House manual for vacation rentals: your ultimate guide to seamless stays. Unlock insider tips and hacks to save time from repeated guest inquiries.

A house manual for vacation rentals is a set of instructions that includes all the information guests may need during their stay. As a property owner, your hands are already full. Reiterating the same things and answering questions repeatedly will only steal more precious time from your already heavy schedule.

If you do it well, a house manual will not only solve visitors' inquiries but also address concerns they didn't even know they had—and all without a single phone call or direct message. Of course, you want your guests informed, comfortable, and happy during their stay. A house manual is the fastest way to achieve that without the nitty-gritty.

Sometimes, guests can't wrap their heads around how to work a toaster (you need to plug it in...) or where to leave the keys during checkout. From major to minor issues, there's nothing a house manual won't solve. That's why, in this guide, we've rounded up a comparison between printed and digital manuals as well as what to include to leave no questions unanswered. Let's dive in!

Printed Vs. Digital House Manual for Vacation Rentals

Should I print my house manual? That's one of the hosts' most common concerns, and the answer depends. I'm sure both print and digital versions have their perks—it's definitely charming guests walking in the front door only to find a cute little book on the hall table. But if we had to choose, we'd go digital all the way. Here's why:

Cons of Printed House Manual

  • It gets easily stained, weary, and sticky
  • Guests might lose it, take it with them, or never return it
  • It's tricky to update with the latest information
  • Visitors can't access it before their arrival
  • It's a burden to carry around
  • Guests need to browse through pages to find what they need

Pros of Digital House Manual

  • Guests can access it long before their arrival
  • Visitors can keep it on their phones and refer to it on the go
  • You can add links to driving directions, maps, restaurants, playlists, or your social media
  • Easily update it without the fuss of reprinting
  • Only create a vacation rental house manual template once and never have to deal with it again
  • Add explainer videos to make it interactive (e.g., how the hot tub works)
The Ultimate House Manual for Vacation Rentals
Airbnb house manual for vacation rentals

What to Include in Your House Manual Templates

1. Welcome Message

A personalized welcome note at the beginning of your house manual will show guests there's a caring host behind the scenes, tending to their needs. Especially if you offer self-check-in without physical presence, letting your personality shine through the welcome message will establish great rapport and authentic human connection.

2. About the House or the Owner

Share a few words on your property's story or background—anything that adds a personal touch. You could even add some anecdotes or exciting stories your guests would find enjoyable. However, remember to keep things to the point without too much fluff; this is, after all, the beginning of your house manual.

3. Check-in and Checkout Instructions

Share detailed instructions for check-in and checkout to help guests feel welcomed right from the start. Where will they find the keys? How can they enter your property? Are there any special requests before they depart? This sets the tone for a seamless stay.

4. Wi-Fi Details

One of the first questions guests ask when they enter your property is, "What's the Wi-Fi password?". Ensure all Wi-Fi details, such as name, password, or any limitations and usage guidelines, are included in the manual.

The Ultimate House Manual for Vacation Rentals
Airbnb house manual for vacation rentals

5. Parking Instructions

Unless your vacation rental is on a deserted island, most guests will probably have a car to move around. If your property offers parking arrangements, be sure to include them. Also, highlight specific instructions, such as parking codes and remote controls.

6. How to Use Appliances

Washer, dishwasher, coffee machine, microwave; a fully-equipped rental comes with multiple appliances. Include operational instructions for each of them in your house manual template to avoid guests being confused or breaking things. Explain the available utensils or kitchenware and show them how to care for them properly after each use.

7. House Rules

Set clear expectations of what will and will not be tolerated in your house. This can save you from a lot of trouble, disorderly guests, and angry neighbors. Plus, if guests break your rules, you can hold them accountable. Touch topics such as:

  • Parties
  • Pets
  • Smoking/Illegal substances
  • Noise
  • Unregistered guests
  • Furniture rearrangements
The Ultimate House Manual for Vacation Rentals
Airbnb house rules for short-term rental host

8. Housekeeping

How often will your housekeepers clean your vacation rental? Share your cleaning schedules with guests so they won't have unexpected visits from your cleaning providers at 8 am. Additionally, specify any cleaning supplies available at your rental and provide basic instructions on how to use them.

9. Temperature Control

Educate guests on controlling the house temperature, including air conditioning and heating systems. If there's a water valve, let them know where they can find it, how to function it, and what to do in an emergency. Got a complimentary fireplace or ceiling fan? Share instructions on how to operate them.

10. Kitchen and Pantry List

If your vacation rental offers a fully-equipped kitchen along with kitchenware and utensils, offer a detailed guide on how to use them and adequately take care of them. Also, share how guests can operate appliances such as the stove, the oven, and the microwave.

The Ultimate House Manual for Vacation Rentals
Airbnb welcome book template for guest communications

11. Indoor Amenities

Does your rental offer a home theatre, fitness facilities, or a playroom? If so, provide guests with instructions on using equipment and devices, ensuring they can truly immerse themselves in the experience.

12. Outdoor Amenities

If your property offers a pool, an outdoor patio, or a barbeque area, inform guests how they can use it and outline any safety precautions. Clarify if these amenities are exclusive to your guests or a shared space with other tenants. Highlight any relevant maintenance or safety instructions.

13. Local Recommendations

Guests look for insider tips when exploring a new destination and count on their host to provide them. This is your chance to build local authority by offering recommendations and off-the-beaten-path hints. For example, you can suggest:

  • Nearby restaurants and breakfast spots only locals know
  • Must-visit sights and attractions
  • Hidden rooftops or speakeasies
  • Nearby grocery stores

You can take it a step further and add a short intro for the destination. Your guests will appreciate the suggestions and reflect them in positive reviews.

The Ultimate House Manual for Vacation Rentals
Free house manual template

14. Transportation

Transportation will be a top priority for guests, so make it easier for them by offering local guidance. You don't have to cover the whole city, but at least mention nearby bus stops, subway stations, and trains. Go as far as sharing trusted taxi companies, transportation apps, or car rental agencies.

15. Affiliates

If you partner with local businesses like restaurants to promote each other's services, add their details or QR codes on your house manual so that it's easier for guests to find them. Additionally, if you work with online affiliate programs, highlighting them in your house manual will increase chances for bookings and commissions.

16. Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Does your property use solar energy, reduce water waste, and promote recycling? Make sure to highlight it in your house manual template. Guests today are more environmentally conscious than ever. Sharing how your business reduces its impact and takes action toward a sustainable future will be highly appreciated. Also, if you take any action to support the local community, per se, plant one tree for every booking, let your guests know.

The Ultimate House Manual for Vacation Rentals
Airbnb house manual for Airbnb guests

17. Emergency Contact Details

To be prepared for a rainy day, include emergency details for local authorities, such as ambulance, police, embassy, hospitals, and fire department. Moreover, explain procedures regarding emergencies in your rental, such as fire, flood, or earthquake. For instance, if you have a fire extinguisher or escape exits, let guests know how to use them.

18. Personal Contact

It goes without saying, but a house manual is incomplete without your contact details. Share your phone number, email, or direct message platform so guests can reach you if they can't find answers to their questions in your manual.

19. Thank You Note

Lastly, close your house manual with a thank you note, kindly appreciating your guests' trust and business. Encourage them to leave a review after their stay and explain the process. You can also offer incentives for their next stay or give them a discount if they refer you to more people.

The Ultimate House Manual for Vacation Rentals
Airbnb house manual template with Airbnb welcome letter

Create Your Own Rental House Manual Template

A house manual can differentiate a professional hosting service from an amateur one. By including all the above elements, you can provide guests with the information, guidelines, and recommendations to enjoy a memorable stay. So, although it might take some initial care, the benefits it'll provide for your business will be invaluable.

It is also important to build your own book-direct website—your online space dedicated to promoting your rental brand. At Houfy, we give you the tools to succeed in the hospitality industry without profit cuts and hidden fees. Join a worldwide community of 80,000 hosts and guests who benefit from direct bookings without middlemen and take back complete control of your business. Join us today!

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