Digital Guest Guide for Vacation Rental Hosts

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In this guide you will learn how to create a digital guest guide for your accommodations and all the benefits for your vacation rental business operations.

What is a digital guest guide?

A guest welcome guide or digital welcome book contains all the important instructions and guidelines about your vacation rental accommodation. For example, check-in and check-out times, the Wi-Fi password, the house rules and much more content. This way, all questions that guests might have are answered immediately and in one single place. After all, the goal is to make guests happy with their stay and enhance the odds of good ratings and reviews.

With a digital guest guide, you can even go one step further and customize content based on the profile of your guests and audience. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend more time. You can easily create templates for families, solo travelers, digital nomads, younger guests, etc. and customize each how to instructions with just a few clicks.

Origin: The hotel room guide

The guest guide originally comes from the hotel industry. There, the analog paper bedroom guide has a long tradition. It contains important instructions such as breakfast timelines, late check-out times, minibar price list, laundry services etc. This means guests receive a lot of information during check-in and at the reception desk. Now, since guests often are still stressed and tired from their travel journey, by the time they arrive in their bedroom, they most certainly already forgotten all orientations.

A digital guest guide is therefore the ideal addition, because guests can scroll through it anytime at their convenience. If necessary, they can also check how the TV, Netflix or the air conditioning works. By these reasons, a guest welcome guide can also be very helpful for vacation rentals. It also saves vacation rental owners and short-term rental hosts dozens of hours of customer service, repetitive questions and guidelines.

Guest guide: paper or online?

How To Create a Digital Guest Guide for Vacation Rentals? ᐅ Guide

Paper guest guide

The guest welcome guide represents your accommodation, so you must always make sure guidelines are in great condition. The classic guest guides in hotels are often still paper printed – some with leather folders, some with plastic sleeves. With these analog guest guides, it’s important to regularly check that all the information is updated. Crumpled pages or stains are also not acceptable.

Digital guest guide

With a digital guest guide you save time and money and can also showcase your innovative spirit. In addition, you can communicate with your guests online and cross-sell your extra services.

Benefits of a digital guest guide

  1. Offer additional services and increase revenues (tours, full fridge, bike rental)
  2. Guest communication (direct messages between guest and host)
  3. Personal guest experience (custom content and templates)
  4. Accessible from anywhere via internet (even before arrival)
  5. Contactless & hygienic
  6. Language can be changed easily
  7. Guidelines are always up-to-date

Mobile app vs. web browser URL

There are different platforms to create digital guest guides. Some hotels provide the guest guide as a smartphone application, however this requires a download from the app stores, which is too complicated for some guests. Another option is to integrate the digital guest guide in the TV available in all the different rooms. All these solutions are practical, hygienic, contactless and offer the possibility of personalization.

At Smoobu, we have chosen another option: tolprovide the digital guest guide as a web browser link. This way, hosts only need to create the content of the guest guide for each accommodation once and each time a reservation is added or synced into the database, the guest guide is dynamically generated for each new event – booking.

Smoobu gathers all the information about the accommodation (location, weather etc), from the guest (name, language etc) and the booking (start date, end date etc) and a link is automatically generated. You can later integrate the link of the guide and send it manually via email before arrival or use it in the messaging automation templates. This way, guests have all the information they need before they arrive. Guests can also access the webpage during their stay anywhere and anytime on their mobile phone, tablet and laptop. This way, no questions remain unanswered. You can also define specifically which content is visible before arrival, during the stay and after departure. The guest guide is a kind of digital concierge.

The ideal guest guide for vacation rentals

Design & Structure

The guest guide needs a logical and clear structure so that your guests can quickly find what they are looking for. This also means that you should remove superfluous information. Keep your descriptions short and to the point and avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. For complicated descriptions, you can include pictures and sketches to make it easier to understand.


Design the guest guide according to your brand identity. The user interface should also be consistent with your direct bookings website, business cards, social media, etc. Use your logo, the same colors and fonts. This way you have a higher brand awareness value and appear even more professional as a host.

These contents belong in the guest guide

  • What makes your accommodation special? Here you can explain what is special about your vacation rental: the location, the architecture, the history, family-run, etc.
  • Food: Breakfast, restaurant recommendations, supermarkets, minibar.
  • House rules: smoking policy, pets, emergency exit.
  • National emergency contacts, local pharmacies and hospitals.
  • Owner contact for emergencies and feedback.
  • Extra bookable services: tours, picnic basket, bike rental, baby crib, etc.
  • Digital travel guide: sightseeings and leisure activities in the area.
  • Other ideas (depending on location and target group): public transport timetable, hiking or biking route, cultural program.

Cross-sell extra services

The electronic guest guide is integral part for your guests from the moment of booking. There, they will find information on how to get there, WLAN and air conditioning or heating. In addition, you can also use the guest folder to offer extra services such as airport transfers, early check-in or late check-out, a crib, a babysitter, mid-stay cleaning, etc. This is known as “cross-selling“.

Not sure what extra services you could offer? Put yourself in your guests’ shoes. What could make them satisfied? They are on vacation and want to treat themselves to something. Maybe they would be interested in a bottle of sparkling wine from a local winery? Other ideas could be a city tour guided by you, a filled picnic basket, fresh rolls every morning – there are no limits to your creativity.

Smoobu Digital Guest Guide

The Smoobu guest guide (formerly: guest app) is not an app to download, but a URL that is created individually for each guest and can be send via email, SMS or automated templates. Tests have shown that many customers do not want to download an extra app for every vacation. Therefore, Smoobu has deliberately chosen the web link variant. This online guest guide also has many advantages for you as a host. You create the guide for each accommodation individually, but that is less effort than you think.

Once set up, you can easily and conveniently select different templates and customize them individually. For example, you can set a template for families with children, a template for single travelers, younger guests, older guests – depending on what makes sense for your target group. Of course, you can distinguish between the individual apartments, if you have more than one. Via the Smoobu guest guide you can also offer and charge for other services such as tours, rental bikes, etc.

Discover an example of a Digital Guest Guide made with Smoobu.

And you can do this at exactly the right time: during the stay. Many guests don’t want to bother with price comparisons while on vacation or want to treat themselves to a bit of luxury and convenience. Learn more about Smoobu’s digital guest guide here.

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