What to include in a Holiday Accommodation Welcome Basket

Whether it’s your guest arriving at your holiday cottage, B&B, guesthouse or self catering accommodation, first impressions count. The good news is that as a holiday accommodation provider, this is something you have complete control over when your guest arrives. So how much should this first impression matter to you, after all, a guest has already researched your accommodation, paid their fee and arrived.

Not only does that initial welcome become vital towards you receiving a positive review on the Trip Advisor’s of this world – it can also go a long way to a recommendation to your guest’s friends and family and perhaps even the holy grail of holiday accommodation ownership – a repeat booking!

Today’s guests are an educated lot – and in most cases, will have high standards. After all, they’ve paid hundreds, if not thousands of pounds to stay within your holiday let or guesthouse, so why shouldn’t they expect a little extra effort? Not all guests will want a meet & greet service and at times, it’s not always possible to do so anyway. So an alternative, and thoughtful way to show how much you welcome your new arrivals, is to provide them with a Welcome Pack, Basket, or even Hamper.

Let’s take a little look at what you can provide, and how you can present it:

  • On arrival, your guest is full-to-the-brim with anticipation as to what lies inside their home or room for the duration of their break, so position your Welcome Pack in a prominent position. If your accommodation is a holiday home, consider positioning your Welcome Basket in one of the first rooms that will be explored by your guest. Depending on the layout of your holiday home, a kitchen or dining table, centrally positioned, is ideal. For hotels and B&Bs, it’s widely expected that some form of Welcome Pack will be provided and usually located on the main table, side unit or even the bed itself.
  • In terms of presentation, a hand woven wicker basket or hamper is a delightful way to display the condiments and gifts that you provide in the Welcome Pack. Line the basket with wood shavings or straw – not only will it add a charming, hand crafted appearance to the hamper, it’ll also protect the contents from any damage.
  • Your guests will no doubt be thirsty after a long journey. Before anything else, tea and coffee is a must. Don’t forget a a little pot of sugar, UHT milk and something to stir it with.
  • As some guests may have forgotten to bring food or were unable to, other essentials that are definitely worth including are fresh bread, butter, cheese and eggs – this is especially the case for self catering accommodation and for guests who may have arrived late, with no chance of shopping for supplies till the following day.
  • The smell of freshly baked bread, pastries or delicatessens are always widely appreciated. If homemade or from a local baker, this only helps to increase your guests’ sense of a warm welcome to the area.
  • Do not fall into the trap of leaving a previous guest’s partially opened condiments in the belief that’ll these will prove useful to your new guest. Not only is your new guest unlikely to want to use someone else’s food, they’ll have no idea of how fresh it is anyway. If you’ve left it lying around once, who’s to say it’s not been there for the past 3 months?
  • If you run a luxury or premium rated property, perhaps in the higher price bracket, then gifts should certainly be part of your marketing strategy. Quality local produce reflects the care and attention you clearly want to give to your Welcome basket (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article!). So think premium quality chocolates and confectionary, locally made artisan cheeses and chutneys, maybe a selection of ales from the local micro-brewery or something sweet, such as homemade fudge or a jar of honey produced from bees within a stones’ throw of your property.
  • The chances are, most edible gifts will be consumed whilst the guest is still on their holiday at your property. Therefore it is a good idea to include a gift or two that the guest can take away with them as a memento of their stay, a little nod your local area and a way of further cementing their affection for it. Aromatic candles and essential oils are always very popular, as are hand crafted bathroom products.
  • Not all marketing gifts need to cost the earth and some, have the habit of hanging around for many years. A good quality ceramic mug or premium porcelain mug are an everyday, household item that serves as a consistent visual reminder of your guests holiday in your accommodation. These premium quality mugs from Lizard Craft are emblazoned with images of your property and local attractions – with the added benefit of featuring your own website address or contact details for any future bookings. Booking directly next time avoids both you and your guest facing hefty Agency commission rates and so they pay for themselves in the long run.  Be sure to make it clear that your guest can take the mug away with them and that it is not for sole use during their stay.
  • Other items that can be included are details on local shops, taxi companies and places to eat. If you also provide a ‘Welcome Book’, these can of course be slotted into to the pages of this to keep things neat and tidy. That’s not to say duplication is a bad thing, so slide in a few leaflets of local attractions into your Welcome Basket.
  • Bear in mind that any item included in any Welcome ‘Basket’ or ‘Hamper’ is likely, and correctly, to be considered a gift and will be taken away by your guest. This differs to the Welcome Book on which there’s a common understanding that this should be left well-alone. Unless your Welcome Book is a visual, work of art – then perhaps locate this some distance from your Basket, but still clearly visible. You don’t want all your hard work crafting a stunningly beautiful Welcome Basket undone by a shabby old, dog eared Welcome Book sat alongside it. Indeed, if that is the case – consider investing in something a little more tasteful and premium looking.

Hopefully the above guide will provide some inspiration when it comes to creating a Welcome Basket that reflects the care and detail you clearly wish to provide your guests. One final thought, don’t forget a vase of freshly cut flowers to pop alongside your Welcome Basket – nothing says a warm welcome better than flowers!