be a challenge. Especially if you provide cable or streaming services in your Airbnb listing. You’ll definitely want to include instructions for getting to the cable input or streaming apps in your Airbnb welcome binder.
If you have other smart devices such as smart lighting, smart locks, or a smart thermostat. you’ll need to provide instructions for operating those as well. When used correctly, these devices can make for a very cool and convenient guest experience – they’ll rave about the features in their reviews. Our Airbnb bluetooth speaker is the most commonly mentioned thing in 5-star reviews. Implemented incorrectly, these devices could lead to guest frustration and a feeling of negativity when it’s time to leave a review.
If you do have any of these devices, you should consider getting Alexa for your rental. Alexa will make controlling smart devices without needing mobile apps easier for guests. You’ll want to provide an in-depth section on your Airbnb welcome binder for guests who aren’t familiar with Alexa. Once you get everything in place, you will find that the added convenience improves your value rating on Airbnb.
Airbnb guests are usually from out of town and looking to relax in a new and exciting area. They will appreciate any help you can provide when deciding how to spend their vacation. Give your guests information about local attractions, parks, lakes/beaches, and any activities you would enjoy if you were staying there yourself. If you can include brochures and contact information for these activities in or near your Airbnb welcome binder, that’s even better! These are often available for free at your local tourism center or Chamber of Commerce. If you have an Alexa device in your listing, you can make use of the Vacation Rental Concierge App.
Most people are hungry after a long flight or drive. One of the first things your guests will do when they arrive is to try and figure out where to eat. Provide them with a variety of options and recommendations in your Airbnb welcome book. Try to give them recommendations for different types of food (Italian, Mexican, American, etc.), and formal restaurants as well as casual dining options. Guests also love personal recommendations that show you know the area well. We love to pick up menus from local restaurants to include in our welcome binder, and we have a section for delivery options in case they’re too tired to go out.
Some areas have very specific local ordinances and rules that apply to short-term rentals. At our main rental, for example, no outdoor trash is permitted, and guests must take their trash to the local facility. Certain areas also ban outdoor fires or fireworks. It’s important to make your guests aware of these local rules to avoid issues with their stay – you don’t want to have your own hosting horror story!
It’s a good idea to include important local phone numbers in your Airbnb welcome binder. This would include safety and emergency numbers like the local fire and police departments and location of the nearest emergency room. We like to provide the forestry service phone number as well, along with the host’s phone number for emergencies.
We’ve got you covered. Download one of our fully editable Welcome Book templates. Great for any host who wants something that looks professional for their listing and ensures their guests are on-boarded in the right way.
Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.
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