Driving directions, local tourist guidance, maps, leaflets, advice and recommendations of where to go and what to do - these are the things that your guests value above almost all else.
As someone who can't leave my own home without Sat Nav and loves to eat somewhere that has been recommended, I know just how they feel!
Tourist information is the number one thing that your guests want when they arrive on vacation and the quality of this will make a tremendous difference to your guests enjoyment of your property.
Most vacation properties will have a folder of information – when to put the rubbish out, how the washing machine works, how to use the telephone system and the most cost effective way to do so etc. – and this is all essential.
The thing that will really please your guests though – and I speak as a villa owner and a villa renter – is tourist information, advice, simple driving directions and recommendations about what to do and where to go in the area.
A lot of people will arrive at your property with a road atlas, a tourist information guide book of the area and an idea of the things they would like to see and do, but, with your local knowledge you can really help them to miss out some of the tourist traps and see a bit of the real beauty of the area.
We all want to know where the local hidden treasures are, what tourist traps to avoid and where the locals eat, shop and relax.
A basket of leaflets of local attractions, discount coupons, a leaflet for the local pizza delivery service, a card for a local taxi firm - all these things will be useful to your guests.
Why not print a copy of the local weather forecast for the duration of your clients stay? Knowing when the best and worst days for weather are likely to be might be very useful for your guests as they plan their itinerary.
Is your area known for its local wildlife or birds? If so then your guests may enjoy a book on the subject to help them identify these creatures.
In addition to anything else you might provide, a Guest Book that your guests can write in recommending local restaurants, shops and attractions with with directions on how to get there is always an interesting read – especially if you can see comments from people with the same age children as your own.
I once had a holiday in Greece where every night we went to a restaurant recommended in the Guest Book – many of them wonderful places that we would never have found on our own.
Local maps and street atlases with useful and interesting places marked are very welcome.
It may be obvious to you but to your guests who are unfamiliar with the area they will be relieved to find directions to the nearest local supermarket, newsagent and pharmacy.
In the event of an emergency, the details of the local police, doctor and dentist would be very good to know and don’t forget that, if you have visitors from overseas, they may not know which codes to ring from your property so you need to be very clear in your instructions with telephone numbers.
A notice board next to the phone with instructions for use and emergency contact numbers could save vital minutes for your guests in the event of an emergency.
A large map of the state or county where your property is located helps guests to literally see the bigger picture and may be useful to them in planning their days out.
A well framed or mounted wall map is both attractive and functional.
One idea I like is to use maps like wallpaper. Paste local street guides, area and county maps, even country and world maps in a random and over-lapping way over a large wall in a den or recreation room.
If your property is in the US, RandMcNally have a terrific range.
So there you have it. What your guests want more than anything else is to not have to waste their precious vacation time finding out where everything is. They want to be presented with all the information, advice on where to go and simple driving directions (or public transport options)telling them everything they could possibly want without having to ask.