Happy Arrivals – Getting Your Guests to Their Destination

What does this quote in a Washington Post article have to do with vacation rental owners? “Studies over the past decade have shown that women are likelier to rely on landmarks and visual cues, and men on maps, cardinal directions (such as north and south) and gauges of distance.”

It’s simple really. According to research men like to be told the distance between places, and women are happier when the directions say ‘turn right at the white church on the corner of the village green’ or some such visual landmark. So, the directions we give should incorporate both.

We are responsible for providing directions to our guests to ensure they arrive not only safely, but in a happy frame of mind. If they get there after taking the wrong turn, driving for aimless miles looking for a sign that is hidden in the undergrowth or trying to find a landmark covered in snow, their first impression of the property is going to be marred by the fresh experience of the journey.

We tend to be so familiar with the route to our paradise it’s easy to forget that it needs to be described in detail to guests, particularly if their likely reliance on a GPS is going to land them in trouble. I recall going to view a cottage in a fairly remote location and inputting the address into my in-car system. When it gave me a much quicker route than the owner had supplied, I took off following the technology and got increasingly concerned as the roads became narrower and more overgrown. There were still Stop and Give Way signs but they were very small and low to the ground which seemed odd until I finally realized I was attempting to navigate a snowmobile trail! At least I was in a 4WD vehicle but eventually had to turn around before I finally reached the destination some time later. Most people are now so reliant on technology to take them places, they will do what I did and favor that over any manual or map related instructions.

• If GPS will guide them accurately, provide basic directions and a specific address

• Instruct guests to ignore GPS if it is likely to divert them in the wrong direction

• Use Google Maps if they are accurate but also include landmark-based instructions

• In remote areas be specific with landmarks and distance-related information

As with many aspects of providing information to guests, it’s best to be specific, comprehensive but as simplistic as possible. Get friends to try out your directions/instructions and act on their feedback. Having your guests arrive after a smooth and uneventful journey is a major key to getting a great testimonial.