By including as much detail as possible in the directions you send to your renters, you could be preventing those late night phone calls when they first arrive.
If your guests know what to expect and what to look out for from a thorough set of directions, they'll be more likely to answer their own questions before picking up the phone to call you.
1. What to look for if they've driven too far. When travelers first arrive in a new destination, they can get easily distracted by their surroundings and then start to worry that they have passed your home or street. By providing “you've driven too far if” instructions (including landmarks), your guests are more likely to find your home on the first try and less likely to waste time driving around.
2. Which way to turn out of your driveway. Many owners provide directions instructing their renters to head north, south, east or west out on their street. It might be simpler to just say “left” or “right.” That way when your guests are ready to venture out, they don't have to rely on their internal compasses and can instead just hit the road.
3. Where to find elevators, stairwells, or luggage carts for a condo or apartment complex. Sure you might have great directions for how to reach your complex and even how to find your specific unit once inside. But think about families traveling with a week's worth of suitcases, baby gear, and groceries. They're going to need to know where to find the elevators and luggage carts. Even if you don't have elevators, include directions to find the stairwells because it may not be obvious to people unfamiliar with the complex.
4. Reliability of cell phone reception. Many vacation homes are located in remote destinations or areas with unpredictable cellular reception. Your guests are most likely used to being reachable via cell phone, so if you know this is an issue, it's smart to provide fair warning. You will also want to offer alternatives or explain the phone service in your home so they can prepare.
5. Where to find the circuit breaker and shut-off switches. In case of emergency, renters should be able to locate these spots quickly and easily. Including a description in your directions might encourage them to seek these out upon arrival so they are prepared in case of a short, broken pipe or other problem.
6. How they can recycle during their stay. Provide instructions for where to find the recycling bins and what can and cannot be recycled. That way when your guests come in from a long drive, they can immediately place their plastic soda bottles and mini cereal boxes into the appropriate recycling bin.
7. How to find discounts and coupons for local stores and attractions. If you know where to find coupon books or discounted prices for local restaurants or attractions, provide these insider tips for your renters so they can appropriately budget for their trip.
8. Warnings about weather and wildlife. Keep in mind that your guests may not be used to the environment around your home, and they are therefore unfamiliar with the associated risks. Depending on the type of location, you should provide information about how to deal with local insects or wildlife (like snakes, bears, sharks, etc.), what to do in case of rip tides, how to drive in snowy conditions, and so on.
9. How to work things. Just because you know how to fix things in your own home doesn't mean renters will know how to handle the same situation. If you know of any nuances with certain equipment or appliances, spell it out up front. Also include instructions for using the TV/DVD player, surround sound, wireless Internet and routers, trash compactor, garbage disposal, fancy coffeemaker, unusual faucets, ceiling fans, thermostat, etc. You can also leave behind any instruction booklets or manuals you have for your appliances and electronics.
10. Directions to local medical facilities. So much of your vacation rental directions are preparing for the what-ifs. Let your renters know where to find local clinics, hospitals, nearby pharmacies and 24-hour pharmacies in case of emergencies.
© Copyright HomeAway, Inc. 2008