Home » Holiday rental business » Top 10 Ways to Create a Stunning First Impression

Marketing doesn’t stop at having a great website, posting amazing photos on a listing, and using hypnotic text to draw guests in – it continues to your guests arrival and beyond.

How cool would it be for your guests to be posting to Instagram from the moment they open the door, telling all their friends where they are and what a great time they are going to have.  And if all the text they use on the upload is …..

“Just WOW”

…you’ve hit your marketing sweet spot.

To get a “WOW” reaction you will need to appeal to your guests’ senses – all of them, so here are 10 ways to capture their attention.


1 Visual: House sign

kawartha-cottage-rental-signIf your property has a name, get a sign made for the end of the driveway – It’s amazing the impact this can have after a family have had a long journey.  The sign is a signal to relax and unwind….”we have arrived!”

2 Visual:  A clean, bright and welcoming front door

This is important.  You can create a great first impression just by having a bright and clean door with a shiny handle and a neat welcome mat.  Take a good look at your front door next time you are at your place.  What does it say about the rest of the place?

3 Visual: Polished surfaces show so well. 

From kitchen countertops to sparkly clean appliances to the bathroom tiles.  Don’t forget the first room your guests will aim for after a long journey will likely be the bathroom 

4 Visual: Flowers

A vase of fresh garden flowers is a wonderful welcome – they show to guests someone has taken the time to prepare the place for them.

5 Olfactory: A fresh smell

Three of the biggest off-putting odors in a vacation rental are mustiness, strong disinfectant and chemical air fresheners.  Your best solution is to use a natural freshener such as lemon oil or any essential oil in some bicarbonate of soda.  Put it in a small dish on a high shelf out of sight. 

6 Auditory: Music playing

This is a great touch and it’s one that guests love.  Set a music player to a soft classical station, so when they walk in the door it is to a beautiful sound.  This one works perfectly to calm travelling stresses.

7 Touch: Beautifully bound Welcome Book

Pay attention to the Welcome Book, and make it a pleasure to pick up and read.  Rather than a cheap file folder from an office supplies store – buy a leather bound presentation folder and have it embossed with your property name.  Then create attractive pages with all your property details and information.

8 Touch:  Luxurious linens

Weary guests will be looking forward to their first night of vacation sleep so they’ll be checking out the beds.  If the linens are crisp and fresh and look inviting, it adds to the overall first impression.

9 Auditory: Ipad with video welcome message

Think about supplying  an iPad preloaded with all your property information as well as an audio or video welcome message.  If you can’t personally welcome your guests this is the next best thing.

10 Taste:  A little something on a plate

Whether you leave a selection of chocolates from your local chocolatier, a home-made cake or cookies, or a basket of freshly picked fruit, your guests will love a tasty treat.  And don’t forget a little something for the four-legged friend if your place is pet friendly.

Attention to these details will pay dividends in terms of social sharing and positive reviews, so think about your guests’ first impression the next time you walk into your property.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Ways to Create a Stunning First Impression

  1. Donna says:

    Heather great suggestions. I most especially love the iPad concept. Would be a nice computer substitute for those homes with WiFi such as our Sea Ranch Vacation Rental, Abalone Bay. The trick though would be to figure out how to make sure the guest leaves it behind and doesn’t download added surprises for the next guest.

    1. Alan Egan says:

      Hi Donna,

      Thanks for stopping by.
      I like to think that if you trust you guests that they then behave in a trustworthy fashion.
      But,
      As a precaution you can install and activate Apple’s ‘find my ipad’ app (https://www.apple.com/icloud/find-my-iphone.html) so that you can track it if it goes missing.
      You could also install K9 web protection (http://www1.k9webprotection.com/). This is free and offers the following protection,
      Block web sites in more than 70 categories, including pornography, gambling, drugs, violence/hate/racism, malware/spyware, phishing
      Force SafeSearch on all major search engines
      Set time restrictions to block web access during designated times
      Configure custom lists for “always allow” and “always block”
      Override a web page block with password
      Trust the enhanced anti-tampering, even children can’t break
      View easy reports to monitor and control web activity
      Real-time categorization of new adult and malicious sites
      Best free parental controls software/internet filter available
      Compatible with Windows or Mac machines

      I think these two solutions could help. Now we just need some ideas as to what apps we should install for our guests to use.

      I’ll start the ball rolling with an alarm clock app

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