As a vacation rental owner, you want guests to feel at home the moment they enter your property. An easy check-in, inviting entryway, cozy furnishings, and well-prepared spaces are great places to start — but have you considered going above and beyond with some welcome gifts?
Owners who provide a thoughtfully-curated welcome package set the stage for truly special guest experiences — and it can be the bonus perk that knocks a satisfied four-star rating straight into glowing, five-star review territory.
The difference there is more notable than it might appear. Our data shows impressive jumps in annual booking value when owners increase their ratings by that single star. And investing in welcome gifts for guests doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, it may not cost much money at all.
Below are some of the most popular vacation rental welcome gift ideas Evolve owners have used to greet their guests — and the real reviews they gained from going the extra mile. Pick and choose your favorites to create your perfect vacation rental welcome package, and help take what could be an already-successful vacation rental to best-in-class for hospitality.
No matter how many guests come through your home, it’s always nice to feel personally greeted. Leave a handwritten note to express your excitement that they’re there, and provide any details about the home or area you think are worth calling out. (If you don’t live close enough to the property to make welcome notes plausible, you can task your guest contact with the writing.)
You can also organize pamphlets with coupons to local hotspots as part of your vacation rental welcome package, or include a helpful welcome book with suggestions on how to take advantage of all that your area has to offer.
These little notes can help your guests explore with confidence, and make their time at your home a memorable experience worth writing about:
This home was very inviting and absolutely perfect for us. When we came into the home, there was a scrabble board set up with an adorable welcome.”
— Anonymous Guest
A welcome packet had all the house instructions and local recommendations. The house was great. Everything was well organized and the owners were very accommodating.”
— Jared G.
Thanks for the personal phone call to welcome us.”
— Mary B.
Another welcome gift idea that’ll make guests feel personally connected to the area: include a platter of fresh, local foods.
You could bake pastries to indulge a guest’s sweet tooth, assemble an assortment of farmers market finds, or provide a bag of great coffee from a nearby beanery. These special treats showcase your attention to detail while giving them an array of supplies to enjoy throughout their stay. It also encourages them to check out local businesses during their trip, fostering goodwill within your vacation rental community.
Here’s what guests say when their hosts have local treats upon arrival:
The hosts were incredibly accommodating. With the surprise of farm fresh eggs, a nice breakfast was easy to put together every day. We would definitely recommend and plan to stay again!”
– Beth E.
Amy was so kind to us and made our stay very comfortable. Along with her lovely personal approach, [there was a] welcome tray of fresh papaya and eggs. It was so comforting to arrive and find that, not to mention delicious and refreshing after a long travel day-trip.”
– Mona F.
The owners did a tremendous job making us feel welcome. There were complimentary snacks and beverages for us to enjoy… and each morning a homemade pastry was left inside the door. Our family lives in the area and we will be back!”
– Kristina M.
When guests walk into your vacation rental and see a vase of fresh-cut blooms on the kitchen counter, science shows it’s an instant mood booster. It also proves you care about the more minute details of your home’s decor, emphasizing how engaged you are with maintaining your property for every stay.
Flowers leave a lasting impression that carries through in guest feedback:
This condo was a delight. It was beautifully decorated, all the way down to the fresh flowers on the dining room table. I would definitely recommend this rental.”
– Shane B.
The home was immaculate with one of the best stocked kitchens I’ve ever seen and fresh flowers on the table. I highly recommend this home.”
– Barbara S.
After a long day of travel, sometimes guests want to celebrate the start of vacation with a little libation. By supplying sparkling water or fresh lemonade in your vacation rental welcome package (or even hot cocoa for cold-weather trips to ski houses and cabins), you’ll show your guests that you’ve spent time thinking about their experience and care about creating a relaxing and fun atmosphere.
If your guests note they’re toasting a special occasion while at your property, you could also consider welcoming them with a bottle of wine or champagne. (Include a congratulatory message in that personalized welcome note you write, too!)
Just be sure to limit the amount of alcohol included in your welcome gift: our Claims & Disputes experts note that if a guest gets injured as a result of intoxication or damages a neighboring property after consuming alcohol that you, the owner, provided, you may not be protected from resulting liability claims.
That said, refreshments of any kind can help capture the celebratory feel of getting away:
The owners made it extra special by leaving two bottles of wine, a selection of craft and domestic beer, and essential cooking ingredients. If we come to Gilbert again, this will be our first choice.”
– Chris B.
Theresa was so nice! There was champagne and two yummy cupcakes waiting for us upon arrival. Will definitely be back over staying at a hotel!”
– Kelly Christine H.
All of the details were just right; the welcome bottle of wine and french press with locally roasted coffee were also a nice touch of hospitality. We would definitely stay here again!”
– Alex M.
For guests who book during a holiday season, it’s nice to add some festive flair to your vacation rental welcome gift ideas. You could bake a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving travelers, and provide recommendations for where to get the best turkey in town. A bowl of candy and spooky treats can delight Halloween guests. And countdown-worthy accessories infuse extra sparkle into New Year’s Eve festivities.
Remember to keep differing religious beliefs in mind when dressing up your home for the holidays. Opt for white lights and winter-themed extras in December, for instance, and refrain from baking Christmas-themed cookies to keep things non-denominational. You want every guest to feel the spirit of the season, without narrowing the view of what that might look like.
When season’s greetings are done with finesse, the results are quite cheerful:
Everything is great. We even received a pumpkin pie and a welcome card from the owner, perfect for a relaxed and happy Thanksgiving.”
– Susan C.
When we arrived, we found the place decorated for the holidays and [it was] very inviting. The owners even left a gift basket of treats for us! We all want to come back with our families!”
– Leslie M.
* Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Going above and beyond with custom vacation rental welcome gift ideas is a special touch that can really wow you into five-star review territory.
But there’s a whole lot more guests expect from their stay to make it worthy of a top-notch rating. That’s why we created a free downloadable guide that’s full of the biggest money-making tips you need to truly shine.
Inside you’ll find:
Grab your copy today and start learning all the secrets that’ll help your home outshine the competition.