I’ve stayed in many vacation rentals over the years from a beachfront cottage in a Cornish village to a Sedona estate; a Maui condo to a Costa Rica villa. Each one has been a unique experience – some traditional and rustic; others trendy and modern – however, what stood the best out from the rest was the quality of the welcome. This doesn’t mean a physical meeting with an owner or a caretaker although that has happened on occasion; it was more the first impression created on our arrival by the sight, sound, smell, and yes – even taste that greeted us.
After a long journey, often with a stop on the way for shopping, we usually arrive hungry and tired. The last time we went to UK and walked into our small and perfectly presented Peak District cottage it was a delight to open the fridge and find a large bowl of fresh local strawberries, a pot of cream and a plate of home-baked cup cakes. In Maui there was a tray of fresh pineapple, mango and melon, while the Ontario log cabin we visited in the depths of winter enveloped us with the aroma of a pot of soup in a slow cooker. The thoughtfulness of these owners delivers a first impression that lasts for a long time after the tasty treats are gone.
Left In the Dark
Not all our experiences have been great. Arriving at a vacation home after dark, struggling to find the light switch and then spending another ten minutes locating the key that was on a hook under a dark, spider infested deck, was not pleasant. Follow that by walking into a musty and damp feeling cabin and hearing a scuffling sound as the resident mice made way for us. We were totally spooked by the place. When we finally got the lights, water and heat on and inspected the place, it really wasn’t bad, but the feeling of having arrived on the set of a horror movie didn’t leave us for quite a while.
Soft Lights and Music
Contrast that with a brightly lit porch, an unlocked door and a walk- in to the sound of classical music and warmth from the flickering flame of a wood stove or fireplace. The effort that went into creating the ambience of this arrival wasn’t huge, since it only needed a ten minute visit from a caretaker prior to our arrival to set it up, but the impact was impressive. Add to that a personally addressed note from the owners and we felt, welcomed and expected which was a very pleasant start to the vacation.
Providing a well presented vacation rental may be enough to please and appeal to guests, but going that extra mile to really welcome them can create raving fans who will write five star reviews and tell all their friends about it. Isn’t that what we all want?
What would make a perfect welcome for you? How do you welcome your guests?