A pre-arrival information pack should contain:
- A map of the local area and instructions for finding the property;
- Information about local attractions and the local area (available free from tourist offices);
- Emergency contact numbers in your home country and South Africa if guests have any problems or plan to arrive late;
- The keys or instructions on where to collect them on arrival.
It’s ideal if someone can welcome your guests when they arrive, explain how things work, and deal with any special requests or problems.
You should also provide an information pack in your home for guests explaining:
- How things work. e.g. kitchen appliances, TV/video player, heating and air-conditioning;
- Security measures;
- What not to do (for example, if you allow young children and pets, you should make a point of emphasising dangers such as falling into the pool);
- Local emergency numbers and health services such as a doctor, dentist and hospital/clinic;
- Numbers of useful services such as a general repairman, plumber, electrician and pool maintenance company (you may prefer to leave the telephone number of a local caretaker, who can handle any problems);
- Recommended shops, restaurants and attractions.
Many people provide a visitors’ book for guests to write their comments and suggestions, and some send out questionnaires. If you want to impress your guests, you can arrange for fresh flowers, fruit, a bottle of wine and a grocery pack to greet them on their arrival. It’s personal touches that ensure repeat business and recommendations; you may even find after the first year or two that you rarely need to advertise. Many people return to the same property year after year. Simply do an annual mail-shot to previous clients. Word-of-mouth advertising is the cheapest and always the best.